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American Assassin: A Thriller (A Mitch Rapp Novel) Hardcover – October 12, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 1,657 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Mitch Rapp Prequel Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With this 11th Mitch Rapp adventure, Flynn does something a little different. Taking a step back in time, he tells the story of how Rapp initially came to work for the CIA. As a young man, Rapp lost his fiancée in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am flight 103. Grief-stricken, he swears revenge on the terrorists. He's quickly recruited by the CIA and soon makes his first kill and is on his way to his first clandestine mission. George Guidall has a keen ear for dialogue, and his relaxed reading keeps Flynn's sometimes overheated prose and over-the-top plot grounded in a realm of believability. Still, he is more than capable of pulling out the stops when the action kicks in, keeping listeners on the edge of their seats once the bullets begin to fly. Flynn delivers his usual high-octane international thriller, but, in giving Rapp's backstory, he's infused it with more depth and heart than usual, and Guidall matches him beat for beat, proving himself a fine choice of storyteller. An Atria hardcover. (Oct.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


“Mitch Rapp is still the best CIA-trained human weapon this side of Jason Bourne.” —Contra Costa Times (California)

“Captivating.” —Glenn Beck

Product Details

  • Series: A Mitch Rapp Novel (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (October 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141659518X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416595182
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,657 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

The fifth of seven children, Vince Flynn was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1966. He graduated from the St. Thomas Academy in 1984, and the University of St. Thomas with a degree in economics in 1988.

After college he went to work for Kraft General Foods where he was an account and sales marketing specialist.

In 1990 he left Kraft to accept an aviation candidate slot with the United States Marine Corps. One week before leaving for Officers Candidate School, he was medically disqualified from the Marine Aviation Program, due to several concussions and convulsive seizures he suffered growing up. While trying to obtain a medical waiver for his condition, he started thinking about writing a book. This was a very unusual choice for Flynn since he had been diagnosed with dyslexia in grade school and had struggled with reading and writing all his life.

Having been stymied by the Marine Corps, Flynn returned to the nine-to-five grind and took a job with United Properties, a commercial real estate company in the Twin Cities. During his spare time he worked on an idea he had for a book. After two years with United Properties he decided to take a big gamble. He quit his job, moved to Colorado, and began working full time on what would eventually become Term Limits.

Like many struggling artists before him, he bartended at night and wrote during the day. Five years and more than sixty rejection letters later he took the unusual step of self-publishing his first novel. The book went to number one in the Twin Cities, and within a week had a new agent and two-book deal with Pocket Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint.

Term Limits hit the New York Times bestseller list in paperback and started a trend for all of Flynn's novels. Since then, his books have become perennial bestsellers in both paperback and hardcover, and he has become known for his research and prescient warnings about the rise of Islamic Radical Fundamentalism and terrorism. Read by current and former presidents, foreign heads of state, and intelligence professionals around the world, Flynn's novels are taken so seriously one high-ranking CIA official told his people, "I want you to read Flynn's books and start thinking about how we can more effectively wage this war on terror."

October 2007 marked another milestone in Flynn's career when his ninth political thriller, Protect and Defend, became a #1 New York Times bestseller. A few months later, CBS Films optioned the rights for Flynn's Mitch Rapp character with the intention of creating a character-based, action-thriller movie franchise. Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who previously launched the Harry Potter and Matrix films as head of production at Warner Bros., and Nick Wechsler (We Own the Night, Reservation Road) will produce the films.

Flynn's 10th hardcover, Extreme Measures, was published in October 2008. It was also a #1 New York Times bestseller. His most recent novel, Kill Shot, was published in Fenbruary 2012.

The Mitch Rapp story begins with American Assassin, followed by Kill Shot Transfer of Power, The Third Option, Separation of Power, Executive Power, Memorial Day, Consent to Kill, Act of Treason, Protect and Defend, Extreme Measures and Pursuit of Honor.

Influences: Ernest Hemingway, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, J.R.R. Tolkien, Gore Vidal, and John Irving. Flynn lived in Minneapolis with his wife and three children until he died in June 2013.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read all of Vince Flynn's works about Mitch Rapp and found this one to be the link that I had been waiting for. We have learned how lethal Mitch can be, how different he is from all the rest because of raw talent in the world of espionage. But where did he come from? How did he get to be the best?

The story starts with Irene Kennedy recruiting Mitch from the real world instead of from one of the Military Services. She brings him into the program, behind the back of Stan Hurley their training expert. As Kennedy drops Mitch in Hurley's lap you catch from that moment on that there is not going to be a good friendly outcome. As a matter of fact Hurly is going to do everything he can to be sure that this college puke, as he calls him, washes out and washes out quickly.

