109 of 122 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2008
Having read all of Flynn's other books, I was excited to receive his latest in the mail today. After reading it cover-to-cover in one sitting, I must admit that I'm a bit disappointed. This clearly wasn't Flynn's best work. Mitch Rapp had a greatly reduced role, and far too much time was spent on the rote family life details of Mike Nash. At times it felt like the equivalent to when television sitcoms advertise "a very special episode" involving an important message about drugs or whatever. The book's overall message -- that America has become overly complacent in the war on terror -- is one that I share, but it didn't need to be delivered in such a drawn out and almost 'preachy' manner. Too many pages were devoted to changing diapers, Nash's erectile disfunction, and the laborious preparations of a rather lackluster band of cardboard terrorists; with too few involving Rapp in action, or even dealing with Rapp at all. I'm not sure if Flynn is looking to transition his books away from the Rapp character, but it certainly seemed to be the case with this one. In the acknowledments, Flynn referenced that this has been "a very hectic year" for him. Perhaps this explains why he had trouble delivering on this one. Hopefully, things will settle down and his next book will be more in line with what his fans expect and deserve.
123 of 140 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2008
First off, I need to admit that short of a rabid stalker, there is probably no bigger fan of Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp series than I. That having been said... this one is, to me, a LOT different than what I had come to expect.
This time, we get to see some hardcore political wrangling that likely mirrors what is actually happening on the Hill as time passes and many lose their stomach for war. This time, the perspective is much less first-person Mitch, and much more modern-age fable. We get to see the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly lock horns over a problem that is very much real, but growing more unpopular by the day.
Don't get me wrong -- there is still plenty of action and you will still want to block out enough time to read in case, like me, you can't put the book down until you are finished. But I came away from this one feeling more that I had been reminded of a very important lesson than I had read about Mitch's latest exploits.
There is much less smart-alecking (some may be happy about that), and given the shift in perspective, much less from Irene and Scott. But there are other characters that Flynn does as good a job in developing. In all, there is a very important, and very timely message in this book. Though I wish I could have had more "classic" Mitch (and am disappointed that I have to wait another year for more), I think this was the right book at the right time.
If this would be your first VF book, I would strongly recommend you read earlier books first. If you are a rabid (or even a casual) fan, you should love this one. If you have been kind of turned off by some of the "over the top" antics in previous novels but like the overall character and concept, then give this on a try. It will be hard to be disappointed.
I give it five of five because it is timely, it is a page-turner, and it is freaking Mitch Rapp! It wasn't quite what I thought I wanted, but it ended up being what I might have needed.
46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
If you're looking for a "traditional" Rapp story, I'm afraid you're in for a disappointment. Rapp is a fairly peripheral character in this story that primarily focuses on his protégé Mike Nash.
Terrorist cells are planning strike missions against targets within the United States. Two of the three have been "neutralized", but the last is led by a megalomaniacal fanatic bent on furthering his own ambitions by striking a crippling blow at our strategic capabilities.
This story, as is usual with Flynn, is his signature unique blend of political intrigue and manipulation with shoot-`em-up thriller. But instead of focusing on Rapp and his CIA boss Irene Kennedy, the action centers around Nash and lesser lights at the CIA. Kennedy's appearance is less than perfunctory; she's barely in this story at all, and plays absolutely no meaningful part in its furtherance.
The quality that makes Rapp a "superstar" is that he's virtually a force of nature; an implacable, unstoppable weapon of American policy. Nash is... not.
We spend a lot of time reading about Nash's angst, family problems, the conflict of his job with his family life, etc. It was done in an entertaining fashion, but it's just not a Mitch Rapp book!
And Nash isn't anywhere near as just plain deadly as Rapp. In other reviews of Flynn's work, I've written that Rapp is the American version of James Bond as originally written by Ian Fleming. That's a major part of his appeal and Flynn's popularity.
At the end of this book, I was left with the feeling that Nash was lucky to still be alive, and wouldn't be if it weren't for the timely appearance of Rapp at the final showdown.
So... buyer beware.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp is a wonderful character to read about. Mitch always "gets his man" and the ways in which he does it, keeps the reader (listener) on the edge of his/her seat to the very end of the book. Mr. Flynn's writing makes it hard to put the book down until it is finished.
EXTREME MEASURES finds Mitch and Mike Nash collaborating to extract information from two terrorist leaders. Mitch and Mike fear there is a third cell trying to wreak havoc on American soil. Their goal is to stop the cell before it can reach the designated target.
