Customer Reviews


692 Reviews
5 star:
 (225)
4 star:
 (143)
3 star:
 (102)
2 star:
 (96)
1 star:
 (126)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


49 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MAN IS BACK! GREAT READ!
Okay, seven years is a long time to wait, and while I wish it hadn't taken this long, I have to say DEAD OR ALIVE is worth it. Yeah, I was a bit wary when I saw a co-author (Grant Blackwood) listed on the cover, but my worries were quickly blown away by the story. How much is Clancy and how much is Blackwood I don't know, but DEAD OR ALIVE is the kind of TC book I've...
Published on December 8, 2010 by Valerie Smith

versus
357 of 394 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice to have Tom Clancy back
The Amazon description has the book at 848 pages, but my copy, purchased at retail, is 950 pages. And--as with all the other Clancy books after Red October--I was the first one in line, and read it through on the first day. Harry Potter fans have their vices too, so I'm told.

"Dead or Alive" is in most respects exactly what you expect from...
Published on December 8, 2010 by Kevin Walmsley


‹ Previous | 1 270 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

357 of 394 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice to have Tom Clancy back, December 8, 2010
By 
Kevin Walmsley (Colorado Springs, Colorado) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dead or Alive (Hardcover)
The Amazon description has the book at 848 pages, but my copy, purchased at retail, is 950 pages. And--as with all the other Clancy books after Red October--I was the first one in line, and read it through on the first day. Harry Potter fans have their vices too, so I'm told.

"Dead or Alive" is in most respects exactly what you expect from Clancy--globe-trotting special agents whose names are now familiar. Exquisitely researched, down to almost mind-numbing detail on everything from internet protocols and encryption procedures, to the operation of weapons systems, and the layouts of neighborhoods half a world away.

It is a terrific book, and will be embraced by Clancy fans all over. It falls somewhat short of five stars for several reasons. Without giving away too much of the plot, I found the big targets in "Dead or Alive" to be implausible: why not go after Chicago or LA, given the ultimate objective to kill as many people as possible? Why target a huge South American oil refinery, when all of East Houston will do just as well? Just me, though.

But the second objection was what I consider a glaring, and most uncharacteristic mistake by Clancy. In providing background on Iranian army moves along the Iraqi border, he describes the Iraqi Shi'a population as a minority, and subject to persecution by the Sunni majority. In fact, it's the other way around. 80% of Iraq is Shiite, but Saddam Hussein was a Sunni, which is the primary reason the Sunni countries in the Middle East--which is all the others except for Iran--almost uniformly opposed his removal. It was unimportant to the plot, but I'm surprised that it survived what was probably double- and triple-checking by the editors, and no doubt by Clancy himself.

The Clancy books are superb, each for different reasons: "Red October" for naval and submarine operations; "Cardinal" for espionage tradecraft; "Clear and Present Danger" for small-unit combat operations; "Debt of Honor" for the workings of the financial markets, and so on. "Dead or Alive" doesn't have quite the intrigue those books do. And it is perhaps unfair to Clancy that he himself has set such a high bar with his previous work, that "Teeth" and "Dead or Alive" can't quite get to the same level that his previous works did. The technological detail is evident, as is the character development. But the sense of dread and foreboding and emotion that was conjured up before just isn't there. John Clark going after a drug ring that use prostitutes as drug mules (Without Remorse), or a psychotic setting off a nuke during the Super Bowl (Sum of All Fears), or another developing a strain of Ebola that is released in a dozen cities at a time (Executive Orders)--those books simply don't allow the reader to put them down. Also in those, he did a great job of developing the characters of the victims--the women used by the drug gangs, the traders and portfolio managers whose world was being turned upside down for reasons they didn't understand, the Secret Service agents who sacrifice their lives to protect a nursery full of toddlers, traveling salesmen whose insides were being ripped apart. They were deeply emotional, thrilling and exciting. "Dead or Alive" is very good, but not as good as those.

All that said, I'm already looking forward to his next one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


362 of 422 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ponderous, plodding, and predictable, December 18, 2010
By 
Brian Baker (Santa Clarita, CA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dead or Alive (Hardcover)
I have a First Edition hardback copy of "Hunt for Red October", published by the Naval Institute Press, which was Clancy's first-ever book. I bought it new the day it hit the bookstore shelves in 1984. That's how long I've been a fan of Tom Clancy's.

