Top-gun Mitch Rapp (The Third Option, 2000, etc.), “America’s Assassin,” rides again—roughshod over Saddam Hussein—and earns anew the thanks of a grateful nation.
Murdering Mitch, having single-handedly killed 50-plus of his country's peskiest enemies, is now, at age 32, the CIA's reigning poster boy. To Saddam, he continues to be a monumental pain, on the brink of becoming more so. This time out, the Iraqi leader has latched on to three gorgeous, fully operational nuclear weapons and cached them—where else?—in the Al Hussein Hospital, downtown Baghdad. Naturally, President Hayes, tipped off by the Israelis, is reluctant to order the direct approach. Bomb a hospital? Uh-uh. Never mind all those innocent bed-ridden bystanders, think of the hit his approval ratings would take. But Irene Kennedy, the spy agency's acting head, recognizes a Mitch Rapp scenario when she sees one. As a result, Mitch is dispatched to Baghdad, charged with relieving Saddam of his cherished weapons of mass destruction. To do this, Mitch has to somehow slither past the airtight security imposed by Saddam's elite Special Republican Guard. No easy task—unless, that is, one can bemuse those savvy veterans into believing that one is indeed Uday Saddam Hussein, the archvillain's son. Which, of course, masquerading Mitch does handily. But that's Mitch for you, endlessly cool. Except when it comes to what he winsomely refers to as “affairs of the heart.” Fortunately for the course of true love, however, newspaperwoman Anna Rielly—she of the “sparkling green eyes”—is not about to let the sexy slaughterer—he of the “broad shoulders” and “sleek calves”—escape what's good for him. The bad guys, both foreign and domestic, now duly rendered unto Caesar, the marriageable Mitch gets broken to harness.
Stick figures, lumbering pace, wooden dialogue: Flynn remains a source of pulp fiction at its dreariest.