Making their job harder is the fact that Senators have visited the jail where the terrorists are being held and are now demanding that they be given better treatment. Meanwhile, the third cell is gathering its final information and moving on the target.
They are brought before a Senatorial hearing committee to be questioned on their methods of interrogation. During these hearings, the third cell bombs three prominent Washington DC lunch spots. Killed in one of the restaurants is one of the Senate committee member's Chief of Staff.
This loss is the turning point of how the committee thinks about Mitch and Mike. They are now supported whole-heartedly by those on the committee who wanted to stop them. This story is written with today's threat to the US in mind.
Armand Schultz brings a wide range of voices to the reading of this book. He is easy to listen to.
I have never been disappointed in one of Mr. Flynn's books and EXTREME MEASURES is no exception.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2008
I'm a huge Vince Flynn fan, having read all of his books to date and enjoying his Mitch Rapp character immensely. I was looking forward to "Extreme Measures" hitting the bookstores, and when it did I snapped it up, reading it over a few days.
I'm afraid I must agree with others that it was a disappointment, certainly not up to the standards we're used to from Mr. Flynn.
A good story allows its characters to speak and act, enabling the story to emerge in a suspenseful and engaging way as a natural consequence of the characters and actions; and in the case of a thriller, the plot twists and final resolution are critical. Vince Flynn is very good at this in his Mitch Rapp stories.
But not in this one.
I found the plot to be utterly predictable with little of the usual Rapp action until the final few chapters. And the characters had morphed from action characters with some degree of complexity, to cardboard cutouts giving speeches, both good guys and bad.
I enjoyed seeing Mitch Rapp develop as a character in the first nine novels, struggling with relationships and doubts. None of that is evident in "Extreme Measures." In this outing, the Rapp character is flat and pompous, mouthing predictable political positions while torturing the bad guys and preaching to the "liberal" opposition.
And the book certainly needs a good proofreader! Inconsistencies and grammatical errors litter the pages (other reviewers have pointed out many of them), and Vince really needs to find some good alternatives for the verb "grabbed." At one point I nearly flung the book across the room as a character "grabbed" (a gun, a pack, or what have you) for about the sixth time on a single page! Arggggggh!
I don't want to be too harsh, for I really do love the Mitch Rapp stories, but Vince has fallen woefully short on this one.
His fans deserve better.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2008
Having read all prior mitch rapp books, i was greatly forward to this one.
Unfortunately this was not the page turning thriller of past novels.
The parts with mike nash confronting government officials was interesting but pleeeeeease, i am not reading these type of books to read so much page filling nonsense about his family. This took up an excessive amount of the book.
Mitch rapps role was so minimal, that if this were a movie, he would not even rate the title of supporting actor.
When nash was introduced i was relishing the thought of both of them combining to just kill everyone.
Instead the only action like that comes at the end and nash is reduce to shooting one terrorist and the standing by while rapp kills everyone else. Even this part was a major letdown.
It is almost like vince flynn adopted another persona when he wrote this book ( or maybe someone else did? ) The confrontations with londsdale were interesting but too many and her role reversal seemed to be not written well.
Too much politics and family and not enough action. There was plenty of cursing perhaps to make up for the very prdictable story.
how anyone could rate this 4 stars is beyond me.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Vince Flynn takes a different direction with his characters in this one. Rapp takes a background role and although his scenes are a delight, it is Mike Nash who is the main good guy. Nash offers something else, he is a family man with some domestic issues, smart but not the bulldozer that Rapp is.
Against the background of an impending attack on the US, this is a book about political in-fighting and how the rights of individuals should be balanced against the need to protect the Nation. The CIA methods are being questioned by liberal politicians and slowing down the need to fight fire with fire, is the main thrust of this book.
The point is made bluntly and is made a little too obvious at times.
This is an okay thriller but not up to previous high standards.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2009
This is one of those novels that will likely have a polarizing effect. While the politics of an author shouldn't be a measure of whether or not he/she has written a good thriller, it can effect some reader's opinion of the novel. Some left leaning readers might find elements of the novel objectionable; in much the same way that right leaning readers might find that authors like David Baldacci irritate their sensibilities. Any novel that treats a complex issue like extreme interrogation of suspected terrorists as if were black and white, is going to alienate some readers. It also misses an opportunity to explore the complexities of the issue. (This of course is equally true of lefty novelists).
