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Picking up where the dead leave off: this week on The Green Room

Best-selling author Kyle Mills has become famous for continuing the book series' of dead writers. He'll be in Traverse City November 4, for the National Writers Series.
Kyle Mills

Kyle Mills is a best-selling author with over a dozen books to his name.But oftentimes, his name on those books is overshadowed by the names of other authors. 

Dead authors. 

“It’s kind of an interesting job, that I’ve accidentally fallen into,” says Mills. “I feel like sometimes I’m becoming the world’s foremost book forger.”

Mills has gotten a lot of attention for continuing the book series for authors Robert Ludlum and Vince Flynn, who both have passed away.

Ludlum penned many books, including the Jason Bourne trilogy. Vince Flynn was known for creating a similar thriller series, centered around the character Mitch Rapp.


Kyle Mills' most recent book, 'Order to Kill.' Oftentimes, his name on the book cover is overshadowed by the names of dead authors.
Credit kylemills.com
Kyle Mills' most recent book, 'Order to Kill.' Oftentimes, his name on the book cover is overshadowed by the names of dead authors.

Earlier this month, Kyle Mill’s second book in Vince Flynn’s series came out. It’s titled, Order to Kill. Mills says it was scary to continue the work of such a popular author. He did some soul-searching before agreeing to take on the series. 

“It could have gone pretty wrong,” he says. “The key was that people would be rooting for it.”

Mills wanted to move the character forward without seeming like he was usurping Flynn, or changing the character that fans had come to know and love. 

“The fact that I was so careful to color within the lines, and to make sure that it seemed as much like a book that Vince had written as possible,” Mills says, “People couldn’t really tell too much the difference.” 

Mills says people loved Vince Flynn, but they also loved who he created— Mitch Rapp. When Flynn passed away in 2013, his fans didn’t want to see the character he created, die with him.

Kyle Mills was one of those fans. When he agreed to continue writing the series, he went back and re-read the 13 books written in the series— all 6,512 pages. Mills says he took about 140 pages of notes on everything that had happened in the series.

“I wanted to stay really true to that universe and Vince’s style,” he says. “He had millions of really rabid fans, and it’s kind of a situation of, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’” 

Mitch Rapp is a CIA operative who deals primarily with Middle Eastern terrorism. In Order to Kill, Rapp deals with Russia and ISIS. Two players that Mills says have somewhat recently emerged on the world stage. He says it was his way of moving the series forward.

“That’s what makes thrillers fun, is they feel like something that could happen sort of in the here and now.”

Kyle Mills grew up around the intelligence community. His dad was an FBI agent, and so he was constantly surrounded by interesting characters with incredible stories. Eventually, he thought, “I have all this stuff in my head, it’d be fun to get it down on paper.”

From a fan’s perspective, Kyle Mills hopes to continue the Mitch Rapp series for a long time. He wants the opportunity to continue to develop Rapp for the current issues facing our world today. 

“I think there’s a lot left in this series and left in this character to explore,” he says. 

Kyle Mills will be in Traverse City, November 4, for the National Writers Series. For tickets and more information click here.

Dan Wanschura is the Host and Executive Producer of Points North.