Vince Flynn, 1966 -- 2013
Vince Flynn the prolific political thriller author has just passed away. For those who never read him, he was able to predict events before they actually occurred. His first Mitch Rapp book, Transfer of Power, discussed the threat of Islamic terrorists before 9/11. In writing his novels, Flynn was able to either predict an event, as in Memorial Day (a nuclear strike on the U.S.), or relate to an unfolding event, as in Protect and Defend (the Iranian nuclear program). His main characters were no-nonsense CIA officials Mitch Rapp and Irene Kennedy. All of his books made the New York Times Best-seller list, and most reached number one.
These characters have the same qualities the readers have grown to love. Mitch Rapp is unabashed, fearless, and cantankerous. Irene Kennedy is analytical, cunning, and supportive. Through these characters words and actions he is able to get his point across, that America better wake up and stopping being soft on terrorists. For example he pointed out in Extreme Measures, that the CIA's biggest adversaries are politicians who "either think there's no war on terror, or if we'd just be nice to these zealots, they'll leave us alone," and "Freedom does not come without a fight. Those two documents (Bill of Rights and Constitution) are bathed in blood...They did not survive on high-minded ideals alone."
He once commented to me, "A major theme in all my books is that the CIA is not only the first line of defense, but they should also be the first line of offense. Our government's first priority is the national security of its citizenry. Not whether or not we are liked by of group of intolerant religious zealots. I will continue to be an advocate for the CIA and point out their heroism and the hypocrisy, the disconnect with what they are trying to do, keep Americans safe, and politicians who have their own agenda."
But he was more than a great author; he was also a great man. He allowed me, an up and coming journalist, to spend a day with him as he went about publicizing his book. There was no reason for him to do it except that he was a kind person who was willing to help out an aspiring writer. During that tour he also took the time to speak to parents and students at a Jewish Orthodox school. He made a strong impression on high school students through his humor and insightfulness.
Vince Flynn will truly be missed for his upfront discussion of the current and future political situation. He will also be missed in that there will be no more storylines with his great characters where he intertwined his fictional plots with real-life political situations, setting political correctness aside. His light has been taken from us but he will live on through his books that questioned and probed basic assumptions in the War on Terror. He will truly be missed.