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Locked On (A Jack Ryan Novel) MP3 CD – Unabridged, October 7, 2014
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- Publisher : Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (October 7, 2014)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1491544163
- ISBN-13 : 978-1491544167
- Item Weight : 3.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 5.5 x 0.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,183,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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All too often there are specific contradicting details just a page or two apart which seems silly for a professional well developed novel. It has no impact on the overall story but when a BMW turns into a Mercedes or an UMP45 is suddenly a .40 caliber over the course of a paragraph or two it nags at my brain.
As in several of the other co-authored books, greater levels of leeway seem to be taken in each installment with the history and back stories of recurring characters.
Overall good enough read to be worth the couple of weeks I was picking it up to get in a few chapters here and there. They would probably avoid much of the outcry on these if they would stop trying to pass them of as TOM CLANCY novels. Just call it the Jack Ryan series or something to keep the history but stop being compared to the defining works.
And it's awesome for it.
No, seriously, I highly recommend the Campus books for fans of Tom Clancy and newcomers to his writing alike despite how incredibly bad it is in many places. No, seriously, there's some genuinely camp stuff in this book. We have ultra-liberal lawyers wanting to get the stand-in for Osama Bin Ladin transferred to a minimum security prison and a member of an illegal death squad not pursued by public charges because the President might lose Mexican votes. Locked On takes place in a ridiculously over-the-top universe which is closer and closer to a Republican James Bond's every day but which insists its more or less realistic.
Speaking as the flaming liberal anarchist that I am, Locked On was enjoyable from start to finish even if it was propagandist at times. I've heard far worse from my father, though, and the book is framed so much in black and white terms it's hard to take any of the areas I disagree with seriously. Readers who are more easily offended by such things should bear this in mind that Tom Clancy, or his co-author, is very prone to wearing his politics on his sleeve.
The premise of the novel is the Emir is still imprisoned by the United States government but is working through sympathetic liberal lawyers in order to pass information onto his allies about the Campus. This information leads directly to a warrant being issued for multiple world-saver John Clark as well as threatens to reveal his clandestine activities. Meanwhile, a terrorist leader plans to begin a military coupl in Afghanistan by "disappearing" one of the country's nukes to be used against a terrorist organization's target-of-choice. Jack Ryan Senior, through all of this, is trying to get elected President as he sees Ed Kealty as a fool unable to navigate these complicated political waters.
And, being a Jack Ryan book, he's right.
This is a fun-fun example of spy fiction if you have a high tolerance for Clancy's right-wing preaching. There's several great action sequences, lots of spy melodrama, and even an interesting romance subplot. I really like the new character of Melanie Kraft, a CIA analyst who is doing her best to deal with the politically charged atmosphere of the current administration, and hope to see her more in future books. There's plenty of characters, both old and new, getting to do outrageous bits of fun. It's a book which I can't take seriously as political fiction or a hard spy fiction but I enjoyed it nevertheless.
Tom Clancy does his usual techno-thriller accuracy but, as with Dead or Alive, the Campus defies all manner of assumptions about the realities of both law as well as technology. Someone in the FBI, CIA, or NSA would pick up on their existence, especially since they're data-mining all three for their crusade against terrorists. It's an escapist fantasy, though, so I'm more willing to let it slide this time. Likewise, I enjoy the fact John Clark is still running around various countries doing wetwork despite the fact he's sixty-five years old. The "good" characters are all likable and fun while the "bad" guys are all despicable and hateable--which is really what you want from this sort of book.
In conclusion, Locked On is far from Clancy's best work but it's still entertaining as hell. You won't find any great insights into how spywork is done in the real world, you should read the earlier Tom Clancy novels for that sort of insight (or do your own research), but if you're looking for an entertaining literary action movie then this is the place to look. I look forward to picking up more entries in the series to see where Jack Ryan Junior's story goes and I'm saddened by the fact Tom Clancy didn't get to finish it before his death.
I also agree with many of the other reviewers here... this is not up to the standards of novels like Patriot Games and Hunt for Red October. I find 3 areas where I really felt that Locked On didn't measure up:
* Politics. In the past, there has never been any mystery about where Jack Ryan stood politically, but these novels are not about partisan politics or present-day political commentary; they're about guns and spies. Let's keep these about guns and spies, and keep extremist politics out of the story line - wherever I might stand politically, it really detracted from the story for me.
* Details. One of the hallmarks of the Clancy novels is a close attention paid to details. Descriptions are universally detailed, there is complete consistency of details - and the level of details - throughout the novel, and the details are always correct. I didn't see the same level of attention in this novel. Some scenes and items were described with the accustomed level of detail, but many were not. One category would be the weapons used and carried by the characters. In a typical Clancy novel, the first time any weapon to be used by a main character is introduced, there will be a multi-paragraph description of the item, perhaps its history, and it's functionality, benefits, and also sometimes it's limitations. Here, there are examples of characters picking up and using weapons which had not been previously introduced at all, and where functional description is never used. In that case, why did the author spend time to even name it? The Clancy style always spends time and page space to introduce these and ensure that the reader had good basis for picturing it in his/her mind's eye.
* Narrative and description. I found that this novel had varying levels of narrative. During the first half of the book, I felt that it was un-rushed and moved at a reasonable pace. But during the second half of the novel, the pace seemed to accelerate, and with it, the quality of writing and level of detail and description dropped precipitously. Scenes happened with very little detail; certain scenes should have taken many chapters - perhaps hundreds of pages for some of the scenes in Russia and the caucuses - and were condensed into a dozen or so pages. This is not the quality of narrative that I'm accustomed to in this series.
Overall, this was a reasonable read, but far from the level I'd expect. There is a reason that I've read only one book in each of the recent "Clancy" series outside of Ryanverse, and can only hope that this storyline can get back on track.
Top reviews from other countries
In many ways this is typical Clancy, multi-stranded, densely plotted, a thick read with the usual drooling over military and spying hardware and well structured action set pieces. The characterisation is perhaps thinner than ever but that's never been the strong point of the series. It does not come close to the trio of Clear and Present Danger, Sum of all Fears and Executive Orders but overall is a stronger book that the other more recent output. It is very much a companion to Dead of Alive, I read them in quick succession and although cowritten with different co-authors, the two books make more sense together.
This books does seem a little lazy and I could not help but wish for some more and deeper political intrigue to accompany Ryan's reelection campaign. Clancy proved with the earlier books he could do politics in Russia and the USA and I did feel a bit short-changed by the lack of this. Personally I think I would have prefered Ryan jr not to be the shining knight hero of the later books and think there are other more intersting characters to have build the bokos around, whilst still in the Ryan universe. However it was nice to see Chavez and Clark get some more space.
So overall if you like the Ryan universe, this is definitely worth reading, but don't expect the high points of previous books.