Vince, I Will Miss You

If you happen to be a reader of suspense novels, then you may have heard of the news from last week.  One week ago today, Vince Flynn passed away from prostate cancer at the young age of 47.  In my mind, the world has lost one of the greatest suspense novelists out there, at least in the past two or so decades, maybe more.

As a writer, I found myself instantly attracted to his style of writing and to the way that he took the serial character of Mitch Rapp and developed him.  During his earlier writings, we readers came to know Mitch and love him throughout the thirteen books that made up the Mitch Rapp series.  We cheered for him as he found the lady love who would become his wife.  We cried for him and maybe fussed at Vince some when he killed her off in a later novel.  And we all were rapt with curiosity when Flynn wrote about the early days when Mitch Rapp was recruited.

As a writer of suspense novels, I found myself drawn to his style and marveled at the way he could keep me enthralled for hours on end.  One of the greatest compliments I hear is, “You kept me up way past my bedtime.”  I certainly said that about all of his novels.  I also liked the way he showed Mitch Rapp’s character development throughout the series.  We saw him fall in love with Anna.  Then grieve for her when she was murdered because of his work.  As a result, Mitch seemed to have a heart of stone–until The Last Man when we saw that heart begin to soften a bit again.  Though I can’t exactly say how his writing has influenced mine, it has.  Very much so.

Who knows if someone will carry forward the Mitch Rapp mantle.  Even if they do, he won’t have the same voice because each writer, when they put words down onto the page, has a unique voice.  Naturally, there will be many unanswered questions.  What would have happened to Mitch?  Would he have fallen in love again?  Maybe had the courage to get married?  Would he have ever met his match?  Or maybe just decided to retire?  And what about his other characters?  What would happen to them?  Maybe we’ll know one day.  Or maybe we’ll have to use our own imaginations to figure it out.

Regardless, I know one thing.  Vince Flynn, I will truly miss you.  I never met you in person, but I felt as if I knew you through your writing.  Thank you for blessing us with 14 great books.  Thank you for sharing with us a character who will endure.  And thank you for inspiring this writer to put her very best on paper.

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