Unfortunately, for a number of years now Clancy has chosen to go the James Patterson route of becoming a book mill using "co-authors", and the quality of his releases has suffered accordingly. I haven't even bothered reading his stuff for quite a while now.

So when I saw this book that promised to bring "Together for the first time, an all star cast of Clancy's characters..." (from the book jacket), I snapped it up with high expectations.

I wish I'd saved my money. What a bore!

First of all, the story line isn't anything new or inventive at all. Pretty standard fare about Islamic fanatics trying to blow things up. Been there, done that. Now, obviously that is a current and timely theme in this day and age, but there's nothing at all original about the execution in this book. Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp does it about a hundred times better.

Far too many characters with exotic Middle Eastern names for me to keep track of without a scorecard, and none of these jokers is at all unique or distinguishable. I'd think to myself, "Didn't this guy get killed off about 80 pages ago?", then I'd go back and find out that, no, it wasn't this guy, it was another guy with a weird and unmemorable name and no distinguishing characteristics. They were about as interchangeable as lug nuts.

The pacing is awful; there's never at all any buildup of tension or excitement. It's like watching paint dry. Clancy (and his minions) seems to have forgotten that "Red October" was only 387 pages long (my copy), but was a good enough book to propel him to the top of the bestseller charts. Yes, several of his later books were quite long, but they were also vastly better-plotted and -written than this monstrosity. Just adding filler does not a good book make, any more than doubling the amount of flour in a cake recipe makes for a better cake. All you end up with is a dry, tasteless, crumbly mess.

Even the characters who are part of the "all-star cast" have seen better days. Mr. Clark was a man of mystery in his early appearances, one of the more intriguing characters in Clancy's panoply. Now he's turned into a pretty mundane and boring guy about whom we know too much; and his sidekick "Ding" Chavez hasn't fared any better, having morphed into Ozzie Nelson with a gun. The other characters are all pretty two-dimensional - at best. Even Jack Ryan, the original "star" of the series, has lost his oomph and charisma, fretting about whether or not to run for President. This is the guy who took on the Soviet navy as a young CIA officer, and the IRA later on? You kidding me? What happened to him? He get his gonads shot off somewhere?

Save your money. This book's a waste of time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


73 of 87 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kill me, December 23, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Dead or Alive (Hardcover)
I have always enjoyed Tom Clancy's books and remember looking forward to each book as it came out. This current book is absolute torture. While I would usually read one of his books in 1 to 3 sittings, I am about to scream trying to get through this boring, muddled mess of a book. I am on page 600, so it's really too late to abandon the book, but I can barely get through 25 pages at a time without my mind wandering. I don't know who edited this piece of garbage, but they should be shot and Clancy should simply leave the good storytelling to Vince Flynn and Lee Childs.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


81 of 98 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tom Clancy wrote this????? I don't think so!!!!!, December 12, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Dead or Alive (Kindle Edition)
I have been a Clancy fan from the git go. After reading this piece of trash it is quite evident that Tom Clancy had little to do with writing it. Seems that he just lent his name to Grant Blackwood in order for Blackwood to get it published and get a good price set for the work. Blackwood isn't near as good as he thinks he is. Very disappointed in the read and in Tom Clancy for this subterfuge as well.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


62 of 75 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Novelus Horriblus, December 24, 2010
By 
Zee "drlit" (Rutland Town, VT, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dead or Alive (Hardcover)
My father introduced me to Tom Clancy's novels which had kept my dad buoyed during this bout with terminal cancer. I recall when Dad, in 1989 said, "well, I've read all his books, now what?" And he was actually sad that he'd never get to read another Clancy.

