Green Room

RIP, Vince Flynn

posted at 9:36 am on June 20, 2013 by

The terrible news came yesterday:

Best-selling author Vince Flynn, who wrote the Mitch Rapp counterterrorism thriller series and sold more than 15 million books in the U.S. alone, died Wednesday in Minnesota after a more than two-year battle with prostate cancer, according to friends and his publisher. He was 47. Flynn was supporting himself by bartending when he self-published his first novel, “Term Limits,” in 1997 after getting more than 60 rejection letters. After it became a local best-seller, Pocket Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint, signed him to a two-book deal — and “Term Limits” became a New York Times best-seller in paperback. The St. Paul-based author also sold millions of books in the international market and averaged about a book a year, most of them focused on Rapp, a CIA counterterrorism operative. His 14th novel, “The Last Man,” was published last year…Flynn died at a hospital in St. Paul, surrounded by about 35 relatives and friends who prayed the Rosary, said longtime family friend Kathy Schneeman. She said his deep Catholic faith was an important part of his character. “That’s what he would have liked. He talks about his faith just as much as he would talk about politics and current events with our group of friends,” Schneeman said…Flynn is survived by his wife, Lysa Flynn, and three children.

A remarkable American success story cut tragically short.  On last night’s Hugh Hewitt Show, Mary Katharine and I interviewed Flynn’s fellow thriller novelist, Brad Thor, who offered an upbeat yet moving tribute to his departed friend.  An excerpt:

GB: Brad, talk about your relationship with Vince. How did you get to know him? And how did you two interact as sort of friendly rivals?

BT: Well, Vince was fantastic. When I wrote my first book, Vince was the first blurb that I got. I mean, not only that, but when I was looking for my agent, I had been introduced to Vince through a friend in the publishing industry, and Vince said you know what? Why don’t you talk to my agent? I mean, people are so protective of their turf, and yet here’s a guy who said yeah, we’ll throw the doors wide open. You know, you’re starting out. I remember what it was like when I was starting, and if I can help you, let me do it. So I mean, just generous to a fault, this guy. But you never saw a frown on his face, always very, very happy, very funny guy. You know, the last time I can remember seeing him on TV is he was doing press for The Last Man, his last book. And I remember seeing him on Imus. And Imus said you look fantastic, and he says well, I’m not going through chemo, I’m going through radiation. You know, people expect you to look terrible, and he looked great. And he was so positive that he was going to beat this. And it’s just, it’s stunning to hear this.

MKH: Yeah, such a sad loss, and really, I’m learning a few things I didn’t know before. I had known his name and of his books, but learning about a pretty amazing way to start in the fiction writing business, which is just to say I’m going to give this a shot, and when I get rejected a bunch of times, I’m going to self-publish. That’s a pretty cool way to go about doing things, sort of an inspiring story of breaking into the business.

BT: And May Katharine, that’s before you had all the self-publishing people that you do now.

MKH: Right.

BT: I mean, this guy…

MKH: ‘97

BT: Yes, it’s like the Grisham story of going from bookstore to bookstore to bookstore in his own hometown saying will you take this book? Will you stock it? But that’s the kind of guy he was. I mean, this is a true American success story, because he’d wanted to be a Marine, and he couldn’t do it because he got medically DQ’d, and so here’s this fantastic guy that says I’m going to go after my dream, and I’m going to get it, and he did. God bless him. If this is what was in the cards, and if this was God’s plan for Vince, how fortunate is he to have captured his dream and to have gone after it as opposed to being 47 years old in a job he hated saying boy, I wish I’d only tried to write a book? How much better are we, the people who love his writing, and the people he touched because of his successful career, that he went after his dream?

The full transcript is available here.  RIP.

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I enjoyed a couple of his books. (Not as tightly plotted as some other books I’ve read, but absorbing writing.)


GWB on June 20, 2013 at 10:02 AM

I will miss his writing. It was nice to read NYT best-sellers and not be insulted for holding conservative and Christian beliefs. May God bless and keep his family.

NebCon on June 20, 2013 at 11:31 AM

From a guy who did get to be a Marine aviator, Vince you could have been my wingman. I read and enjoyed all your books. You were great. Rest in peace.
Semper Fi

L. E. Light on June 20, 2013 at 11:47 AM

Very sad to hear this. Vince was my favorite author, I read all his books, stayed up late many nights doing so.

He created a great character in Mitch Rapp.

Vince clearly understood the dangerous threats we face. Did a great job exposing the inept and self serving bureaucracies in DC. It was great that Rapp had no patience for the typical BS and would tell off these self serving wimps as only he could.

Vince would have liberal Democrats who mocked Rapp only to be saved by Rapp to see the error of their ways.

