During his lifetime, novelist Vince Flynn created one of the most popular and cutthroat counterterrorism agents in literary history, Mitch Rapp. The character appeared in 15 books, two of which were published after Flynn’s death in 2013; both those novels were written by Kyle Mills.
The Rapp character has finally clawed his way from the page to the big screen, with an adaptation starring Dylan O’Brien and Michael Keaton to be released Sept. 15. A trailer dropped this week.
Flynn was a conservative standout among novelists, always willing to take the very real threat of Middle Eastern terrorism head on. "American Assassin," if adapted faithfully, will make for a very different kind of Hollywood production.
In honor of Flynn's tough-as-nails creation getting the Hollywood treatment, here's a look at five other conservative novels and their right-leaning heroes, who deserve similar blockbuster treatment.
"Hot Springs" (Earl Swagger series). Stephen Hunter was the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic for The Washington Post from 1997 to 2008 by day. By night, he cranked out some of the best action thrillers on the market.
Hunter's writing has reflected a particular affinity for and a knowledge of firearms. His most famous character, Bob Lee Swagger, was the subject of the 2007 movie "Shooter," as well as the USA Network television series of the same name.
Bob Lee Swagger's father, Earl Swagger, was also the subject of three popular novels by Hunter: "Hot Springs," "Pale Horse Coming," and "Havana." Producer Harvey Weinstein ("Django Unchained," "Pulp Fiction") bought the film rights, and Bill Bob Thornton was attached to star at one point; but the project has been dormant since then.
Earl Swagger is a 1940s Arkansas sheriff and World War II veteran who doles out justice without concern for politics. He's an old-school figure of machismo — someone John Wayne would have once been cast to play in a film.
"Hidden Order" (Scot Harvath series). Harvath stars in 16 novels by Brad Thor. The counterterrorism agent often takes on radical Islam — which is largely why Hollywood hasn't brought a film series to fruition from these best-selling novels.
"Hidden Order" is a unique read in that Thor and his central character take on the American government. They specifically go after the corrupt Federal Reserve, long a target of such fiscal conservatives as GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and his father, former Texas congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul.
"The Last Thing I Remember" (Homelander series). Andrew Klavan has written such best-selling adult novels as "Empire of Lies" and "True Crime," adapted into a movie by Clint Eastwood — but Klavan has recently focused much of his attention on young adult fiction.
The "Homelander" series consists of four books and follows the openly Christian Charlie West, who is stuck in the middle of a conspiracy theory without knowing how or why he got there. If Hollywood were ever to show interest, the books would provide a good opportunity to present a faith-based character as a protagonist in an action-packed franchise.
"Atlas Shrugged." Though Ayn Rand's magnum opus was already adapted into three movies, they were independently financed affairs that could never quite live up to the novel's epic scope.
Widely known as the second best-selling book behind the Bible, "Atlas Shrugged" provides an opportunity for filmmakers to present many larger-than-life heroes, who would go on to inspire artists like Zack Snyder ("Batman v Superman," "Watchmen") and Frank Miller ("Sin City," "The Spirit").
The book is not just a takedown of the gangster-like tactics of the government (which have become even more relevant than in 1957); it's a breakdown of individualism and what made great people accomplish things that seemed to defy the limits of humanity.
"Holy Terror." This work took heavy fire when it was first released in 2011; it was conceived as a Batman-centric graphic novel. But Frank Miller ("The Dark Knight Returns," "Sin City") changed both his character and his publisher when he realized how darkly inspired by real events the book was becoming.
Miller, a New Yorker, wrote the book in the wake of 9/11; he targeted al-Qaida through the character of The Fixer. It's a ruthless and fast-paced book that took heat for being Islamophobic. Miller defended the book, saying it reflected the same sort of pro-American stance that Marvel comics published during World War II, when Captain America took on the Nazis.
It's a brutally honest graphic novel that dives into the feelings of fear, anger and revenge American citizens had after the terror attacks of 9/11.
It also made no apologies for the enemy, which may have earned it some hate from more politically correct readers. But the book also gained fans among those who saw America's Sept. 11 attackers as pure evil.