Book Review: Slingshot

BlackFive Special: Vince Flynn Remembered by fellow best selling authors

Elise Cooper, who provides some of our book reviews as a special service for BlackFive readers, wrote the following and I couldn't agree more with the sentiment.  We lost a great one in Vince Flynn.


Vince Flynn was a prolific political thriller writer.  His main characters were no-nonsense CIA officials Mitch Rapp and Irene Kennedy. 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 stop being soft on terrorists. Not only was he able to touch the minds and hearts of his readers but he also affected his fellow writers. Some New York Times best-selling authors wrote dedications to Vince Flynn for

Nelson DeMille, the dean of thriller novelists whose main characters are John Corey and Kate Mayfield wrote, “Vince was a fan of my writing and we exchanged correspondence over the years.  He was a really excellent writer and craftsman plus of course he was politically mature.  We kept in touch for years before I finally met him about two years ago on Glenn Beck’s radio show.  He was a gentleman, a down-to-earth guy, and a good family man.  Everyone in the writing community will miss him.”

Glenn Beck whose main character is Molly Rose wrote, “Vince was an incredible entertainer to many, a good friend to some, and a great husband and father to just a lucky few—but to me he was something else: a true American hero. Vince did more in a single novel to spread the truth and engage average Americans than most people do in a lifetime. I know that his family, friends and readers will miss him, but his country will miss him, too. Vince, I hope you’ll rest in peace knowing that the millions of people you influenced and inspired will not let you, or your message, ever be forgotten.”

Alex Berenson whose main character is John Wells wrote, “I am sorry to say I never met Vince, but we ran in the same circles, and whenever his name came up, people always said the same thing:  "He's a really good guy."  Not in an over-the-top way, just a statement of fact:  Vince is a really good guy.  He was way more conservative than I was, but I never had the sense that his stances were opportunistic or meant to help his sales (something I can't say about every conservative spy novelist).  He came by his beliefs honestly, one of seven kids, a graduate of a Catholic high school and a Catholic college.  He was by far the most commercially successful of the new generation of spy novelists, a sleeker, more believable Clancy, but he carried his celebrity modestly and loved to blurb new novelists.  His word carried weight, too -- I've lost count of the number of readers told me they bought The Faithful Spy because he endorsed it.

Sometimes readers asked me if Mitch Rapp and John Wells would ever team up, and I told them the truth -- both men were too alpha to coexist.  Wells would see Rapp as a knuckle-dragger, and Rapp would wonder about Wells' conversion to Islam and tell him to put his big-boy pants on and get going.  They'd both be right.  I'd like to think my novels are more sophisticated than Vince's -- but -- and I hate admitting this -- his are probably more entertaining start to finish.  In our genre, the latter is really what counts, as Vince's sales prove.  Over the course of his career, Vince entertained millions of readers.  They -- and I -- are sorry that he and Mitch Rapp have left us behind.”      

Ben Coes whose main character is Dewey Andreas wrote, “It is truly difficult for me to write this, much less even believe it, but Vince Flynn has died. It just doesn't get any sadder than that. Like many authors who came after Vince, I owe a lot to him. He created a new standard, a new definition, of the modern thriller. His best quality if you ask me was his kindness. Even though he didn't have to, even though he had his own books to write, he took the time to help out many, many unknown first time authors, including me. I'm sorry you had to go so soon, Vince. We lost a great American today.”

Jeffery Deaver whose main characters are Dr. Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs wrote, “As a reader, I've been a huge fan of Vince's books over the years. I always looked forward to spending time with Mitch Rapp, who's about as good an action thriller hero as you can find. As an author, I admired him even more. On the occasions when we had a chance to talk about the business of writing, I was struck by the way that he put his readers first, crafting every book with them in mind. For him, writing his novels was a way to both entertain his audience and talk about values that have made this country great. I will miss him greatly.”

Jim DeFelice whose main characters are Danny Freah, Brenna and Zen Stockard wrote, “While we have several mutual friends, like most people I knew Vince Flynn best through his books - tautly plotted thrillers that kept you on the edge of your seat while making you think at the same time. Most people know how entertaining he was as a storyteller; those of us lucky enough to have spent even a small amount of time with him know he was maybe even better in person. But what struck me about Vince was how generous he was to other writers, most especially those just starting in the field. I once witnessed him give upwards of an hour to a "newbie" at a gathering when other famous authors would surely have ducked out. And as someone who benefited from his "blurbs," I can attest that he was most generous and gracious with those as well. His pen and presence will be sorely missed.”

Matthew Dunn whose main character is Will Cochrane wrote, “Vince Flynn has departed our shores to reside in a place of peace and tranquility.  In doing so, we should all bid this truly great American author a bon voyage.  Mr. Flynn is a man chiseled from the same granite as heroes who stood in trenches with pen or camera in one hand and gun in the other.  As an Englishman who’s done his time in the trenches, I can tell you that Great Britain is bereaved that Mr. Flynn’s noble warrior spirit and expert writing skills are no longer with us.  Our thoughts are with his devoted family.  I suspect that right now Mr. Flynn is on the shores of bass fishing heaven, casting a line alongside Hemingway, Twain, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Kerouac, and other brilliant American writers. God bless you Vince for your novels and the impact they’ve had on the world.”

