News: Vince Flynn’s MITCH RAPP Series to Continue!

Last September, I wrote a piece about how the movie Olympus Has Fallen bore some incredible similarities to Vince Flynn’s Transfer of Power. The piece was pretty short, but I also mentioned in it the fact that Flynn passed away in June 2013. It was also reported, through Flynn’s newsletter, that the planned next novel in the series, The Survivor, had been indefinitely suspended.

Since then, however, some very interesting news has arrived in my inbox! On June 22nd, Flynn’s Newsletter announced that “Mitch Rapp series will continue; The Survivor Tentatively Scheduled for 2015”!

As it turns out, one of my favourite thriller authors, Kyle Mills, has been selected to continue the series by Flynn’s estate and Emily Bestler, Senior VP and Editor-in-Chief of Emily Bestler Books. From the press release:

Mills will complete The Survivor, the book Flynn was writing at the time of his death on June 19, 2013, and then write two additional Mitch Rapp novels. The Survivor is tentatively scheduled to release in the fall of 2015.

“I’m really honored to have been asked to continue the Mitch Rapp series,” Mills said, “Vince was a great guy who helped me out in my career and as a diehard Rapp fan, I know how devastated his readers are. They’re big shoes to fill, but I’m looking forward to the challenge of continuing an iconic thriller character.”

“Vince and Mitch Rapp are so beloved by readers,” Bestler said, “It’s wonderful that we’ve found just the right partner to uphold the legacy of both.”

“To Vince’s wonderful fans, thank you for your love, support and patience,” Vince’s widow, Lysa Flynn said, “Vince was very proud of his team and we are confident that Kyle Mills will be a great addition. God bless and keep the faith!”

Mills is the author of the Mark Beamon thrillers and a handful of stand-alone thrillers. Most recently, he wrote The Immortalists (which, I am ashamed to admit, I have not read yet) and also The Ares Decision, The Utopia Experiment, and the upcoming The Von Neumann Machine – books 8, 10 and 1? of Tom Clancy’s Covert-One series. Many of Mills’s novels are very hard to find in the UK, which I think is a crime. It is also why it has always taken me a long time to get around to reading them – I discovered his novels well before CR was ever a thing.

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Mark Beamon Series: Rising Phoenix, Storming Heaven, Free Fall, Sphere of Influence and Darkness Falls

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Stand-Alone Novels: Burn Factor, Smoke Screen, Fade, The Second Horseman, Lords of Corruption, The Immortalists

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The Importance of a Super-Hero Diaspora…

That’s a rather grand title. Rather than some deep analysis of why super-heroes should be based and from all over the world, this was just inspired by the fact that a). three super-heroes (at least) have re-located, and b). New York and Gotham have become ridiculously over-populated by super-heroes in Marvel’s and DC’s lines.

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New York City, while I love it, has become rather ridiculous in terms of Marvel’s super-heroes. I remember at least one comic picking up on the fact that you’d have to be a moron to try to be a (super-)villain in the Big Apple, given the sheer saturation-level population of super-powered, tights-wearing do-gooders. There are the ever-expanding Avengers teams and their various off-shoots and allies. Given how often the city is destroyed, one has to wonder why they decided to locate their headquarters right in the middle of America’s most densely-populated metropolis. Thankfully, though, Marvel seems to be doing something to add some variation into the mix. Namely, The Punisher and Daredevil are leaving the city. This last one is particularly noteworthy, given how important Hell’s Kitchen and its surrounding neighbourhoods are to that book’s and hero’s identity – not to mention the rest of the city. As it happens, these have been my two favourite Marvel titles ever since I started reading them (in the same week, as it turned out). Greg Rucka and Mark Waid have done a great job with writing duties, and the artwork for both books has been stunning.

So, here are some details on the moves, both of which are part of the All-New Marvel NOW! Endlessly-Extending Prefixes Strategy…

Punisher-01ATHE PUNISHER: Moving to LA

“Frank Castle’s one-man-war on crime continues… For years, the Punisher has called New York City his home – keeping a watchful eye on the city through the sight of a gun. But when a lead on a major source of drugs, weapons, and more leads Frank out west – he sets his sights on Los Angeles. And the City of Angels isn’t ready for a devil like the Punisher! But not everything is as it appears, and Frank will soon find himself toe-to-toe with a highly trained military strike force known only as the 131! Who are the mysterious 131? And why are they out for the Punisher’s head?”

