Monday, November 5, 2012

Good People

I've been reading Vince Flynn's books for easily five years now. I first heard him talking about a new book on Elliot in the Morning and was intrigued. A friend of mine heard the same segment and took the plunge and started buying the books. I borrowed the first one from him and was hooked.

If you aren't familiar, Vince's books are CIA/counter terrorism themed. They are suspenseful, engaging and in many cases frighteningly accurate in terms of similarities between the fictional world of his main character Mitch Rapp and what we hear on the news these days. They also aren't really a genre I generally read much of, but I really really love these books.

Shortly after I started reading the series I mentioned it to my dad as books I thought he'd like. I'm sure my mom started off getting them from the library, as my parents don't buy books as a general rule, but soon my dad was so hooked on the series as well he made it a point to buy all of the books, even ordering hardback copies of some of the older ones from secondhand bookstores online. I don't think he had ever made an online purchase before, but he was determined to have the full collection.

Luckily, that made shopping for him a bit easier for awhile, as I always knew the latest Vince Flynn book would be the perfect Christmas or birthday present.

This summer, while things were still pretty good with my dad's health, he asked when the next Mitch Rapp book was coming out. I checked the website and discovered it was scheduled for release in mid-November.

As the summer wore on my dad started going out less and less, his energy level was pretty low. So he was home all of the time and he was going through books at a pretty good pace. This was also around the time we discovered that his treatment wasn't working and they had to switch to a new, and their last, option.

I decided to try and get an advance copy of the book. Some google sleuthing turned up his publisher's name as well as her Assistant and Associate Editors. A bit more sleuthing and I figured out the email address format for their company, wrote my message and sent it off hoping I'd get a response, but not really expecting it to work.

I also emailed the producer of the Elliot in the Morning radio show, since Vince is a regular guest there, to see if he had any tips on how I could get an advance copy of the new book.

Within 24 hours I had responses from all three people I contacted.


The new book was still being edited so there weren't any ARC's available to send yet, but as soon as one was, I was assured I'd get it. And then a day or so later I got a follow up email - the Editor had shared my note with Vince and he wanted to send an autographed copy of his last book for my dad.

About two weeks later, the ARC of The Last Man arrived in the mail. And within a few days of that, a hardback copy of Kill Shot, with the inscription to the left came as well.

Both such awesome gestures. I couldn't believe my random plea actually worked.

The unfortunate part is that cancer sucks and the books came too late. While it was only a few weeks, from when my dad was relatively healthy and reading 3-4 books a week, waiting for the new one from his favorite author, til when the books arrived, it was enough time for the medicine to stop, the cancer to spread and us to lose him.

I got the ARC the day after he died. And the autographed copy shortly after the funeral.

I hate having to tell that part of the story.

I wish I could be writing that he got the books and got to read the new one himself. Or even that I got to read it to him (though, some of the rather... um, fiesty, language would have made that a bit awkward!). I hate the way this story ends. I hate it because I miss my dad so much. But also because I feel like the ending takes away from the really nice thing that these total strangers did. How they went out of their way to get this book to me because of a random email that showed up in their inbox on a Thursday morning.

So please, let your takeaway from this post be that there really are good, nice, caring people in this world. People who will go out of their way to give a stranger going through a tough time a pick me up.

And if you've never read Vince's books, I encourage you to check them out. My mom is even planning to start reading through the collection now, well, right after she finishes the latest from Debbie Macomber and Danielle Steel...

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