Well, Dad didn't miss much on this one. I wanted to like it. But... yech. I have suffered through this book, aiming at the wall and heaving the dastardly tome at least five times. Flat, silly, inane, political diatribe. Rants interrupted by criss-cross trips around the world to kill bad guys who are also taking trips on planes, trucks and boats and killing anyone who pilots the vehicles. Seriously, with all the blood splashed and bodies dumped, you'd think international headlines would be screaming about a world wide serial killer. Absolutely no tension or suspense. Everybody is supposed to be so savvy and crafty and "intelligent." So, why doesn't Jack Ryan (super sleuth with best friends in all the high/right places) know what his son does for a living? at the secret place he, Jack Sr., devised? Oh, come on! And yeah, Jack Jr. is soooo ready to do field work, with absolutely no training. And how does the cousin flash an FBI badge at a date and then go off to Sweden or insert-nasty-foreign-place and knife/shoot/strangle a bunch of guys? And... I could go on and on. But mostly, if I am reading a thriller, I want to be thrilled or at least intrigued. I don't want to hear how much the people who kill the bad guys hate the rest of us for going about our daily lives. Or how different political parties are ruining the country (and I'll give you 2 bits and a case of Fox News to let you guess what side is which). Not just once or twice, mind you. But spewing from every character AND even sandwiched into exposition.

Plot? What plot? Stock characters going through stock motions in stock situations with stock outcomes. The writer (seriously, Clancy didn't write this) seems to disdain his reader's intelligence, figuring that a few "black ops" sprinkled here and there constitute a story. Clark's leaving Rainbow, sitting on the Heathrow runway, ready to take off when... SURPRISE! He and Ding are taken off the plane to do... One Last Black Ops. OMG. And it's perfect in less than 5 minutes (plus lots of diatribe about MKadafi) and OOPS! Ding forgets to turn in the thumb drive he took off the bad guy's laptop right before it disintegrated. Oh, and their wives are still at Heathrow waiting to leave for the good ol' USA where real American patriots eat hot dogs (really, that's in the book). Yes, a series of clicks with no spark and no reason (beyond having spent $ on the book) to continue.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Do. Not. Waste. Your. Money.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Certainly not his best work, January 9, 2011
By 
viewer "viewer" (Thousand Oaks, CA USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Dead or Alive (Hardcover)
Sadly, I must agree with many others who were disappointed. The plot was convoluted, unreal and somewhat silly. The characters were like cardboard.

I've seen this with other of my favorite authors. They are under extreme pressure from the publishers to crank out that next book. The quality suffers as a result.

Wondering if Amazon has a refund policy for books that don't measure up...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


43 of 54 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is what happens when an author writes himself into a corner, December 27, 2010
By 
Park Ave (Near Boardwalk) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Dead or Alive (Kindle Edition)
Welcome back one more time to the Clancy-verse. Enjoy your stay. With this cinder block, you'll be here awhile. As a refresher, please remember that all women in the Clancy-verse are either prostitutes or have multiple kids. All "good men" are conservative, Catholic school educated, use and carry firearms or are British. All "bad men" are either Ivy-League educated, paunchy, liberal lawyers or are of Middle Eastern descent. Neutral characters are always "just in it for the money" and have a 20% survival rate. This guide will assist you by removing the need to remember dozens of minor characters that enter and exit at dizzying intervals.

In all seriousness, reading this Clancy novel is like picking up "Atlas Shrugged" 15 years after you first read it before college. Exciting, black-and-white plot lines, glamorous characters that change the world and easy solutions to intractable problems give way to the mature realization that the world just doesn't work this way. What made Clancy novels of the past so great was the believability, the "wow, that could happen" factor. This has been missing from the last few Clancy novels and is sorely missing from this one as well.

But even these points could be overlooked, ignored or even laughed at in passing if not for the other issues of this book. Clancy has attempted to finally reconcile his universe with what actually happened in the real world over the last decade. Experienced Clancy readers will recall the three fictional wars the United States fought and quickly won following the end of the Cold War. Clancy has now attempted to fit the (real) Iraq and Afghanistan wars into his narrative history, creating a plot hole that simply can't be ignored. Did the sainted, conservative and competent Jack Ryan Sr order what even Clancy derides as an unpopular and poorly led war? By the timeline of the book, this appears the case and if so, how can Ryan even consider another run for office when the real and imagined electorate has so rejected the Iraq incursion? Also, how can Iraq fit into the Clancy-verse? At the end of "Executive Orders", Iraq and Iran are described as opening friendlier diplomatic relations with the US. References to current tensions with Iran in the book add to the pile of "huh?" moments.