One of his books about the specifics of White House security that he agreed to edit it for national security.

I truly enjoyed Vinces work and am deeply saddned to hear of his passing.

RIP Vince.

LevinFan on June 20, 2013 at 11:54 AM

I was so sad to hear this news. My dad introduced Vince Flynn books to me 7 years ago, and I’ve read every book since then. VF will be sorely missed.

conservative pilgrim on June 20, 2013 at 12:52 PM

I’ll admit that I haven’t read any of his books but Rush’s eulogy to him yesterday was touching. Vince Flynn sounded like a wonderful man as well as a great author.

Fallon on June 20, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Vince’s last book, The Survivor, is due to be released this October.

Also, a movie based on American Assassin is scheduled to be done with Bruce Willis playing Stan Hurley (Mitch Rapp’s mentor).

Sometimes life isn’t fair. We have pieces of trash like Russell Brand and Jay Z running around while we lose Vince way too soon.

But Vince was never bitter and got to fulfill his dream of being a highly successful writer.

LevinFan on June 20, 2013 at 1:14 PM

A great author, but seemingly an even better man. God bless him and his family.

hollygolightly on June 20, 2013 at 2:41 PM

I’ve loved every one of his books. Great plots, great characters. Nice to read both an author (Flynn) and a character (Rapp) who have clarity on good vs evil, right vs wrong.

RIP Mr. Flynn.

SoRight on June 20, 2013 at 2:42 PM

I can’t believe he got 60 letters of rejection for Term Limits. It doesn’t read like a first novel at all. The publishers must have been scared about the concept of the entire plot and the character who was quite obviously Ted Kennedy.

I enjoyed his books, and LevinFan on June 20, 2013 at 11:54 AM is right. Flynn pulled no punches on the inept and self-centered bureaucrats in D.C. That was a theme throughout his work. He really did write truth to power.

I will miss him. Prayers for his family.

INC on June 20, 2013 at 2:44 PM

I didn’t like Term Limits actually. I own all his books but will never re-read that one. His writing got better over time and he became better at giving a truly fulfilling climax after a strong build.

I’ll miss him. After Tom Clancy’s strong run ended Flynn’s stuff, though never as deeply plotted or intricate as Clancy’s books were, was the best thriller material out there. And more importantly it wasn’t just thrilling but it mattered, and he understood the real world scenarios and consequences we were facing.

Thanks for fighting the good fight, Vince. Prayers for your family and friends.

PS. I wonder if he had any other books already in the can that still have yet to be released.

MikeknaJ on June 20, 2013 at 3:09 PM

I enjoyed his books, and LevinFan on June 20, 2013 at 11:54 AM is right. Flynn pulled no punches on the inept and self-centered bureaucrats in D.C. That was a theme throughout his work. He really did write truth to power.

I will miss him. Prayers for his family.

INC on June 20, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Exactly. Pulling no punches is why I like Mitch Rapp better than Jack Reacher or Scott Harvath.

Flynn’s last book, The Survival, I believe is supposed to come out this fall.

Also, it is planned for a movie of American Assassin to be made with Bruce Willis playing the surly Stan Hurley.

Hopefully both of these things still happen.

LevinFan on June 20, 2013 at 3:26 PM

RIP Mr. Flynn.

INC on June 20, 2013 at 2:44 PM

They’re all looking for the next Twilight or Harry Potter. If you get to far afield of what’s currently hot, forget it. I’ve been through this myself.

Also, we have to face the fact that most of the agents and publishers are rabid liberals, who are absolute literary geniuses!

dogsoldier on June 20, 2013 at 3:30 PM

One of the good guys .
Not too many of those left .
RIP and many prayers for your family .

Lucano on June 20, 2013 at 3:35 PM

A great loss for those who enjoy action adventure books and men being men in them.

LincolntheHun on June 20, 2013 at 5:32 PM

Eternal rest grant unto him,
May perpetual light shine upon him,
May he rest in peace.

talking_mouse on June 20, 2013 at 5:36 PM

RIP Mr. Flynn

I enjoy your books, much more than the pseudo-nice guy, James Gandolfini, who called Glenn Beck the Devil in front of Glenn’s children.

ErnstBlofeld on June 20, 2013 at 7:35 PM

Very sad. Loved his writing and have them all. Prayers for his family.

sgtstogie on June 20, 2013 at 7:35 PM

I have all his paperback releases, but Term Limits was my favorite. The premise was fantastic.

talkingpoints on June 20, 2013 at 9:52 PM

I read several of his books after I saw a long interview of him by Glenn Beck. He seemed like a terrific guy. I was really hoping he’d beat his disease. I really hate cancer.

juliesa on June 21, 2013 at 9:02 AM

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