Writer Kyle Mills had an unenviable task: continue the work of Vince Flynn, a popular Minnesota-born novelist who died of cancer more than two years ago, and stay true to his style.
The fruit of that labor, "The Survivor" – a new espionage thriller starring Flynn's longtime "Mitch Rapp" character – is out this week.
The new book is also the subject of a release event at the late author's alma mater, St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights, on Tuesday at 7 p.m, according to the school. Tickets are available online, and start at $50.
Mills, himself a New York Times best-selling author, had little to work with when given the assignment of finishing the novel. According to the Star Tribune, Flynn usually didn't write plot outlines for his stories, and had only completed about three pages of the book when he died of prostate cancer at the age of 47.
But Mills was a natural choice to take on the role; the Pioneer Press says he's authored 11 of his own thrillers as well as two books in Robert Ludlum's "Covert-One" series.
Despite his vast experience, he approached the project with "mixed fear and trepidation," he told the paper.
In an interview with the Star Tribune, Mills said he "spent months studying Vince’s style in hopes of duplicating it as faithfully as possible" – which seems to have worked, with many fans having told him "they can't tell where Vince left off and I started."
Remembering Flynn; looking forward
Mills will be on hand at Tuesday night's release event for a panel discussion on Flynn's life and "his legacy to literary fiction," which will also include a number of people who knew the late author well, including his brother, his editor, and his agent, St. Thomas Academy says.
Moderating the panel will be WCCO's Frank Vascellaro.
All attendees, St. Thomas says, will receive an autographed copy of the new book.
And this is likely not the last Mitch Rapp novel he'll autograph; according to the official Vince Flynn website, Mills signed a three-book deal to continue the fictional CIA agent's adventures.
Flynn left behind a wife and children when he succumbed to his illness in June 2013. Thousands paid their respects to him at a funeral service in the Cathedral of St. Paul.