I'm Canadian, so not too surprisingly, my politics lean left. But that doesn't mean that I can't enjoy a good rightwing thriller. Sometimes the hero needs to get a little `Jack Bauer' on someone. It's a novel, and if its entertaining, I can seperate the politics. The problem with Extreme Measures is that it doesn't deliver much in the way of thrills. The entire purpose of the novel, it would seem, is to provide a platform from which the author can preach a decidedly one-sided view on the issue of torturing terrorists. His approach is as subtle as a sledgehammer. Every character that represents an opposing view is characterized as a hypocrite and a self-serving, self righteous, shortsighted parasite destroying all that is good and pure in America. A lawyer, who is opposed to the actions of Rapp and crew, takes the unlikely step of slapping Rapp around when he thinks Rapp is in handcuffs (illustrating the hypocrisy of the lefties).
But the reason I didn't care for this novel isn't an issue of politics. The problem is that it just isn't very thrilling. Flynn gives us an uninspired plot involving a small terrorist cell planning an attack on US soil. Their plan is standard fair and we get the run of the mill scenes from training camp to bomb detonation. While we wait for the terrorists to initiate their attack, we have to endure senate hearings on the man-handling of a known terrorist and more detail than we could ever want on Nash's domestic life. His son isn't enjoying his prep school, Nash is suffering from performance anxiety in the bedroom, and the baby said a swear word. Trust me, its painful to read - almost as bad as enduring the homelife of James Patterson's Alex Cross and his adorable brood.
If your politics lean to the right, you may feel so vindicated by the bias of Extreme Measures that you can overlook the novel's contrived, tedious and unremarkable plot, but for the rest of us, this is a heavy handed rant dressed up as a thriller. I haven't read anything else by Flynn but my advice to him is this: get off the soap box and write a decent thriller (presumably something he has done in the past). I offer the same advice to left leaning authors. If you want to explore a complex issue, then respect its complexities. If you want to write a thriller, make it thrilling.
Extreme Measures fails in both regards. It's simplistic and tiresome.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2008
I have read all of Flynn's works. I have liked every one of them and not been disappointed.
This book was no different, though it was less a front to back barnstormer about his principle character and action hero, Mitch Rapp, than others have been.
But that's okay, I believe Flynn did that on purpose to make some other points, and the book is nonetheless a great read.
It was, for me, still a captivating thriller with enough action, and delivering a very important message for our society which I believe was the thrust of Flynn's effort here...as well as showing some of the personal cost warriors such as Rapp and Nash pay in the clandestine services while defending our nation against its enemies.
All in all, I believe the novel is a very exciting one, mingling all of these goals together into one, and I give it five stars.
Importantly, I also believe it is an excellent expose about what manner of enemy we are fighting in the Islamic Jihadists, and what measures it takes to stop them...and an equally well done expose on how the political correctness of the day, and wrangling of our current politicians can not only impeded the effort, but invite the carnage to our shores.
I would recommend "Extreme Measures" for anyone wanting to see into the mind of the enemey, and for anyone wanting to see what manner of heroes we have fighting to stop that enemy against all odds, the largest of which that are stacked against them residing right here within our own borders and within the halls of our own political institutions.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2008
One thing his critics have always ripped Flynn on since he started the Rapp books is that he doesn't spend enough time on character developement. Flynn always gave us just what we needed to know then kept the story moving never slowing down. Well, he threw a whole lot of character developement in this one. At first I thought he was throwing his critics a bone then I came to realize he was trying to put a face on the guys that are out there protecting us. He did a good job of doing that but the book overall didn't work.
Be aware that Mitch Rapp is a supporting character in this novel. Mike Nash is the lead but the problem with making Nash the lead is that you have to put him in the center of the storm and Flynn didn't do that. He has all this character developement then when the trial comes up or even the action Nash takes a back seat to Rapp thus you couldn't really feel the emotional connection to the man. Based on how Flynn put this story together he should have left Rapp out of it which I'm sure would have pissed off a lot of his fans but you can't have it both ways.
Flynn did a good job of showing how naive our congress really are. I don't think anyone quite captures that better than Flynn. The bad guys in the book were fun to read and when the action started it was a typical Flynn novel but I think he spent too much time on Mike Nash but still wanted to keep Rapp in the story and it just didn't work.