Mitch Rapp, the CIA’s top counter-terrorism agent, is sent on his final mission – to eliminate a European industrialist who has been supplying highly sensitive equipment to one of the world’s most notorious sponsors of terrorism. He doesn’t know that the ultimate target of this mission is himself.
Thriller books are generally good for fast paced, action fun, with plenty of quick reads. Lee Child, David Baldacci, Elmore Leonard (having recently read Pronto and am looking for more) and James Patterson are my go to authors in the genre and Vince Flynn has been on my to read list for a while, so it even though The Third Option may be the fourth novel in the series focused on the character Mitch Rapp, I was kind of interested to check it out as I figured they’d be relatively standalone, and hey, it was on sale on the Kindle Fire (I don’t know if it still is), so why not? What could possibly go wrong?
I ended up getting a pretty positive reaction out of the book, and although it’s nothing too memorable and will probably be quickly forgotten, it was a nice quick read and a perfect way to keep me distracted, as the fast pace kept me turning the pages as the tension was always high and remained that way throughout the novel (even if, as mentioned later, the main character’s safety was never in doubt). Chances are if you’re reading this review you’ll already be familiar with Mitch Rapp, but if you’re not, he’s the CIA’s top counter terrorism agent, a Jack Reacher esque figure only working for the CIA rather than as a lone wolf. He’s sent on his final mission to eliminate a European industrialist, who has been supplying equipment to one of the world’s most notorious sponsors of terrorism, but what he doesn’t know is that it’s actually a trap, and the real target is of course himself.
I was going in expecting something similar to the Jason Bourne movies (which are incidentally, my favourite series of thriller films), and Flynn did not disappoint with Bourne fans being right at home, with the European stuff being some of my favourite parts about the book – too often they’re largely US centric so this was a nice breath of fresh air, even if there’s a lot of US content happening here. I didn’t have any problems understanding what was happening even though this was the fourth entry in the series, and also (I didn’t know this until after I finished reading) apparently the first part in an interlinked duology, going into A Separation of Power, so that explains partly why I wasn’t quite as pleased with the ending as I would have perhaps have liked. It’s certainly something that’s been added to my to read list as I plan on returning to the world of Vince Flynn’s series in the future for sure.
As you can expect from your standard thriller novel the characters aren’t the most developed and the plot isn’t particularly complicated either, with few apart from Rapp really making an impression on the reader. However, that said, like most good thrillers, The Third Option has a way of keeping you hooked from the word go, plunging into a story that you won’t be able to put down until you finish its pages, and even though the standard Good vs. Evil stuff is there with little moral ambiguity, the tension is engaging enough to keep you reading.
However, that said, there’s a distinct lack of tension concerning Rapp’s character. There’s currently fourteen books in the series, with The Survivor coming in October 6th from author Kyle Mills, who replaces Vince Flynn on the series, so it’ll be interesting to see how Mills handles the books differently. What sucks coming onto a series this late is that you know what’s going to happen next and Rapp is obviously going to defeat the bad guys on his mission of revenge, but even so, Flynn manages to keep it entertaining, which is probably the book’s strongest aspect.
If you want a good, fast paced read and haven’t already read Mitch Rapp novels and are a fan of the Alex Cross or Jack Reacher series by James Patterson and Lee Child respectively, then you can’t go far wrong with The Third Option – either starting here or going back to the beginning of Mitch Rapp’s novels would work.