Second-novelist Flynn (Term Limits, 1998) returns, this time with an overstuffed political thriller about bad guys kidnapping the White House.
With the President in it – though at first he’s presumed safe, hunkered down in his custom-built bunker, having been spirited there just in time by the Secret Service. The main meanie is one Rafique Aziz, zealot, all-around nutcase, and valued henchman of Saddam Hussein. Rotten to the core understates it for Aziz. He won’t even let his hostages go to the bathroom. He has over a hundred of them, and the deal is the US either complies with his demands – (1) release Iraq’s frozen assets, (2) end the onerous Iraqi blockade, and (3) support a free and autonomous Palestinian state now! – or he shoots a hostage an hour. To demonstrate his bona fides, he dispatches a couple on national TV. It’s a crisis that cries out for Mitch Rapp, the CIA’s top counterintelligence operative, “the most efficient and lethal killer in the modern era of the Agency.” Mitch, code name Iron Man, who lost his high-school sweetheart in Pan Am flight 103 and has been relentlessly vengeful ever since, gains access to the White House. Bloody-minded Aziz booby-traps everything in sight. Meanwhile, power has now been transferred to the Vice President, who proves himself a double-dealing sneak and errant coward. Mitch rescues a female hostage and falls in love. A lot of people get their heads blown off by MP-5 submachine guns. When at last the President is saved, he tells Mitch and his mates how much the country owes them. The reply: “I was just doing my duty.” But where is the dastardly Aziz? Unfortunately, it takes an epilogue to do him in.
The prose is pedestrian, the plotting predictable, the characters comic strip, and the end long in coming. (Author Tour)