Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Third Option

The Third Option, published in 2000, is the third book in Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp series and, while the book still holds up well as a political thriller, today’s readers will almost certainly think about how much has happened in the decade following its publication. Mitch is in Germany on what he plans as his last counterterrorism mission: taking out a wealthy German industrialist before the man can supply Saddam Hussein’s scientists with the material needed for Iraq to produce nuclear weapons to benefit those waging war on the West.

One more kill, and Vince plans to walk away from his old life and into the arms of the woman he plans to spend the rest of his life with - but, in Vince’s business, things have a way of getting complicated. Vince Rapp is not used to failure but this time, despite his best efforts, the mission goes badly and he finds himself on the run in Europe, wondering who set-him up and why they did it. All he knows is that someone is going to pay the ultimate price for what they did to him - even if the order came from inside the Agency.

When he finally surfaces to confront his bosses in Washington D.C. about their knowledge of what happened in Germany, Rapp becomes convinced that CIA Director Stansfield and Irene Kennedy, Director of the Counterterrorism Center, are as much in the dark as he is. Director Stansfield, Rapp learns, is dying of cancer and Stansfield strongly believes that Irene Kennedy is the only choice to succeed him. However, some powerful government people disagree with Stansfield and they considered Rapp and his mission to be expendable if the ensuing embarrassment would keep Kennedy from the nomination.

The Third Option
is a first rate thriller throughout but I was disappointed in its open-ended finish. It is obvious that the fourth book of the Mitch Rapp series picks up exactly where this third book ends - and that might have been more acceptable back in 2000 when there were only three books in the series. But now there are ten of them, and the earlier books can be difficult to find in libraries and bookstores, so it might be a while before I find out how book three’s chief villain is finally brought to justice. Bummer.

Rated at: 4.0

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