At a Glance
When it comes to the Vince Flynn Mitch Rapp series, I would strongly say that reading them in order should be required, but more on that a bit further down.
Here is Mitch Rapp series in order (chronological order) by the author Vince Flynn. The publication order is a bit different in that 2 books were written much later in the series, however, they are actually prequels to the series as they depict a young Mitch, just getting his job and starting his first assignments.
Mitch Rapp Series In Order
- American Assassin, 2010
- Kill Shot, 2012
- Transfer of Power, 1999
- The Third Option, 2000
- Separation Of Power, 2001
- Executive Power, 2002
- Memorial Day, 2004
- Consent to Kill, 2005
- Act of Treason, 2006
- Protect and Defend, 2007
- Extreme Measures, 2008
- Pursuit of Honor, 2009
- The Last Man, 2012
- The Survivor, 2014 (written by Kyle Mills)
- Order to Kill, 2016 (written by Kyle Mills)
- Enemy of the State, 2017 (written by Kyle Mills)
- Red War, 2018 (written by Kyle Mills)
American Assassin, the 1st book in chronological order is actually the 11th book in the publication order, being published right after Pursuit of Honor.
Kill Shot is the 12th in publication order, being published after American Assassin and before Vince Flynn’s The Last Man.
Other Vince Flynn Books
Term Limits, 1997
Should we read the Mitch Rapp series in order?
Do you have that feeling of starting to read a book only to discover that it’s the 5th one in a popular series and now you don’t understand what is going on, what have you missed in terms of plot and who the heck are these characters anyway?
Well, I honestly hate it, especially when I get references with stuff that happened in previous books and now I need to go back and read the series in order from the start to get those references in the first place. This is why I love to read the Mitch Rapp series in order (even though that don’t necessarily need to be read in chronological order. If you do start the series, start with American Assassin before anything else.
I’ve read all the Mitch Rapp books in the proper reading order (well except the two published out of order mentioned above), so I say yes, we should read them in order. It is not only about character development in the books, but also about the fact that many of the plotlines actually build up one on top of the other one. Thus it is easier to follow the thread, so to speak if one reads the books in order.
The Mitch Rapp series is one of my favorites in the modern spy thriller genre. Vince Flynn really knew how to write his books (sadly he passed away in 2013 of prostate cancer at the young age of 47).
I’ve also read his stand-alone novel, Term Limits, another spy thriller which is worth checking out.
I first came across this series years ago after reading books by Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy and John Le Carre (actually the John Le Carre was my first introduction to spy novels in the first place). I got hooked.
Reading about the cold war, about one country’s fight against the other with other means than pure war, about puzzles to be solved, heroes to be made and countries to be saved, about CIA and other international “fun” agencies…I was hooked right from the start.
Vince Flynn came out with a great series about Mitch Rapp, a prolific undercover CIA counter-terrorism operative who is literally terrorism’s worst nightmare. He always solves the cases which makes him both equally loved, feared and hated by politicians on Capitol Hill.
American Assassin, the first book written in the Mitch Rapp series, is now a movie made in 2017 with Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, and Sanaa Lathan. While both the book and the movie are great, they both have some major differences, which is something that many book readers don’t find pleasing.
For example, in the American Assassin movie, there is a bomb, which is not present in the book. Also, Ghost, who appears in the movie, doesn’t exist in the book at all. In fact, there is a lot in the movie that the books don’t include at all. Also, the main motivation for counterterrorism operative Mitch Rapp is the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, is replaced in the movie with a terrorist attack on the beach where his girlfriend to whom he just proposed is killed. Last but not least, the CIA assistant director in the book is a tough, bad-ass woman who really helps the books shine. In the movie, while the actress playing it was good, there was still something missing to her character. Maybe because they had to squeeze a whole lot of paper in a two-hour movie.
Personally, I enjoyed both the book and the American Assassin movie for what they are, so I didn’t feel all that bad for the many differences from book to movie. Granted, it has been a good while (translate that too many years) since I’ve read the book, so I was anyway a bit fuzzy on the details. Thus, there was not all that much for me to complain in the first place.
Should you read the American Assassin by Vince Flynn before watching the movie? I don’t think you need to, but if you enjoy the Mitch Rapp book series, you might as well do it.
About Vince Flynn
Vince Flynn was born in 1966 in Saint Paul, Minnesota as the fifth of seven children. In 1984 he graduated from Saint Thomas Academy, and in 1988 he graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in economics.
Once he left school, he started working for Kraft Foods, in the position of sales and marketing specialist. I found this information quite interesting, as I also worked for a competitor of Kraft Foods, for Unilever, in a very similar position for several years. Of course, I couldn’t have met the author since I was living in Europe at the time.
He worked at Kraft Foods Company until 1990, when he switched careers with the intention to become a pilot with the United States Marine Corps. Sadly, due to the author being diagnosed with concussions and convulsive seizures which he experienced while growing up, he was disqualified from the Marine Aviation Program just one week prior to him leaving for Officer Candidate School, which is a training program that aims to evaluate potential Marine Corps Officers.
The author had also dyslexia. Back in the day, there was not all that much information about dyslexia, but Vince was trying to overcome it by keeping a strict daily regimen of reading and writing. During this time he fell in love with books and decided to become a writer as well.
In the meantime, to pay his bills, and since he could no longer work with the Marine Corps, he went to work at United Properties as a commercial real estate leasing agent, a job which could turn out to be quite a lucrative for him.
Eventually, he quit his job, moved to Colorado and started writing books full time. He wrote and published on his own his debut novel, Term Limits. The hardcover edition of the book was eventually published by Pocket Books, which is part of the Simon & Schuster publishing company. The book was featured on the New York Times bestseller list for several weeks.
He very much wanted to continue writing books, especially since several of his first novels, including Transfer of Power, The Third Option, and Separation of Power were all on the NYT bestseller list.
In 2010, the author was diagnosed with a rare form of prostate cancer. While getting treatment, he continued to write his bestselling novels. Over the years, he wrote 14 books, out of which 13 are part of his popular Mitch Rapp series. The last book that he was working on, which he couldn’t complete before his demise The Survivor (he only managed to write the first few chapters), was eventually completed by Kyle Mills, who has, in the meantime, written two additional Mitch Rapp books, with the latest, Enemy of State, being published in 2017. Kyle Mills was asked to finish The Survivor and write two new books by Vince Flynn’s estate and by Simon & Schuster.
If you are reading the Vince Flynn books in order, it is well-worth picking up the Kyle Mills books as well. I have read them and, honestly, I haven’t found a major difference in the writing style between the two authors. Kyle Mills definitely knows how to bring the series justice.
One of the things Kyle Mills did was to actually read the Mitch Rapp series in chronological order for all the books and write no less than 150 pages of notes about the author’s style, characters, and words mostly used.
In an interview, Kyle Mills said,
As a Vince Flynn fan, you come to know and love that character. As an author, you need to create that. I’d hate to pick up a Mitch Rapp (book) and not have it feel authentic.
The Vince Flynn books are quite accurate. In fact, George W. Bush mentioned once about the author that in his books he was coming too close to the real truth as to how the CIA was operating around the world.
The author mentioned in an interview that his books are “entertainment, educational and serve as cautionary tales.”
The first book in the thriller series is Transfer of Power, which is actually the author’s second book written.
His books were sold more than 15 million books in the U.S alone. Two ex-presidents, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were among his serious fans.
Before dying, the author was living with his wife, Lysa, and their three children in St. Paul in Minneapolis. The author died in 2013 after a difficult two-year battle with his cancer which has metastasized in the meantime.