American Assassin
Goodreads ratings
4.23 / 5

"American Assassin" Characters Analysis

By Vince Flynn

thriller | 435 pages | Published in 2010

Mitch Rapp is a gifted college athlete who just wants retribution for the Pan Am Lockerbie attack. He trains six months intensely with other clandestine operatives, under CIA Operations Director Thomas Stansfield and protégé Irene Kennedy, to stop terrorists before they reach America. The assassin leaves a trail of bodies from Istanbul across Europe to Beirut, where he needs every ounce of skill and cunning to survive the war-ravaged city and its deadly terrorist factions.

ISBN_13:9781416595182

Estimated read time: 16 min read

List of Characters

Character NameRole
Mitch RappProtagonist, CIA Operative
Stan HurleyMentor, Former CIA Operative
Irene KennedyCIA Deputy Director
GhostAntagonist, Terrorist Leader
AnnikaLove Interest, European Spy
Thomas StansfieldCIA Director
VictorCIA Operative, Mitch's Colleague

Role Identification

In "American Assassin" by Vince Flynn, the characters play various roles that drive the plot forward. Mitch Rapp is the protagonist and a CIA operative, tasked with hunting down terrorists. Stan Hurley, a former CIA operative, serves as Mitch's mentor. Irene Kennedy is the CIA Deputy Director, providing guidance and support to Mitch. Ghost, the antagonist, is a ruthless terrorist leader who becomes Mitch's primary target. Annika, a European spy, becomes Mitch's love interest. Thomas Stansfield is the CIA Director, overseeing the operations. Finally, Victor is a CIA operative and a colleague of Mitch's.

Character Descriptions

Mitch Rapp

Mitch Rapp is the central character in "American Assassin." He is described as a physically imposing individual with a muscular build and intense blue eyes. Rapp is in his mid-twenties and possesses a rugged charm that attracts both admiration and fear from those around him. He is highly skilled in combat and possesses exceptional intelligence, making him a formidable CIA operative.

Stan Hurley

Stan Hurley is a veteran CIA operative who becomes Mitch Rapp's mentor. He is in his fifties, with a grizzled appearance and a no-nonsense attitude. Hurley is known for his tough and unyielding training methods, which he uses to mold Rapp into an even more lethal operative. Despite his hardened exterior, Hurley cares deeply for his trainees and is fiercely loyal to his country.

Irene Kennedy

Irene Kennedy is the CIA Deputy Director in "American Assassin." She is a strong and intelligent woman in her forties, known for her sharp wit and strategic thinking. Kennedy serves as Mitch Rapp's handler and provides him with the necessary intelligence and resources to carry out his missions. She is a key figure in the fight against terrorism and deeply invested in Rapp's success.

Ghost

Ghost is the primary antagonist in the novel. He is a mysterious and elusive terrorist leader who poses a significant threat to national security. Ghost is described as a cunning and ruthless individual who uses his intelligence to stay one step ahead of his pursuers. His true identity remains unknown, adding to his enigmatic and menacing presence throughout the story.

Annika

Annika is a European spy who becomes Mitch Rapp's love interest. She is a skilled operative in her late twenties, with a striking appearance and a quick wit. Annika is fiercely independent and capable, making her an equal partner to Rapp both in and out of the field. Her presence brings a touch of vulnerability and humanity to Rapp's otherwise intense and dangerous world.

Thomas Stansfield

Thomas Stansfield is the CIA Director in "American Assassin." He is a seasoned and respected leader, known for his calm demeanor and strategic decision-making. Stansfield plays a crucial role in guiding Rapp and ensuring that the agency's objectives align with national security interests. Despite his position of authority, Stansfield values Rapp's unique skills and is willing to take calculated risks to achieve success.

Victor

Victor is a CIA operative and a colleague of Mitch Rapp. He is a skilled and experienced field agent who often works alongside Rapp on missions. Victor is depicted as a loyal and trustworthy ally, providing backup and support whenever needed. While not as prominent as Rapp or Hurley, Victor's presence adds depth to the team dynamic and showcases the camaraderie among CIA operatives.

