American Assassin, the 2017 film starring Dylan O’Brien, kicked off with an intense (and emotional) beach scene before launching an in-your-face revenge story reminiscent of Liam Neeson’s Taken.
So if you’re interested in reading the books by Vince Flynn, I don’t blame you.
What’s important to know here is that American Assassin is just one book in the “Mitch Rapp series” – a series made up of 21 books.
But there’s no need to feel overwhelmed.
The books are just as action-packed as the blockbuster movie, so you’ll fly through them if, like me, you love fast-paced espionage thrillers with mystery and action in equal measure.
About The Mitch Rapp Series
The Mitch Rapp series follows Mitch Rapp as he becomes a CIA operative fuelled by revenge.
Vince Flynn wrote the first 13 books before Kyle Mills took over.
As for the chronological order of the story, it does not correspond with the books’ publication dates.
In other words: don’t read the books in the order they were released!
Don’t fret, though, as I’ve done the hard work for you by listing all the Mitch Rapp books in the order you should read them.
Why, you ask? The story’s easier to follow this way and it lets you dive into Mitch Rapp’s journey from the very beginning.
So let’s dive in.
American Assassin Reading Order (Mitch Rapp Series)
American Assassin was the eleventh book in the Mitch Rapp series. Despite that, it’s the one that kicks off Mitch Rapp’s story.
Yep, it follows near enough the same events that happen in the film adaptation – but definitely don’t skip it, as the book fills out Mitch’s character better than the movie does.
- The best place to start the Mitch Rapp series
- The most popular book by Vince Flynn
- Fans of the movie will already know the general plot of the book
In Kill Shot, we pick up one year after Mitch Rapp became a skilled CIA agent.
The Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist group is no more, and Mitch Rapp heads to Paris to track down a new target.
It doesn’t go as planned, though, as Mitch finds himself in deep water.
- Picks up right after American Assassin
- The second-most popular book in the Mitch Rapp series
- Doesn’t top the first book
Transfer of Power introduces another group of terrorists – this time attempting a planned attack on the White House.
Mitch Rapp is called in, and what ensues is an action-packed book of stealth maneuvers and hostage-saving that’s like White House Down – but better.
- The first-ever Mitch Rapp book written by Vince Flynn
- Movie buffs who liked White House Down will enjoy Transfer of Power
Some readers may notice a change in narration style after reading the newer American Assassin and Transfer of Power first
When the CIA catches wind of a German industrialist funding a notorious terrorist, their best bet is Mitch Rapp.
But that’s not all that goes down in The Third Option, as Mitch also finds himself in a high-stakes power struggle on home turf, taking place within the CIA itself.
- Serves up a change of conflict that takes place within the CIA
- Sees Mitch Rapp take on a new terrorist who’s different from the previous books
- Not the most exciting book in the series
Separation of Power is one of my favorites in the series.
It picks up right after The Third Option in which a new CIA director has been appointed – but not without chaos.
A plot to destroy the director and a powerful new leader in the nuclear arms race makes this one a high-octane read from start to finish.
- One of the highest-rated books in the Mitch Rapp series
- Follows directly on from The Third Option
- The Third Option must be read first for the plot to make sense
Mitch Rapp gains global fame and recognition in Executive Power for his efforts against terrorism – but this also puts him in grave danger.
With a large target on his back and a new threat in the form of another equally trained assassin, the stakes have never been higher for Rapp.
- Introduces a new assassin to rival Mitch Rapp’s skills
- Fans of the John Wick movies will enjoy Executive Power
- The ending can be predictable for some readers
Memorial Day takes Mitch Rapp to Afghanistan in light of a potential terrorist attack, yet, as Mitch knows, nothing is ever as it seems and the threat is bigger than the CIA anticipated.
Another page-flipper in the Mitch Rapp series that shows Vince Flynn’s talent for writing political thrillers.
- Sees Mitch Rapp in a new international setting
- One of the most action-packed books in the series
- Features a similar plot to previous books
No kill is without consequences.
And in Consent to Kill, the powerful father of a terrorist killed at the hands of Mitch Rapp looks to get revenge at any cost.
So what does Mitch do when a brand new terrorist group rains chaos down on him?
- Tackles strong themes such as karma, revenge, and justice
- Delivers high-stakes conflict from start to finish
- Features similar plotlines to Executive Power
The country’s leading democratic candidates congregating at a national security conference held out in the open? It can only go wrong.
Act of Treason sees Mitch Rapp tackle an all-out ambush followed by something deeper: shady intelligence pointing to several higher-ups within Washington itself.
- Weaves an engaging mystery centered around corruption
- Has one of the best opening chapters in the series
- Shares some similarities with The Third Option
In the adrenaline-charged Protect and Defend, Mitch Rapp sees to a plan that will bring down a corrupt Iranian government.
It doesn’t work out as expected, though, and Mitch finds himself in deep water with 24 hours to put a stop to total armageddon.
- Offers a fast-paced “ticking bomb” plot
- Delivers one of the most action-packed endings in the series
- Features similar antagonists seen in previous books
Extreme Measures has Mitch Rapp and Mike Nash join forces to take down a new al-Qaeda leader.
At the same time, Mitch Rapp’s and Mike Nash’s controversial methods have come under question at Capitol Hill.