The new Punisher series was launched in February 2014. Greg Rucka’s relatively short run on the series was absolutely superb (I recently finished it off, thanks to a 99c sale on ComiXology): not only was Rucka’s writing and story gripping and appropriately gritty, but Marco Checcheto’s artwork is stunning. The new series is written by Nathan Edmondson (whose Ultimate Comics: X-Men and The Activity were pretty good). Artwork will be by Mitch Gerads. It’ll be interesting to see how the character adapts to his new environment – although, given that he has travelled abroad before (including in Rucka’s run), it probably won’t be too different. Nevertheless, I really hope Edmondson manages to maintain the quality – it’s a great character, and the extreme shades of grey in which he operates allow for some pretty great/powerful storytelling opportunities.

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Variant Covers for #1 (Larocca) and #2 (Opena)
Palm trees! He still looks miserable, though…

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Daredevil-01ADAREDEVIL: Moving to San Francisco

“Gifted with an imperceptible radar sense, blind lawyer Matt Murdock patrols the streets with a Billy club and a passion for justice. Only this time – it’s a brand new city, with even more dangerous foes. Join Matt Murdock as he journeys from the dark streets of Hell’s Kitchen to the sun-drenched boulevards of San Francisco.”

In March 2014, the Man Without Fear will be relocating to beautiful San Francisco. It’ll be interesting to see how he manages in the new city – his approach to vigilantism has always involved an awful lot of swinging and leaping around New York’s high-rises, so… Yeah. It’ll be interesting to see how his approach changes. (To be fair, I don’t really know much about San Francisco, but I get the impression it’s not too built up…) Mark Waid will continue to handle writing duties, and Chris Samnee will still be producing the artwork. I’m really looking forward tot his re-boot (call it what it is).

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It’s not just Marvel characters, though. Gotham City is home to the extended Bat-Family and ever-extending Rogues’ Gallery that have plagued the Dark Knight on-and-off for decades. Last year, however, Dick “Nightwing” Grayson departed Gotham City for the Windy City in issue #19. Here are some excerpts from CBR’s interview with writer Kyle Higgins on Grayson’s move…

“I made the decision that if Dick was going to change cities, it needed to be story motivated. It couldn’t just be because of emotional fallout and state of mind… He’s heading to Chicago to find the man that killed his parents. As far as he’s concerned, that’s the only reason he’s going and once that’s over, he’ll be heading back to Gotham City. We’ll have to see how the story plays out, as to whether or not that will happen, but as far as Dick is concerned initially, that’s what he’s headed to Chicago for… Chicago has its own mythology and its own history that we’re tapping into and it’s definitely going to be playing a big part in Dick and Nightwing’s life moving forward.”

I’m quite behind on Nightwing, having not read any issues after the end of “Death of the Family”. I’d like to pick it up again, though, at some point.

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Of course, one thing that still needs to be addressed (and there are some signs that this is happening, for which we can only be happy, and hope for continued progress). Let’s hope we get a little more diverse than just re-locating a Justice League team further north into Canada (which, actually, I do think could be rather cool), and explore countries outside North America and the UK as more than just mission destinations…

Upcoming/News: “REVIVAL” and “MR. MERCEDES” by Stephen King (Hodder)

KingStephen-AuthorPicI’m a relative newcomer to Stephen King, but I am certainly a fan of his writing (I’ve read a good amount of his non-fiction already). Last year, I finally read The Shining, and Hodder published its long-awaited sequel, Doctor Sleep. This year, Hodder will be publishing two new novels by King: Mr. Mercedes and Revival.

The latter was just announced on the publisher’s website, so I thought I’d start with that one. Here’s some info:

In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs – including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.

Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of 13, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties – addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate – Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.

Revival is due to be published by Hodder on November 11th, 2014. No artwork has been unveiled, yet (for either of these titles), but I’ll share them when they become available.

The other novel, Mr. Mercedes, will actually be published before Revival (in June 2014). Here’s the synopsis:

Retired homicide detective Bill Hodges is haunted by the few cases he left open, and by one in particular: in the pre-dawn hours, hundreds of desperate unemployed people were lined up for a spot at a job fair in a distressed Midwestern city. Without warning, a lone driver ploughed through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes. Eight people were killed, fifteen wounded. The killer escaped.

Months later, on the other side of the city, Bill Hodges gets a letter in the mail, from a man claiming to be the perpetrator. He taunts Hodges with the notion that he will strike again. Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing that from happening.

Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. And he is indeed preparing to kill again.

Hodges, with a couple of misfit friends, must apprehend the killer in this high-stakes race against time. Because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim hundreds, even thousands.

Mr Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

Upcoming: “The Fell Sword” by Miles Cameron. And Who is Miles Cameron, really…?

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I’ve always found the practice of using pen names rather interesting. The various reasons people resort to using names other than their own, on creative works they have slaved for months or even years over are myriad. It’s particularly interesting to learn when some of your favourite authors have been secretly writing under different names for ages. Today, Gollancz has unveiled the true identity of “Miles Cameron”, the author of The Red Knight and the upcoming The Fell Sword (January 30th): it is none other than Canadian author Christian Cameron, bestselling author of historical fiction, such as the Tyrant , Long War, and Chivalry series. Rather cheekily, Christian has been claiming that “Miles” was his fantasy loving cousin… The scamp.

