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Vince Flynn, with Gratitude and Remembrance

Among the authors of our time, there are a number of marvelous storytellers. But  there has been only one whose next books I have not only looked forward to, but have ordered months in advance, without fail -- blocking out time to read them cover to cover upon arrival.

That author was Vince Flynn, who died Wednesday at the age of 47. For most readers of PJ Media, he probably needs no introduction. His books sold 15 million copies. He wrote thrillers, 14 of them, all but one starring the scarred but indomitable Mitch Rapp, a CIA assassin with the talents to save the free world, and the skills to disappear into the crowd.

Flynn knew how to write a great page-turner, but there are a lot of thrillers that deliver that kind of suspense. What made his books so particularly gratifying was that again and again, his leading man, Mitch Rapp, delivered justice. Rough justice, to be sure. But in a world full of outrageous wrongs -- from terrorist plots to self-serving Washington officials blind to real dangers -- Rapp took them on, and to the best of his astounding abilities, set things right. The truly evil, he killed. The hypocritical he ensnared. He had no patience at all for fools, bureaucrats and crooked politicians. But to innocents, to decent men, he was kind. To his comrades in arms, he was faithful. He was a class act. The Cold War had James Bond. In tune with very different times -- more cold beer than shaken martini -- the War on Terror has Mitch Rapp.

Flynn's fiction delivered such gratifying scenes as the sabotage of an underground Iranian nuclear reactor (which takes place while a Hezbollah master terrorist is touring the facility). In one tale, Rapp saves the craven politicians of Washington from a nuclear bomb by stuffing it at the last minute into a bunker under Mount Weather. In another, he is richly vindicated when a senator who persecutes and stymies him at every turn is ultimately caught in a terrorist attack and must depend on Rapp to save her life.