The Last Man - Vince Flynn

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

TO my agent and friend Sloan Harris, for another smooth contract negotiation; you always come through. To Kristyn Keene at ICM, congrats on your promotion, and to Shira Schindel, who will be taking over for everyone’s favorite assistant. To Chris Silbermann, for a stellar job negotiating the extension with CBS Films. To Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler, for inching the movie ever closer to reality. I wish I had your patience. To Rob Richer, who continues to enlighten me on espionage, terrorism, and geopolitics. You truly are one of the good guys.

To my editor and publisher Emily Bestler, thank you for fifteen years of a great partnership and more to come. To Kate Cetrulo and Caroline Porter at Emily Bestler Books, for taking care of all the details I miss and gently reminding me that I need to hand in my homework. To Jeanne Lee, you never disappoint. Thanks for another great cover. To Al Madocs, my goal is that one of these years I will not have to put you in the acknowledgments, but for now, I’m sorry, yet again, for putting you through the wringer. To David Brown, of all the people I work with, no one makes me laugh more. You are a joy to work with, and so is Ariele Fredman, who we all know really runs the department. To Judith Curr and Louise Burke, thank you for all your continued support. To Carolyn Reidy, for one of the smoothest, most business-minded contract negotiations that I have ever been involved in. It is an honor to still be part of the Simon & Schuster family after fifteen years.

Thanks to a lot of prayers and great medical care, I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in years. To all the friends and family in the Twin Cities and beyond who have continued to support my family through prayers, well wishes, and great kindness, I am humbled. To Dr. Bill Utz and Dr. Eugene Kwon and the amazing people you work with—cancer sucks, but somehow you make the journey enjoyable. To Dr. Douglas Olson, my radiologist, you are in my prayers every day. To my friend Dr. Mike Nanne, I am in awe of your courage. To Misty Mills, Paul Hesli, Leslie Vadnais, Jodi Bakkegard, and Cristine Suihkonen, for all that you do for my family.

To my darling wife, Lysa, who has always been wise beyond her years, thank you for giving me some of that wisdom when I really needed it. Now if I could just get some of that grace from you, I’d really have things moving in the right direction. You are my favorite thing about life.

CHAPTER 1

JALALABAD, AFGHANISTAN

THE four dead men were lined up on the living room floor of the safe house. Mitch Rapp started with the one on the left. The bearded face, the dark, lifeless eyes, and the dime-sized bullet hole that marked the center of the man’s forehead were all expected. One bullet, nice and neat—the way Rapp would have done it. The next two bodyguards looked the same, including red pucker marks in the center of their brows. The fourth Afghani was a different story. He’d been shot through the back of the head. A quarter of his face was now a jagged crater of flesh, blood, and bone. The exit wound told him the man had been shot by something a lot bigger than a 9mm—probably a .45 caliber with ammunition that pancaked and tumbled for maximum damage. There was nothing about this mess to give Rapp any assurance that things would be fine, but this last little twist