Memorial Day is traditionally a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service, but in Vince Flynn's newest Mitch Rapp novel (Transfer of Power, The Third Option, Separation of Power, etc.), the peaceful May holiday will include much more than morning parades and afternoon barbecues. Memorial Day is the target date for undercover al-Qaeda operatives in the States to detonate a nuclear bomb in the nation's capital during a dedication ceremony for the new WWII memorial. Their target: the president, leaders of Great Britain and Russia, and a few hundred thousand ill-fated infidels.

Counter-terrorism operative Mitch Rapp has one helluva score to settle. A Syracuse University All-American lacrosse player who lost the love of his life in the Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack in 1988, Rapp's thirst for vengeance led him to dedicate his life to fighting terrorism by any means necessary.

Now decades later, Rapp (an amalgam of John Wayne, General George Patton and Dirty Harry) has a potential disaster on his hands. After a clandestine raid on a village on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border nets Rapp some high-ranking al-Qaeda leaders, he learns of a plot to transport a nuclear weapon into the States. But after Rapp takes his shocking findings to his boss, CIA director Irene Kennedy, and later, the president, he finds himself quickly embroiled in political claptrap. As precious hours tick away, self-righteous politicians bicker about how to handle the imminent disaster. Meanwhile, sleeper cells are becoming active and terrorists are converging on Washington, D.C., with a bomb that could turn the nation's capital into a radioactive wasteland. In usual Mitch Rapp fashion, he takes matters into his own hands.

Flynn's protagonist is reminiscent of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan and Dale Brown's Patrick McLanahan: all are extremely intelligent, incredibly focused, unwaveringly patriotic loose cannons that readers can't help but root for. And that essentially describes Memorial Day: a highly intelligent read that is virtually impossible to put down. Paul Goat Allen is a writer in Syracuse, New York.

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