Saturday, September 28, 2013

Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy

It's been about five years since I last read anything by Tom Clancy. He was the author who kindled my interest in popular fiction back in the 1980s with The Hunt for Red October and he quickly became my go-to guy for "techno-thrillers." Later he lost a few points with me because of the rather slipshod editing of Rainbow Six (not the story itself).

Clancy and I last crossed paths with The Teeth of the Tiger, the first novel in the Jack Ryan Jr. story arc that features the son of his previous protagonist. Five years later I've finally gotten around to the second novel in that arc, Dead or Alive.

The good news is that the Jack Ryan universe is as comfortable for me as it ever was. The characters Clancy created are as real as they ever were and I was glad to get caught up with their current pursuits.

And of course, they're up to same old things. Without the former president's knowledge, Jack Ryan Jr. has taken a job at an organization known as The Campus. Brokerage firm on the outside, intelligence agency on the inside, Ryan Jr. and his colleagues - including John Clark and Domingo Chavez who have been ungracefully "retired" from the CIA - are trying to decipher what the terrorist leader known as The Emir is plotting. They end up paying a heavy price to learn that a strike at America's heartland is underway, a plot that if successful could change the landscape of our country for centuries to come.

Solid story, comfortable characters, counter espionage - they're all here in Dead or Alive. I don't regret getting reaquainted with Clancy (and his co-writer Grant Blackwood). It appears I'm about 4-5 books behind and I won't hesitate to start getting caught up. My review is based on the audiobook version with vocal talent provided by Lou Diamond Phillips. Although I was initially skeptical, he did a good enough job that after a while I forgot it was him.

I received no compensation of any kind for this review.

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