Character Traits

Mitch Rapp

  • Determined: Mitch Rapp demonstrates unwavering determination in his pursuit of justice and his mission to protect his country.
  • Resourceful: Rapp is highly resourceful, often finding creative solutions to complex problems in the field.
  • Skilled: He possesses exceptional combat skills and intelligence, making him a formidable asset to the CIA.
  • Impulsive: Rapp's impulsive nature sometimes leads him to take risks without considering the potential consequences.
  • Focused: When Rapp sets his sights on a target, he remains laser-focused until the mission is complete.

Stan Hurley

  • Tough: Hurley is known for his tough training methods and his ability to handle demanding situations with ease.
  • Experienced: He brings years of experience as a CIA operative, providing valuable insights and guidance to Rapp.
  • Disciplined: Hurley maintains a strict sense of discipline, both in his personal life and in his training of operatives.
  • Pragmatic: He approaches situations with a practical mindset, prioritizing results over sentimentality.
  • Protective: Hurley is fiercely protective of his trainees, viewing them as an extension of his own family.

Irene Kennedy

  • Intelligent: Irene Kennedy is highly intelligent, with a keen understanding of geopolitical dynamics and intelligence operations.
  • Strategic: She excels in strategic thinking and is often the mastermind behind Rapp's missions.
  • Composed: Kennedy remains composed and level-headed, even in high-pressure situations.
  • Calculating: She carefully weighs the risks and benefits of each decision, ensuring the best possible outcome.
  • Loyal: Kennedy is fiercely loyal to her country and to the operatives under her command.

Ghost

  • Elusive: Ghost maintains a low profile and is difficult to track, leaving behind minimal evidence of his activities.
  • Intelligent: He possesses a high level of intelligence, allowing him to outsmart his pursuers and stay one step ahead.
  • Ruthless: Ghost shows no mercy in his pursuit of his goals, resorting to extreme measures to achieve them.
  • Manipulative: He uses manipulation and deceit to further his agenda and confuse his adversaries.
  • Calculated: Ghost's actions are carefully calculated, minimizing the risk of exposure and maximizing the impact of his attacks.

Annika

  • Independent: Annika is fiercely independent and capable, often taking charge of her own missions.
  • Resourceful: She exhibits resourcefulness in challenging situations, finding innovative solutions to overcome obstacles.
  • Confident: Annika exudes confidence in her abilities, never doubting her skills as a spy.
  • Caring: Despite her tough exterior, Annika genuinely cares for Rapp and supports him emotionally.
  • Adventurous: She embraces the thrill of espionage and willingly engages in high-risk operations.

Thomas Stansfield

  • Wise: Stansfield's wisdom and experience guide his decision-making, ensuring the best course of action for the agency.
  • Prudent: He exercises caution and prudence when considering the potential risks and consequences of operations.
  • Patient: Stansfield understands the importance of patience and long-term planning in the fight against terrorism.
  • Decisive: When faced with critical decisions, he exhibits decisiveness and takes a firm stand.
  • Trusting: Stansfield places his trust in Rapp's abilities, allowing him the autonomy to carry out missions as he sees fit.

Victor

  • Reliable: Victor is a reliable and trusted colleague, always there to provide support when needed.
  • Skilled: He possesses a similar level of skill and expertise as Rapp, making him a valuable asset in the field.
  • Loyal: Victor is fiercely loyal to his colleagues and the mission, willing to put himself in harm's way to achieve success.
  • Analytical: He has a keen eye for detail and is skilled at analyzing complex situations to identify the best course of action.
  • Team player: Victor understands the importance of teamwork and collaboration, seamlessly integrating with the CIA's operations.

Character Background

Mitch Rapp

Mitch Rapp's background in "American Assassin" reveals that he had a traumatic childhood, losing his parents in a car accident at a young age. This tragedy fuels his desire for justice and motivates him to join the CIA. Rapp's exceptional physical and intellectual capabilities make him an ideal candidate for covert operations. His dedication to his country and his unwavering determination to hunt down terrorists drive him to become one of the agency's most effective operatives.

