Locked On, by Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Release Date: December 13, 2011
Synopsis: “Tom Clancy’s All-Star lineup is back. Jack Ryan, his son, Jack Jr., John Clark Ding Chavez and the rest of the Campus team are facing their greatest challenge ever. Jack Ryan, Sr. has made a momentous choice. He’s running for President of the United States again and thus giving up a peaceful retirement to help his country in its darkest hour. But he doesn’t anticipate the treachery of his opponent, who uses trumped up charges to attack one of Ryan’s closest comrades, John Clark.
Now, Clark is in a race against time and must travel the world, staying one step ahead of his adversaries, including a shadowy organization tasked to bring him in, all while trying to find who is behind this.Meanwhile, Jack Ryan, Jr., Ding Chavez, Dominick Caruso and other members of the Campus-the top secret off-the-books intelligence agency founded by Jack Ryan during his first term in the White House-deal with a question of their own: Why is a Pakistani military officer meeting with Dagestani terrorists? The answer will ultimately lead to a desperate struggle, with nothing short of the fate of the world at stake.”
Review: There’s a lot of story arcs in Locked On. You get Jack Ryan Sr., The Campus characters, the CIA, Mary Pat Foley’s company, several terrorist plots, a look at the Emir in prison, a new love interest for Jack Ryan Jr., Russian Special Forces and other agencies, and much more.
What I love about Locked On is that it works. Yes, there is a lot going on, but it all works together in an amazingly written, intertwined plot. And the plot is very well thought-out and written.
While I cannot comment on the “purity” of it being Tom Clancy, as I have not read any of his older books with the exception of Dead or Alive and Against All Enemies, I can assure you that Locked On is a very well written thriller. I understand the die-hard Clancy fans who are partially (or fully) against these novels, but personally I don’t think that’s a reason not to be able to read and enjoy these books. Pretend they were not written by Clancy if you must.
As I alluded to before, all the characters intertwined together were done very well. I would’ve liked to see a little more of Jack Ryan Sr., perhaps, but that may be simply because I haven’t read a book yet that features only him. Seeing a bit of the current Rainbow operatives was a nice touch, but I feel as if they weren’t featured enough, but rather just thrown in there because they could be. But then again, focusing on yet another group would likely slow down the pace of the story.
I really enjoyed seeing The Campus operatives/workers. John Clark is a fabulous character, and it was nice having a large section of the book devoted to him; I can imagine him as being very similar to the retired-CIA-operative Liam Neeson in the movie Taken. I was also happy to see the return of Sam Driscoll, a character I very much enjoyed in Dead or Alive.
I was slightly disappointed with the character of Melanie Kraft – Jack Jr.’s love interest. I quite liked her at first, but as the story progressed it seemed like she did things that did not follow her pre-established character – some things seemed to contradict each another.
The writing itself was very good, though there were a couple times when dialogue was awkward and the writing a little bland, but overall was well done. Some people disliked the politics placed in the books, but I myself enjoyed them, so to each his own, I guess.
While Locked On has a few flaws and is not perfect, it is a fantastic read and definitely recommended.