In the last Rapp thriller, Red War, I wanted to plunge Mitch into a much larger scale threat than he’d faced before. Russia was perfect for that. He doesn’t speak the language, he’s never operated extensively there, and being a lone man with a Glock can be pretty uncomfortable when the ICBMs start flying.
After spending a year pushing Vince’s style about as far as it could go into geopolitics, I was in the mood to narrow my focus. With Lethal Agent, I wanted to create something that felt like old-school Flynn—a book about Mitch kicking terrorist ass while corrupt forces in Washington try to take him down.
Of course, I couldn’t make it too easy on everyone’s favorite CIA assassin. I set much of the book in Mexico and pitched him against a threat that a lot of fans have been asking for—bioweapons. Once again, he finds himself in an unfamiliar operating theater with a problem that can’t necessarily be solved with a few rounds from his infamous Glock.
And it wasn’t just Mitch who was facing new and difficult challenges. I was too.
While the sleazy politician is a recurring character in Vince’s books, the world of politics has changed significantly since his death. Partisanship has become so powerful that the definitions of good and evil have become increasingly malleable. Everything and everyone are seen through the thick lens of party affiliation.
This made creating a fictionalized, nonpartisan political villain much more challenging than I expected. My old mantra “how would Vince have done it?” doesn’t help much on this subject. He, like the rest of us, had no way of anticipating the toxic politics of 2019.
In the end, though, I love the way the book turned out. The politician character is an homage to great past characters like Hank Clark or Carl Ferris. And the ISIS leader is intended to take readers back to terrorist masterminds like Rafique Aziz. All while throwing in a few twists and putting things in the current context…
Want to know how I research my books? Here’s how I tackled Yemen, one of the locations featured in Lethal Agent.