Thriller twofer

I’m behind on reviews so I’m going to try two-in-one, bullet point style. These books don’t have much in common on the surface but I think I can tie them together.

American Assassin: A Thriller by Vince Flynn (2010)

  • The first of the popular series featuring Mitch Rapp, CIA badass
  • The main characters are mainly macho, military and male
  • Motivations: vengeance and revenge; honor among men and love of country
  • Trigger warnings: terrorism, torture, brutal violence
  • The story: Mitch Rapp was a star college athlete at Syracuse when tragedy struck. His college sweetheart was coming home from studying abroad when she was killed in the Pan Am Flight 103 Lockerbie bombing. Mitch is consumed with getting revenge on anyone involved and catches the attention of a CIA handler. He’s picked for an elite, off-the-books team whose mission is to kill the same perpetrators. During training and after he butts heads with authority, goes his own way, and demonstrates incredible cunning, bravery and recklessness. Sounds like a movie, doesn’t it? (It actually was made into a movie, but it wasn’t that great.)

The Last Flight by Julie Clark (2020):

  • Her second standalone novel
  • The main characters are female: smart, struggling, secretive
  • Motivations: safety, security, integrity; honoring themselves
  • Trigger warnings: domestic violence and drug dealer violence
  • The story: Worlds collide when two women trying to escape their lives stumble across each other and make a split-second decision that impacts the rest of their lives. Claire is the beautiful, smart, talented and poised politician’s wife. She gave up her dreams to help him with his ambitions, and ended up trapped with a man who gradually revealed his abusive side. For years she’s endured verbal and physical violence, and the story begins when she’s reached her end. For months, with the help of a friend, she’s squirreled money away and secured new identification for a planned getaway during a campaign stop.
  • Eva is equally smart and talented, but carries the scars of a childhood spent in foster homes after losing her mother and sister. She gets through it, makes her way to Berkeley and is a rising star in the Chemistry department. But a bad decision to help her golden-boy boyfriend with drugs backfires and she ends up expelled. A savior in the form of a big-time dealer is there to help her pick up the pieces and she falls into a double-life, working a couple of days as a waitress and otherwise cooking drugs and living her life. But, like Claire, she is trapped and unhappy. Circumstances force her to run, too, and that’s when she meets up with Claire.

Each woman has a friend – someone who has their back. For Eva it’s a new neighbor: a professor who is older and a mother figure. She challenges Eva and encourages her. Claire has a best friend who guides her, but also finds an unlikely ally in a professional colleague.

Mitch Rapp and his teammates have each other to lean on, too, but they’re so different. It’s almost hostile at times, they way they interact. But bottom line, they respect each other and would kill or be killed for each other. As true friends do.

I read all sorts of thrillers and mysteries from the male perspective, and I enjoyed American Assassin. Overall it was a fun read and I’ll be digging into more of Mitch Rapp’s adventures. The Last Flight had a different vibe, but was just as tense. I wouldn’t say it was a fun read, but it was compelling and a page-turner. Both authors write well, but Clark’s prose was a bit more insightful and introspective. I’ll be on the lookout for what she does next.

So there you have it – two thrillers with stories about freedom and prisons of our own making. Do either or both resonate with you?


If you purchase American Assassin through this Amazon link I may get a commission!

If you purchase The Last Flight through this Amazon link I may get a commission!

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