Unfortunately Mitch is much better than any of them imagined. Hurley is embarrassed and angered as well as thrown into conflict with his superiors. But as the training goes on and on Mitch proves that he has a mind for this type of work. He has the talent to do the job, and he has the humility to admit what he needs to learn and then put himself into learning (that comes out at the firing range).

In this book we get a better handle on Thomas Stansfield, Irene Kennedy, Stan Hurley and Lewis the psychologist. We also learn much more about the mindset behind Mitch Rapp. He and the psychologist have several conversations. What's the difference between revenge and retribution? When is it just to kill someone? Are you just acting out of anger and personal revenge or are you acting out of patriotism?

As you proceed from training to spy craft you will be drawn in to every aspect of this book. I just got the book yesterday and couldn't put it down.
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Format: Audio CD
Excellent book so far, 3/4 done. But I am continually distracted by all of the typos; too many words, misspelled words, etc. If I had spent a year of my life putting this work together I would be LIVID with Atria Books and their inept proof-reading department!!!!! Inexcusable!!!! I read a lot of books and have never seen anything like this. A New York Times bestselling author and one of the largest book publishers in the country???? Hopefully, the second printing will improve.
4 Comments 142 of 154 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read a few reviews about this book and wholeheartedly agree. The content is so so for a Mitch Rapp book and the publisher should be ashamed for putting out basically a Kindle version that is basically a first draft. The constant mis spellings and malapropisms become overwhelming. Here's the deal. The publisher, Atria, is charging basically the same price for the Kindle and Hardcover versions and making an exorbitant profit on the Kindle version as there are no distribution, sales or return costs, yet they give us a crap version that is very irritating to read. And you wonder why the publishers cry and whine about the "new publishing model" that is killing their profits. They need to wake up and give us a better product to justify their outrageous profits. They should be ashamed of this shoddy version.
68 Comments 433 of 481 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I shall simply say that I read 'constantly' and although I enjoyed the book, the PUBLISHER should be so ashamed.
In all of my years and years and ...... years............. I have NEVER seen such a poorly proofed publication. Refund our money and feel the pain!!!
1 Comment 36 of 40 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
Vince Flynn normally writes a pretty good story. I've read every single one and I don't think he disappointed us with this one. The entertainment value is definitely there. American Assassin brings us a well thought out prequel to the Mitch Rapp beginnings. His editor and publisher, well they severely disappointed us this time.

While the story is there, the entertainment value that I paid for got really annoying with this book. By the end of the book I was pretty amazed that any publisher would release this story so badly edited. I almost want to go through it again just to count all the grammatical errors. At one point in Chapter 54, which covers a conversation between Ridley and Rapp, a paragraph contains "Hurley pointed up to the overhang". While I think the story is referencing Ridley pointing to the overhang, I DID have to reread the paragraph at least 3 times to figure out OH, IT'S JUST ANOTHER OF THE MANY EDITING MISTAKES IN THIS BOOK!!!

Why should I continue reading an author's stories that I'm paying money for when the publisher can't respect us as readers? I may seriously reconsider the purchase of the next Vince Flynn novel and that would be a shame because I really like Flynn's stories.
6 Comments 57 of 70 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I will never again make the mistake of not checking the Amazon reader comments before buying a hardback novel! My only excuse is that, being a great fan of Vince Flynn's work, I could not imagine him turning out a story that was hardly worth reading.

Mr. Flynn's success has been due to his skill in giving the public plot-driven novels featuring Mitch Rapp in nearly continuous "scenes's we'd like to see" action. In "American Assassin" he decided to add a huge dose of character development. He set out to do so by showing how Rapp became what he is. Unfortunately, character-driven novels are usually more boring than the plot-driven variety, as in John le Carré's recent books. They are certainly not what Mr. Flynn's readers want, even if well executed, which this effort was not. About half the book consisted of flashbacks that were juvenile, unbelievable, and filled with hokey dialogue. In the process almost every imaginable device was used to tug at the reader's heartstrings, most of them obvious. The only thing that might have been missed was to have provided Rapp with a twin sister who was tortured and killed by terrorists. It was only hope that the flashbacks would soon end that kept me reading. But no, I had to continue wading through things like: "Lewis looked down at his World War II Elgin A-11 U.S. military watch. His father had given it to him on his deathbed three years earlier." (Shades of Tom Clancy at his worst). At least Mr. Le Carré's clever prose can make even a boring read somewhat entertaining. On page 141 it looked like things might pick up, but then bogged down again. The situation was made even worse by poor decisions on when to switch from flashbacks to current action, and from one set of characters to another.
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