It hasn’t been long since Red War took the world by storm—debuting in the #1 bestseller slot—but Kyle Mills is already back with a new Vince Flynn Mitch Rapp thriller.
In LETHAL AGENT, a terrifying bioterrorism plot threatens to kill millions in the midst of a disruptive presidential election—and black ops hero Mitch Rapp is sent into action to infiltrate Mexican cartels and stop an ISIS leader before a deadly virus is unleashed on humanity.
In this interview for The Big Thrill, Mills delves into what inspired this latest series installment, the pros—and cons—of stepping into Vince Flynn’s formidable writing shoes, and what readers can expect next.
Hey Kyle! Well, it hasn’t been too long since Red War took the world by storm. How did the release go?
I can’t complain—the book debuted at #1! It was a little bit of a different take on the classic Mitch Rapp thriller and I think fans had a lot of fun with it.
What have you been up to since then?
It’s been a busy year. I moved to Spain in the middle of 2018 and just arrived back in the US a month ago. While I was there, I wrote LETHAL AGENT, the next installment in the Mitch Rapp saga.
What can you tell us about LETHAL AGENT?
After Red War, I wanted to go back to a classic Vince Flynn structure. The story revolves around a bioterror threat, but my main goal was to portray Mitch kicking Islamic terrorist butt and taking Islamic terrorist names. Fans will definitely recognize the crooked politicians, fanatical villains, and hard-charging American operators that made the series so iconic.
Last time we spoke, we covered a lot of ground about your experience of stepping into Vince Flynn’s world. Has writing the latest novel added any fresh perspectives to that conversation?
Definitely. I went back and looked at all the old books to try to distill the essence of what made them great. Hopefully, I succeeded.
To me, reading Red War was a bit of a time travel experience, taking us back a few decades to when the Big Bad in every espionage thriller was Russia. In some ways, this new one feels a little more contemporary. ISIS is the bad guy, in line with many modern thrillers that cast Islamic extremism as the antagonist. Did you approach the two differently?
I was a huge fan of the Cold War thrillers and had to take advantage of the fact that Russia is flexing its muscle on the world stage again. I love the complexity and scale of the Russian threat. It feels very different than the more focused danger posed by a terrorist group.
I’ve always been a little jealous of the Soviet-era writers. The global chessboard they played on had a seemingly endless number of world-changing scenarios to explore.
You cover a lot of themes in the novel that resonate in America right now, most notably the extreme extent of political division that currently exists. When any comment risks sparking outrage from one side or another—or both—how do you approach writing a political thriller at a time when politics is so deeply partisan?
I try to stick to universal themes and steer completely clear of partisan politics. In LETHAL AGENT, political parties are never mentioned and I don’t touch on issues that have a strong partisan component. Hopefully, there’s still a sense of objective right and wrong that stands apart from political affiliation. It’ll be interesting to see if that’s true.
What’s next for Mitch Rapp?
You’ll just have to wait and find out!
Kyle Mills is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of nineteen political thrillers, including Red War for Vince Flynn and The Patriot Attack for Robert Ludlum. He initially found inspiration from his father, the former director of Interpol, and still draws on his contacts in the intelligence community to give his books their realism. Avid outdoor athletes, he and his wife have lived in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for nearly thirty years.
To learn more about the author and his work, please visit his website.