Will the two agents be allowed to get on with the job, or be put on a leash?
- Provides an interesting dynamic between Mitch Rapp and Mike Nash
- Touches on strong themes such as morality and freedom
- The antagonists are not as compelling as other books
Three al-Qaeda terrorists at large, new counterterrorism operatives getting in the way, and Mike Nash reaching his ultimate limits – it all goes down in Pursuit of Honor, with Mitch Rapp once again having to push the boundaries of morality to find a way out.
- Continues the working relationship between Mitch and Mike that started in Extreme Measures
- Features multiple different antagonists
- Touches on similar themes covered in Extreme Measures
The Last Man, the last Mitch Rapp novel written by Vince Flynn, sends Mitch Rapp to Afghanistan to track down a lost colleague, Joe Rickman.
Deep in enemy territory with threats coming from all angles, Mitch Rapp faces his biggest challenge yet.
- Offers action and mystery in equal parts
- Introduces a new character, Joe Rickman
- The last Mitch Rapp book written by Vince Flynn
The Survivor is the first Mitch Rapp novel in the series written by Kyle Mills.
Joe Rickman has betrayed the CIA and it’s up to Mitch Rapp to bring him to justice.
But Joe Rickman has made preparations far beyond what Mitch Rapp expected. Another one of my favorites in the series.
- Kyle Mills’ first entry does justice to the Mitch Rapp series
- Picks up right after the events in The Last Man
- The Last Man must be read first for The Survivor to make sense
Mitch Rapp doesn’t like to waste time.
But false leads to Pakistani nukes send him on a wild goose chase with the clock ticking in the background.
Together with Scott Coleman, Mitch Rapp goes on to uncover a terrorist plot that’s bigger than what he thought.
- One of the most action-packed books in the series
- Sees Mitch Rapp travel to various international locations
- Scott Coleman, as a character, isn’t as interesting as Mike Nash
There are new wealthy Saudis on the block funding ISIS, and the CIA wants Mitch Rapp to take them out – but all on his own with no help.
Fed up, Mitch Rapp quits the CIA—for the first time in the series—and, in usual fashion, does things his own way.
- Showcases a new dynamic between Mitch Rapp and the CIA
- Contains the best Mitch Rapp action scenes in the book series so far
- Some readers might question the realisticness of the plot
Red War takes Mitch Rapp to Russia when the Russian president decides to wreak global havoc after being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
He has nothing to lose – but so does Mitch Rapp. Arguably one of the most thrilling books in the series.
- Introduces a new villain with a new cause
- One of the most thrilling page-turners in the series
- Some readers may question the motives of the main antagonist
Nothing’s more lethal than bioterrorism – which is exactly what Mitch Rapp is up against in Lethal Agent.
Diversions and false leads, risky infiltrations, and the whole world hanging in the balance, Mitch has his work cut out for him in Kyle Mills’ fifth book for the series.
- Sees Mitch Rapp take on bioterrorism in the first time in the series
- Has one of the most exciting plots in the series
- Contains similar scenes seen in previous books
Things don’t look good for Mitch Rapp, or the U.S. in general, when a top ISIS techy reveals a plot to bring down America’s power grid.
With a country in darkness and chaos on the rise, Mitch Rapp’s only lead is the those who caused it: ISIS.
- Delivers a high-stakes plot that sees the U.S. plunged in darkness
- Weaves a great mystery starting from the second act
- The motives of the antagonists are not as compelling as previous books
In Enemy at the Gates, Mitch Rapp is assigned to protect the life of the world’s first trillionaire, Nicholas Ward.
But he’s not just given the task to protect him; he also must use him as bait to locate a new threat who possesses fragile government information.
- Gives Rapp a new challenge with conflict that’s unique to the series
- Nicholas Ward is one of Kyle Mills’ most interesting characters
- Some readers may find the ending predictable
Oath of Loyalty is the most recent book in the Mitch Rapp series, which sees Mitch Rapp ostracized from the U.S. with a new threat to overcome: Legion – a mysterious assassin who’s out to get Mitch Rapp’s partner, Claudia Gould.
- The most recent book in the Mitch Rapp series
- Introduces two new compelling characters
- Features plotlines reminiscent of Executive Power
And there you have it: every book in the American Assassin series in the order you should read them – the order that tells Mitch Rapp’s story chronologically.
Nothing’s stopping you from reading the books by their publication date, but expect time jumps as some of the newer Mitch Rapp books (American Assassin and Kill Shot) take place before the older books.
Either way, the Mitch Rapp series is a high-octane ride packed with action, conflict, and high stakes.
And if you love crime books, spy books, thrillers, or pretty much anything by Ian Fleming and Tom Clancy, then the Mitch Rapp series will be right up your alley.
Just remember: even if you’ve watched the blockbuster movie adaptation, American Assassin is still worth reading!
Frequently Asked Questions
Should You Read The American Assassin Books In Order?
It’s best to read the Mitch Rapp books in order as the published order doesn’t tell the story chronologically. The first book that kicks off the story is American Assassin.
What’s The Best Book In The Mitch Rapp Series?
American Assassin, the first novel in the Mitch Rapp series (also adapted for film), is the most popular book because it starts Mitch Rapp’s story as a CIA counter-terrorist operator.