Cameron-RK2-TheFellSwordUKHere’s some information on The Fell Sword, Cameron’s next novel…

Loyalty costs money.

Betrayal, on the other hand, is free

When the Emperor is taken hostage, the Red Knight and his men find their services in high demand – and themselves surrounded by enemies. The country is in revolt, the capital city is besieged and any victory will be hard won. But The Red Knight has a plan.

The question is, can he negotiate the political, magical, real and romantic battlefields at the same time – especially when intends to be victorious on them all?

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Upcoming: “Stormcaller” by Chris Wraight (Black Library)

Wraight-SW2-StormCallerThe final Upcoming post related to Black Library for a little while, this is for the second in Chris Wraight’s Space Wolves series: Stormcaller. The sequel to Blood of Asaheim (which I really wish I’d had the chance to read by now), I’m really looking forward to it:

As events on the plague-wracked world of Ras Shakeh spin out of control, the Imperium descends upon the world in force. Njal Stormcaller, Space Wolves Rune Priest, arrives to reinforce the embattled Jarnhamar pack, and finds his battle-brothers at one another’s throats, each pursuing their own agendas. Meanwhile, the forces of the Ecclesiarchy arrive to retake their world and uncover the sinister secret behind the world’s corruption, a secret that threatens the survival of the Imperium itself…

One of the first Games Workshop books I ever bought was Codex: Space Wolves. Njal Stormcaller was a pretty prominent special character for Warhammer 40,000 game at that point. Interestingly (at least for me), the first ever issue of White Dwarf, the monthly gaming magazine that Games Workshop publishes, also featured the Space Wolves, as I think they’d just been re-released or something. It was so long ago, I can barely remember the details, expect for the battle report and the fact that Ragnar Blackmane was released that month. Perhaps. This would have been back in 1994/5, I think? [Damn, I’m getting old…] I kind of miss getting the magazine – I always liked looking at the new miniatures and reading the short bits of fiction and background when they were included. (This was before Black Library started, so there wasn’t much Warhammer fiction available at all.)

Stormcaller is due to be published by Black Library in March 2014.

Wraight-BloodOfAsaheimAnd, in case you weren’t aware of it, here’s the synopsis for Blood of Asaheim

The feral warrior-kings of Fenris, the Space Wolves are the sons of Leman Russ. Savage heroes, few can match their ferocity in battle. After half a century apart, Space Wolves Ingvar and Gunnlaugr are reunited. Sent to defend an important shrine world against the plague-ridden Death Guard, the Grey Hunters clash with the pious Sisters of Battle, who see the Space Wolves as little better than the enemy they fight. As enemies close in around them and treachery is revealed, Gunnlaugr and his warriors must hold the defenders together – even as hidden tensions threaten to tear their pack apart.

Blood of Asaheim is out now in Hardcover and eBook.

Horus Heresy Exclusive – Last Chance to Order (Black Library)

Kyme-HH-ScorchedEarthA new Horus Heresy Exclusive, chronicling the aftermath of the Isstvan Dropsite Massacre

Nearly a quarter of a million loyal Space Marines lost their lives on Isstvan V – the Dropsite Massacre lasted only a few hours, and yet the Iron Hands, Raven Guard and Salamanders were slaughtered by those they had once called kin. With the disappearance of their primarch weighing heavily upon their hearts, Ra’stan and Usabius of the XVIIIth Legion leave behind their fellow survivors and strike out into the Urgall Depression. Their mission: to find what, if anything, remains of mighty Vulkan…

I was lucky enough to get an early excerpt of this novella. Not enough to write a full review, but if you were on the fence about it, I can report that Kyme’s firing on all cylinders with this book.

Some of you may have caught my review of Promethean Sun, the author’s first Black Library exclusive (also a Horus Heresy story featuring the Salamanders Legion). I wasn’t as impressed with that as I had hoped to be, and it did make me a little worried about Scorched Earth and Vulkan Lives. My fears have been proven unfounded, however.

In Scorched Earth, Kyme offers a great glimpse at the post-massacre fight for survival on Isstvan, as a pair of Salamanders witness the brutal aftermath of Horus’s treachery. Atmospheric and well-composed, this bodes very well for Vulkan Lives, the author’s first full-length Heresy novel. (I started Vulkan Lives this morning, and so far I am really enjoying it, and it promises to offer something rather different from many of the previous Heresy novels. Review hopefully next week.)

Be sure to order Scorched Earth TODAY!