Alan Jacobson whose main character is Karen Vail wrote, “Many have expressed profound sadness over the loss of someone whose life was cut tragically short: a quality individual, a husband and father. The passing of Vince Flynn is all this and more. But rather than mourn his death, let’s for a moment consider a few of his accomplishments. Vince hurdled enormous obstacles to succeed as an author, beating back dyslexia—and something nearly as debilitating: several dozen rejections from the New York publishing industry, until he found a home at Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books. He not only went on to pen 14 bestselling novels, but he created a character with whom legions of readers could relate: a hero who took matters into his own hands to keep America safe. Although I didn’t know Vince well enough to call him a friend, I knew him as a colleague, and as a person. When I asked him if he’d read my thriller, Hard Target—despite his looming deadline—he read it, loved it, and offered to endorse it. It would’ve been easy, and understandable, to just say he didn’t have the time. But that wasn’t Vince. Not only have his wife and three children suffered a loss, but the literary world has, as well.”

The late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle who wrote an autobiography and his latest book about guns significance in history once told me,  “Vince Flynn is one of my writer role models. I love to read Vince Flynn with ol' Mitch Rapp.  Vince gets it right.  The enemy are savages and should not be humanized.” 

Brad Meltzer whose main characters are Clementine Kaye and Beecher White wrote, “I just heard the news that bestselling author Vince Flynn died. I'm still gathering my thoughts (and why this one hit me with such shock), but here goes: Fifteen years ago, just after my second novel came out, I was sitting in a hotel restaurant in Portland, Oregon. This tall Ken doll of a man walks over to me and says: You're Brad Meltzer, right? He tells me that his name is Vince Flynn...that he's starting out too...and that he wants to be like me, on the bestseller list. He tells me that he's got his next 8 books already planned out. I loved the confidence -- and the honesty -- and I laughed, since I still didn't know what my next book was. But in that restaurant, both on book tour, we became quick friends. Over the years, Vince and I would trade info, advice, and even sources (how else do you think we found all the details about the secret tunnel below the White House?). I'd always cheer for him, thrilled to see one of us young newbies actually making it. As more time went by, he surpassed me when it came to sales. In fact, a few years back, at a charity event we did in his home state, I told the crowd I wanted a Vince action figure (Have you ever seen him? Again, Ken doll). And last I heard from him, he was doing well, fighting cancer. But as I sat here this morning, reading the first news reports of his death (and life), it just tore a piece of my youth from my chest. Maybe it's because Vince was so young and alive. Maybe it's because I still picture that Portland restaurant and that determined-at-all-cost grin that only young people are dumb and smart enough to have. Maybe I'm feeling old (though I always loved that he was older). Maybe it's simply because today is my daughter's birthday. And of course, I know it's because we were friends. But whatever the reason, I'm taking the rest of the day off. The books can wait. Rest easy, brother Vince.”

MJ Rose whose latest stand-alone book is Seduction wrote, “What most people don't know about Vince was that he self published his first novel, around the same time I did in the late 1990s. Neither the rejections he’d gotten nor the dyslexia he suffered could stop him. That determination defined him and was admiral. It was visible in his bravery in the face of his disease, too. Vince didn't just create heroes, he was one. And he will be missed.”

Beatriz Williams whose latest stand-alone book is A Hundred Summers wrote, “As I read the obituaries that mark the passing of Vince Flynn, I'm struck most of all by his tenacity. I knew he was a talented writer of top-flight thrillers; I didn't realize he received 60 rejections for his first novel, Term Limits, and wound up self-publishing the book––successfully! ––From the trunk of his car until Pocket Books gave him a hardcover deal. I knew he battled prostate cancer for three years; I didn't realize he also suffered from seizures related to a childhood car accident, and that he overcame dyslexia to reach the top of the New York Times bestseller list. I knew his books were taut and expertly paced; I didn't know they gave headaches to national security honchos in Washington who couldn't figure out where he got his uncanny information. All writers must overcomes obstacles and learn the craft in order to become successful; all writers dig deep to get the book right. Vince just overcame more and dug deeper, and the too-soon passing of this vibrant and vigorous writer leaves a larger hole than words can fill.”

Tom Young whose main characters are Major Michael Parsons and Sergeant Sophia Gold wrote, “Vince Flynn was more than a fine writer. He was a gentleman who offered encouragement to others in his field. A class act, all the way.”


All of Vince Flynn readers, including many of these bestselling authors, owe him a great debt of gratitude.  His books entertained, informed, and had powerful discussions concerning the threat of terrorism while setting political correctness aside.  His light has been taken from us but he will live on through his books. 

He will truly be missed.