Stan Hurley

Stan Hurley's background as a CIA operative spans several decades. He has undertaken numerous high-risk missions and has faced personal tragedies along the way. Hurley's experience and expertise make him an invaluable asset to the CIA. His training methods are a result of his own challenging experiences in the field. Hurley's commitment to protecting his country is deeply rooted in his personal history, giving him a unique perspective on the importance of national security.

Irene Kennedy

Irene Kennedy's background in "American Assassin" reveals that she rose through the ranks of the CIA with her sharp intellect and strategic thinking. Her commitment to national security and her dedication to her work have earned her the respect of her colleagues. Kennedy's background in intelligence analysis and her ability to navigate complex geopolitical landscapes make her an indispensable asset to the agency.

Ghost

Ghost's true background remains shrouded in mystery throughout the novel. His origins are unknown, and his real identity is never revealed. This anonymity adds to his enigmatic and menacing presence. Ghost's extensive knowledge of intelligence operations and his ability to exploit vulnerabilities in security systems suggest a background in espionage or military training. His motivations for terrorism are rooted in a desire to destabilize governments and instill fear in the hearts of his enemies.

Annika

Annika's background as a European spy is shrouded in secrecy. Her training and experience in espionage have honed her skills as a highly effective operative. Although her specific background is not explored in great detail, it is evident that she possesses a wealth of knowledge in intelligence gathering and covert operations. Annika's commitment to her mission and her ability to seamlessly integrate into different environments make her a valuable asset to the European intelligence community.

Thomas Stansfield

Thomas Stansfield's background in "American Assassin" reveals that he has dedicated his life to the CIA, rising through the ranks to become the Director. His extensive experience and knowledge of intelligence operations have earned him the respect and trust of his colleagues. Stansfield's background in strategic planning and his ability to make tough decisions have established him as a key figure in the fight against terrorism.

Victor

Victor's background as a CIA operative is not explored in great detail in "American Assassin." However, his presence as a trusted colleague and skilled field agent suggests a background similar to that of Mitch Rapp. Like Rapp, Victor possesses exceptional combat skills and intelligence, making him an asset to the agency.

Character Arcs

Mitch Rapp

Mitch Rapp's character arc in "American Assassin" is one of transformation and growth. At the beginning of the novel, Rapp is driven by vengeance and a desire to make the terrorists pay for their actions. However, as he undergoes intense training with Stan Hurley and gains a deeper understanding of the complexities of the intelligence world, Rapp begins to evolve. He becomes more strategic in his approach, learning to balance his impulsive nature with calculated decision-making. Rapp's arc also involves reconciling his past trauma and finding a sense of purpose beyond revenge.

Stan Hurley

Stan Hurley's character arc in "American Assassin" centers around his role as a mentor. At the start of the novel, Hurley is skeptical of Rapp's potential and is initially resistant to training him. However, as he witnesses Rapp's determination and skill, Hurley begins to see the young operative's potential. Throughout the story, Hurley's arc involves imparting his knowledge and expertise to Rapp, guiding him in his development as a CIA operative. Hurley's arc also explores his growth as a mentor, learning to balance toughness with compassion.

Irene Kennedy

Irene Kennedy's character arc in "American Assassin" revolves around her role as a leader. As the Deputy Director of the CIA, Kennedy faces numerous challenges and must navigate complex political dynamics. Her arc involves making difficult decisions and learning to trust her instincts. Kennedy's growth also lies in her ability to empower her operatives and provide them with the support they need to succeed. Throughout the story, she becomes more confident in her leadership abilities and more adept at managing the agency's resources effectively.

