Punchinello’s Chronicles

February 16, 2009

Author Vince Flynn – My Current Favorite

Filed under: Butterfly Wings — Punchinello @ 2:07 am
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I read everything. Fiction, non-fiction, scholarly, reference manuals, it doesn’t matter. As long as the writing is good, the motivational logic makes sense, and the story is interesting, I’ll give it a shot. Can’t afford a TV, haven’t had one in years, and I see I don’t miss it at all. Instead, I spend a lot of time with the local library.

Along the way, I’ve read many terrific spy thrillers, but they tend to deal with World War II or take-over-the-world diabolical plots along the lines of James Bond. That’s fine with me, it’s just that they’re not so much involved with current events. Vince Flynn definitely is current!

His current latest book is Extreme Measures, a totally frightening look at what might happen if American politicians continue down the path they’ve taken. In fact, it reminds me of Alan Drury, and his Advise & Consent series, written in the 1960s. That series ended with two books, each of which provided an alternate ending to the series based on a “hawk” (conservative) or “dove” (liberal) president.

At any rate, excepting the first book, all the ensuing Flynn books are known as the Mitch Rapp series. Flynn himself says that whether you read them in order or out of order isn’t really important. It’s mostly how your mind works and what sort of personality you have. I read them out of order, but I think they work even better when you read them from first to last.

The reason being that following Term Limits, the first book, Flynn introduces Mitch Rapp, an heroic CIA operative and assassin. Rapp is a fascinating character, with an emotional context that’s usually missing from these types of characters. But let’s talk about Term Limits.

Flynn wrote his first novel in 1996-7, and it was rejected wholeheartedly by the publishing industry. So he decided to publish it himself. It became famous in the local Minnesota area, after which he had some bargaining power and was able to get into the mainstream of publishing. I can see why so many mainstream publishers would have rejected the story, which is utterly fascinating, compelling, and gripping! It’s all about a conservative viewpoint, with a strong (very strong!) advocacy of the US military and special branches.

Plot Summary “Term Limits” (No Spoilers)

Someone is killing congressmen. Nobody knows who is doing this, but overnight, three senior officials have been murdered. The skill and planning is exceptionally sophisticated, and the FBI suspects it may be terrorists. At the same time, President Stevens is trying to pass his annual budget. The vote is so close, only a few undecideds remain. It’s time for political strong-arm tactics.

Although everyone believes this may be a terrorist attack, a tape arrives that explains the underlying motive for the killings. It isn’t a terrorist attack, but now confusion moves through Washington as people try to decide whether or not the tape is authentic or a diversion.

More killings begin to unfold, with a growing assumption that this no longer is a terrorist attack. Four congressional leaders are dead, and there’s a threat against the President himself. From there, events begin to move at high speed as the FBI, Secret Service, CIA, NSA, and the military attempt to track down who’s killing off political leaders.

Just as we begin to get a sense of what’s happening, and we’re about to accept “the good guys” and “the bad guys,” a whole new plot complication arises. Suddenly, we’re no longer sure who’s doing what. All we know is that the killings continue.

The theme of this book is the systemic corruption of the political parties in Washington. The town and the way politicians do business is so screwed up, it never will change. The topical problem is the annual budget, and Flynn is dead-on in his assessment that, indeed, nothing changes. And now, we can’t change!

Although it was written in 1996, when our visible national debt was around $5-trillion, the principles at work are even more true today. We now have a $60-trillion debt, and where the book discusses how we “likely” will bankrupt the nation (back then), we now have fulfilled that task. Following the passage of two massive spending “stimulus” packages, the single-party regime of the current administration has ruined the country.

We no longer have an option of reducing spending and paying off our debts. All the money in the world won’t cover what we’ve now spent and promised to spend in the few coming years.

As a conservative caught in a liberal entertainment culture, the plots and solutions offered by most novelists, movie-makers, and other entertainers often leave an unsatisfied taste in the mind. Too many writers are afraid to carry the story logic to its natural conclusion. Not Vince Flynn! His books begin with a premise, carry it through, and lay out what would result.

All the later books build on the original themes. Politicians are destroying the country for the purpose of simply being re-elected. As we know, many current politicians have made not only careers out of Washington, but their entire lives have been centered on accumulating power and wealth. And their view of the military is that we shouldn’t even have a military at all.

Too many books and movies make the FBI out to be bumbling fools. Catherine Coulter has a done a fine job of overcoming that broad impression, demonstrating that the FBI is exceptionally competent. But how many liberals today would agree? It’s much easier to spout brainless slogans, platitudes and to go along with the mind-numbed spin handed to us from Washington and the press.

Nope, it’s really good to finally read some stories that counteract all that reverse thinking. In Flynn’s books, the military and special intelligence departments are competent, patriotic, highly organized, exceptionally trained, and ready to defend the United States. When they do so, things explode, people get killed, lots of stuff gets broken really bad, and there are some kick-ass heroes to root for!

But y’know what’s really scary? In each of the scenarios proposed by Flynn in his novels, the good-guys (America) wins. The politicians are prevented from wrecking things, and the bad-guys are wiped out. In real life though, it’s as if we’re reading the Bizarro reverse of the story. Actual events are so similar to what Flynn is writing, that we can compare the novel to the newspapers.

And the reality is the reverse of what happens in the books! In reality, the politicians win, and continue to get even worse. As such, then God help the United States in the coming years!

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