Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Last Man, by Vince Flynn

This is the 9th in Mr. Flynn's series of spy novels featuring the heroic Mitch Rapp.   Just yesterday I told someone I'd grade this novel C+.   Why so low?

An A grade in this genre would have compelling character development, terrific writing, and a great plot.   This book has an okay plot.   There's a significant surprise midway through (don't worry, I won't spoil it), and yet Mr. Flynn did nothing to develop the character and explain his decisions.   This left a big gap in understanding the plot progression.

Similarly, (a minor spoiler now) when Rapp has a head injury, there was a great opportunity to use his recovery to really develop the character beyond the comic book hero.  Instead, he passed on this, leaving us with a paper cutout main character who, let me yawn as this is so trite, is violent (but only to bad guys), and has no patience for discussion (especially with liberals or people who want to think things through, both of whom are always shown to be either corrupt or extraordinarily incompetent).

So many missed opportunities for great writing!

Still, it is an okay grade.  Partly because the competition in this genre is typically no better, and partly because it was a slightly enjoyable read (albeit maddening at times).

Bottom line: if you're into this kind of thing, and have invested in reading the prior books in the series, you'd might as well read this one.  But I'd go to the library or used book store rather than shelling out full price for this novel.

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