Ghost

Ghost's character arc in "American Assassin" is one of mystery and intrigue. His true identity is never revealed, and his motivations for terrorism remain largely unknown. However, his arc involves staying one step ahead of his pursuers and executing his plans with precision. Ghost's growth lies in his ability to adapt to changing circumstances and exploit weaknesses in his adversaries' strategies. Throughout the story, he becomes more brazen and audacious in his attacks, challenging the CIA's ability to stop him.

Annika

Annika's character arc in "American Assassin" is primarily centered around her relationship with Mitch Rapp. Initially, she is depicted as a skilled and independent European spy. However, as her connection with Rapp deepens, Annika's vulnerability becomes more apparent. Her arc involves balancing her personal feelings for Rapp with her commitment to her mission. Annika's growth lies in her ability to navigate the complexities of a romantic relationship while maintaining her professionalism and effectiveness as a spy.

Thomas Stansfield

Thomas Stansfield's character arc in "American Assassin" is one of leadership and trust. As the CIA Director, Stansfield faces numerous challenges and must make crucial decisions to protect national security. His arc involves learning to trust Rapp's unique skills and granting him the autonomy to carry out missions. Stansfield's growth lies in his ability to balance caution with calculated risks, understanding that Rapp's unorthodox methods can yield positive results. Throughout the story, he becomes more willing to take bold action and embrace innovative approaches to counterterrorism.

Victor

Victor's character arc in "American Assassin" is more subtle compared to other characters. As a trusted colleague of Mitch Rapp, his arc involves providing consistent support and backup during missions. While Victor's growth is not as pronounced as Rapp's, his loyalty and reliability make him an integral part of Rapp's journey. Throughout the story, he becomes more skilled and experienced, further establishing himself as a capable CIA operative.

Relationships

Mitch Rapp and Stan Hurley

Mitch Rapp and Stan Hurley share a complex mentor-student relationship in "American Assassin." Initially, Hurley is reluctant to train Rapp, viewing him as an undisciplined liability. However, as Rapp proves his worth through determination and skill, Hurley develops a grudging respect for his protégé. Their relationship evolves into one of mutual trust and understanding, with Hurley imparting his knowledge and experience to Rapp. Hurley's tough love approach challenges Rapp to push his limits and become an even more effective operative.

Mitch Rapp and Irene Kennedy

Mitch Rapp and Irene Kennedy have a professional relationship in "American Assassin." Kennedy serves as Rapp's handler and provides him with the necessary intelligence and resources for his missions. While their interactions are primarily business-focused, there is a sense of mutual respect and trust between them. Rapp often seeks Kennedy's guidance and values her strategic thinking. Kennedy, in turn, recognizes Rapp's unique skills and relies on him to carry out critical operations.

Mitch Rapp and Ghost

Mitch Rapp and Ghost share an adversarial relationship in "American Assassin." Rapp becomes obsessed with hunting down Ghost, viewing him as the embodiment of evil. Their encounters are marked by intense confrontations and a battle of wits. Ghost, on the other hand, sees Rapp as a formidable adversary and takes pleasure in staying one step ahead of him. Their relationship is defined by a cat-and-mouse dynamic, with each character constantly trying to outsmart the other.

Mitch Rapp and Annika

Mitch Rapp and Annika develop a romantic relationship in "American Assassin." Their initial connection is based on shared experiences as spies, but it quickly evolves into a deeper emotional bond. Rapp finds solace and understanding in Annika, who provides a sense of normalcy in his dangerous world. Their relationship is marked by trust, support, and a shared understanding of the risks involved in their line of work.

Mitch Rapp and Thomas Stansfield

Mitch Rapp and Thomas Stansfield have a professional relationship in "American Assassin." Stansfield serves as the CIA Director and oversees Rapp's missions. While their interactions are limited, Stansfield recognizes Rapp's unique skills and trusts him to handle critical operations. Rapp, in turn, respects Stansfield's position and values his guidance. Their relationship is built on a shared commitment to national security and a mutual understanding of the importance of their roles.

Mitch Rapp and Victor

Mitch Rapp and Victor share a professional friendship in "American Assassin." As colleagues and fellow CIA operatives, they often work together on missions. Victor provides