Now, I’m going to tell you straight: I have read American Assassin before. 2016, in fact, around about October. I’m also going to be honest and say that while I remembered enjoying the book, I also remembered very, very few details. So, when I needed to fulfil the “espionage thriller” prompt for the PopSugar 2017 Reading Challenge, I thought that this would be the perfect reason to re-read this novel. One of the reasons for wanting to re-read it, aside from being irritated that I couldn’t recall most of the pertinent details, is that I saw the movie when it came out in theatres and I remember thinking confusedly that it seemed…not-quite-right compared to what I actually could remember about the original novel.
As expected, I enjoyed the book. So much, in fact, that despite best intentions and wanting to spend more time with the book to soak in the details better, I started it on the train to work in the morning and finished it sitting in my home office that same afternoon. In my defence, I can be quite a swift reader without ever skipping a word, and this book is one of the easiest to read in the thriller genre that I have come across. Also in my defence, I spend about two hours a day (on average) commuting, which gives me a significant chunk of uninterrupted (except by Instagram) reading time. Ahem.
Mitch Rapp is honestly one of my favourite characters in the espionage/thriller genre. Not because he is a badass (he is) or because he’s good at languages (I’m envious), but because he makes mistakes, he screws up, and he is absolutely not in the spy and assassination game for any sort of noble cause. He is in it for retribution and he doesn’t give a flying rodent’s behind who knows it. He is stubborn, he is smart, he is observant, and quite frankly he is a manipulative little s***. And I like that about him. It makes him more relatable as a character, despite the aforementioned badassery that most of us couldn’t even dream of displaying.
Another thing that quite impresses me about this book is how much I like it despite my usual avoidance of books that actually relate to my field of research (intelligence, in case you were wondering. Lately, of the cyber variety, but I retain an interest in human intelligence). Of late, and I noticed it when I read Black Friday by Alex Kava, I haven’t really been able to get into books about spies and whatnot. It feels too much like work, you know? But Vince Flynn’s writing is good, and the plot is interesting, and somehow manages to engage my interest without making me feel like I’m reading a fast-paced history paper. This is of the good. This makes me want to pick up the next book in the series, and considering the entire series is on my mother’s bookshelf, this can actually be done without too much effort, so hopefully my good intentions will be carried out and I will actually continue on with a series for once.
I really encourage you to read this book. I warn you, if you’ve seen the movie it probably won’t make a lot of sense to you because, based on the first book only, the filmmakers took some liberties with the plot. Which honestly, worked out well cinematically, but if you’re an adaptation purist it will make you grind your teeth a bit. Dylan O’Brien does a damn good Mitch Rapp, and Michael Keaton is literally perfect for the part of Stan Hurley. Ups to the casting directors on that bit of genius.
Essentially, I reckon you should give this a go.