The 17th bloody adventure in the series started by the late Vince Flynn and continued by Mills (Enemy of the State, 2017, etc.) features Mitch Rapp hell-bent on preventing a war.
Russian president and “destructive sociopath” Maxim Krupin is dying from brain cancer, and he desperately wants to keep it a secret and hold onto power for every last possible day. Head of Russia’s armed forces and “brilliant psycho” Gen. Sokolov advises Krupin, “Your violent reaction to the chemotherapy and the potential for surgery…is going to degrade your ability to personally interact” with people, and so “we need a distraction.” Sokolov suggests they “annihilate NATO” to make Krupin look strong. Seeking hope for himself, Krupin has doctors perform experimental and dangerous treatments on other Russians who have illnesses like his. The CIA figures out that something has made Krupin unstable. So Mitch Rapp and his one-time foe, Grisha Azarov, go to Russia hoping to find Krupin, who might nuke Europe and the U.S. if it would buy him one more day leading Mother Russia. Fans will remember that Rapp and Azarov became allies in the last installment. Azarov had once been in the Kremlin’s employ as a heartless killer with no more personality than cardboard. Now he has a girlfriend, Cara, whom he deeply cares about (Oh no! Not character development!). But thriller fans need not fret that he’ll be changing diapers anytime soon. The dude is still second only to Rapp in the coldblooded assassination biz. Azarov wonders if Rapp has the same “longing for the simplicity of killing” that he does (not exactly a Norman Rockwell image). That doesn’t matter, because Krupin wants Azarov dead, and the feeling is mutual. More importantly, Krupin is “a wounded animal with a nuclear arsenal,” and Rapp and Azarov must stop him. Notwithstanding the obvious formula, events lead to a dramatic, you-got-your-money’s-worth conclusion.
Good, escapist fun as Mitch Rapp saves the Western world once again.