This book ultimately collapses under the weight of its own contradictions, set up from previous Jack Ryan novels and written into the book itself. Only a few hundred pages after a character muses at the ridiculous, Hollywood-inspired notion of the "ticking bomb" torture scenario, what provides the information to save the West coast of the US at the last minute but torturing a terrorist while the bomb is ticking. Adding in Clancy's increasingly ham-handed attempts at political commentary just sends this book farther into the bargain bin. I believe experienced Clancy readers can recognize "The Bear and the Dragon" started the slide in quality, coinciding with increased political content in the writing.

"Dead or Alive" is an overly long, poorly written and edited episode of "24". If you bought this in non-digital format, take it to your local used bookstore and sell it before they stop accepting any more.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book made my soul hurt, January 22, 2011
This review is from: Dead or Alive (Hardcover)
I thought Tom Clancy books were going downhill. Turns out, he hit rock bottom.

The mind numbing repetition is dulled by the jingoistic saber rattling. I think at points whole chunks of prose were copy and pasted into different parts of the book to make it wordier. No one bothered to edit the novel it would appear, so the rather ridiculous black and white, us vs. the towelhead approach was drowned by such poor wordsmithing and craft that it pulled me out of the story. And that was the best part.

I would rather brush my teeth with a brush used to clean a park service outhouse than read this drivel. This book was so disappointing it made my puppy cry.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unnecessary and clumsy, January 14, 2011
This review is from: Dead or Alive (Hardcover)
This continues from the quite-long-ago "Red Rabbit," which was also not a particularly brilliant outing in the "Jack Ryan Saga."

It of course is replete with detail, and the fairly usual fawning admiration of special forces troops, notably American, but with some sop to other nations too. This time, it was the Swedes that got to be mentioned. "Go, Swedes!"

There were three things that swatted me in the face about it:

1. As something of an "alternative history," it was quite confused as to how much of our world it wanted to recognize as real, and how much of the world was unique to itself.

The "Emir" is pretty clearly a picture of Osama Bin Laden, though somewhat distinct. 9/11 apparently took place in their world, but not quite the same one that we experienced.

One could take a political reading that Jack Ryan is intended to be sort-of a Republican-ish president, with a rather hawkish perspective. His background rather parallels that of George Bush Sr, but his position, in the book, somewhat parallels George W Bush. The successor, Kealty, is a "wishy-washy politically correct underexperienced hack," which has aspects that project as Obama, to a degree. (No doubt some of the "Tea Partyish" folk would have little difficulty calling it an exact projection!)

But the crashing together of the worlds is mighty jarring, particularly when the "Ryan Universe" has continuity that diverges from our world going back to the 1980s. (The Hunt For Red October dating back to 1984!)

2. The proof reading wasn't terribly good. I saw quite a lot of typos of the sort that spell checking software doesn't catch, because the result was a legitimate (albeit wrongly used) word.

3. The parts of the story that took place in Toronto (where I happen to live) were jarringly wrong. Apparently the author was not aware that US Customs & Immigration processing takes place at Toronto, and this invalidates a number of aspects of the surveillance plan.

It really looks like the "quality control" on this fell through. It wasn't the followup to want to wait for.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment!, December 29, 2010
This review is from: Dead or Alive (Hardcover)
I stayed up until 4 AM to read this. What a waste of good sleep time. It looks like a nice fat book, but the page margins are so big, it's really a much shorter book. The gratuitous inclusion of all the prostitute stuff was so unnecessary and stupid....that particular thread went absolutely nowhere in the "wrapping up" of all the plot threads...so why put it in, except for the "sleaze" appeal...(sex sells books theory). This does not in any way measure up to Mr Clancy's first books....they have become increasingly disappointing over time, but this hits bottom. I would rather go back and re-read Red Storm Rising, or Hunt For Red October. Maybe he should go back to writing his books by himself...it certainly didn't seem to help having a co-author. This was very unsatisfying. Very little character development. It was very superficial and shallow. The plot was not very deep or interesting. The whole thing was just....disappointing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 270 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Dead or Alive (Jack Ryan)
Dead or Alive (Jack Ryan) by Tom Clancy (Paperback - September 27, 2011)
$18.00 $13.96
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.