Title: Memorial Day
Author: Vince Flynn
Flynn, Vince (2004). Memorial Day. New York: Atria Books,
PS3556.L94 M46 2004
- Rapp, Mitch (Fictitious character)–Fiction.
- Intelligence officers–Fiction.
Date Posted: January 3, 2017
Review by Joe Hartlaub
[At the time of this review] Memorial Day, ironically enough, was the perfect book to read over the Fourth of July Weekend. It is [was at the time of the review] current as today’s headlines, and a welcome break from the fantasies of hygienically challenged movie directors and the political aspirations of perfumed princes.
Vince Flynn has made a career of writing espionage thrillers that read as if they could be subtitled “The Real World for Dummies.” His creation, CIA operative Mitch Rapp (great name), is the type of guy you hope and pray exists and is on our side. Rapp is a pragmatist who is in constant trouble with everyone, from the President on down, because he consistently refuses to color inside the lines. If you’ve lost a wink of sleep over the fraternity hazing, locker room towel-snap to which a few Iraqi prisoners of war were subjected, you’ll probably find Rapp’s methods a bit extreme. But Rapp is that rarity, a guy who does what needs to be done in the most effective way possible. The fact that this behavioral aberration on his part results in him saving the country’s bacon time after time never seems to enter into the equation, at least with those who tend to treat terrorist acts as grist for intellectual discussion and nothing more. The learning curve is temporary, and steep, for those folks; Rapp’s approach is that he will go over them or through them if they do not get out of the way.
Flynn and Rapp are at the top of their respective games in Memorial Day. Intelligence indicates that a major terrorist attack is in the offing. Rapp leads a daring—and secret—commando raid into Pakistan to take out an al-Qaeda vipers’ nest. That is just the beginning of the story, however. Rapp and the Special Forces unit he commands discover plans for a devastating nuclear attack on the United States. Rapp acts quickly and decisively, and the attack is thwarted. Or is it? Rapp feels that there are some loose ends to the whole matter and, despite the best efforts of the career second guessers and pencil pushers who have the ear of the President, soon discovers that the plot is far deadlier than they thought—and that it is still operative. Rapp leads a team in a race against time—and against liberals in the President’s cabinet—to thwart a plot aimed at the very highest levels of government.
Flynn demonstrates that he is an absolute master of his craft in every way that matters. His writing style creates a work that is built for speed; the pages fly by while the suspense quotient is ratcheted so high that it makes your hair hurt. The title of the book may be Memorial Day, but it’s a novel for all seasons.