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Showing 1-10 of 959 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,158 reviews
on December 15, 2011
There are no plot spoilers in this review.

I started with Tom Clancy 15 years ago, and he's been my favorite author since then. I appreciate his style of writing, technical accuracy, his character building, and his art of story telling. I am not as fond of the co-authored novels or the other series that bear his name. While generally better than most of the genre, they are not up to par with the Clancy of the early Jack Ryan and John Clark novels.

I approached this book with a bit of caution, because with "Dead or Alive", I walked away with the feeling that Clancy just didn't care about the quality of his work anymore. I was encouraged that this was a book with Ryan Sr. in a prominent role, but discouraged by it being co-authored.

Overall, I like this novel. The story telling, while not historical Clancy quality, is good. It draws you in, keeps you turning the page, and gets your blood pumping at times. Those who know Clancy's style of writing and his attention to detail will certainly appreciate many parts of this story. I found myself with a smirk several times thinking "typical Clancy" or "that's ingenious". The last Clancy novel I read where I had similarly good thoughts was "The Bear and The Dragon". As far as Ryan/Clark co-authored novels go, this is better than the others but far from being great. It was a very low bar that the Clancy/Greaney duo had to rise above.

While it is "good", I have an expectation for anything with Clancy's name to be "great". So many of Clancy's earlier works fall into this "great" category for me: Red Storm Rising, Hunt for Red October, Without Remorse, Executive Orders, Rainbow Six. This doesn't fit into the same category. There are gaps in this book with unanswered questions, which has been typical for the last several novels. The big ones? Chavez has previously-unknown expert skills, and it isn't mentioned how he acquired them. Ryan's resignation from his first Presidency still isn't clearly explained, which is something I wish was in this book since it is about Ryan's run for the White House, and, honestly, was something I was looking forward to reading about. The old Clancy doesn't leave things unexplained like this, and he missed a prime opportunity to address this.

I have read enough Clancy to know which parts are written by Greaney in this novel, and they don't all flow well with the rest of the book. The difference in writing style, at times, threw me off and interrupted the story somewhat. The opening action sequence of the book is such an element. The difference in style is very apparent as the next element of the story is about Ryan Sr., and is clearly written by Clancy himself. I do not have an issue with Clancy co-authoring his books, I have an issue with the quality of those books. There is no reason a co-authored novel has to be of lower quality. It is undoubtedly hard work to make the work of two authors flow well together in a single cohesive story, and where Clancy fails is in the editing and proof-reading. The only explanation is that either Tom is losing skill, or he lacks the same level of intense passion he had before.

As for my rating, it goes a little beyond just the star value I assigned to it. I like this book, I feel it's better than just "ok". As far as entertainment value, I feel it deserves the "I like it" four-star rating. If I were to rate it on five star scale against other Ryan/Clark novels, it would be a 3. While this isn't the Clancy redemption I hoped for, I can now see an author at least trying to get back to his roots. I hope the next one is a solo novel that ties up some of the loose ends from the last few.

Final thoughts: I can't think of a reason to NOT recommend this book. Through it's flaws is a good story that is a page turner, and has some great moments with familiar characters. It leaves me glad I read it, and I'll probably read it again.
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on May 3, 2016
I found this book to be similar to many other reviewers and at this point it probably just needs to be the expected outcome. In its own right its a decent book that can at times pull you in and make reading worthwhile. However, it is not what I would consider groundbreaking or anywhere near the level of intricate interwoven plot lines and details available in older Clancy novels.
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.
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on January 9, 2012
This latest effort by Mr. Clancy's "apprentice" is an improvement from his last work. If you're looking for this novel to be akin to the previous Tom Clancy un-coauthored novels, then you will be utterly disappointed. It seems those days are behind us.

I am not going to bore you with a long detailed summation. Instead I will offer what I believe to be some pros and cons in a quick, bullet format.

- Believable storyline. A real possibility in today's world.
- Political characters resemble politicians in office today.
- Author keeps you interested, doesn't go "off the deep end" with wild conjecture.
- Fairly well reseached on the main topic.

- Unexplained and unanswered gaps. (i.e. Ryan Sr. resignation from first presidency)
- Ending left too many unsettled or unresolved gaps in the plights of the main characters.
- A touch "long winded" in some places. Some unnecessary paragraphs before the plot switches.

All in all, I felt this book to be a pretty good read. It is not the Tom Clancy we all know and love. I understood and accepted this before I picked it up. But if you can set that aside, you should find this book pretty decent.
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on September 14, 2015
Locked On by Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney is the sequel to the novel Dead or Alive (reviewed here). It is the third novel in the Campus series, which deals with the wildly implausible off-the-books assassination squad assembled by Jack Ryan when he's President that employs his son. The Campus doesn't answer to its liberal President, Ed Kealty (boo!), but their own sense of justice (yay!), while doing all manner of illegal things which would technically qualify them as terrorists under international law. But which doesn't matter because this is not a series with a trace of either awareness or moral ambiguity.

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.

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on March 6, 2014
There's a lot of content 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 Splinter cell, I can assure you that Locked On is a very well written thriller.

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.

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.

The ugly - (Referring here to the Kindle Edition) Some very unprofessional formatting errors leaped out at me, some so bad they killed the illusion of the book. At least one place I can remember a large gap between words in the middle of a line, with a remnant of what I think was some misplaced HTML. As another example, the book ends on something of a cliffhanger, and because of the formatting, the next page of text runs right into the last paragraph. It's a simple thing to fix (speaking as someone who writes books) but it'd be as if someone ran the "About the Author" page into the last paragraph in the print edition. It's an ugly little blemish that distracts from the ending.

While Locked On has a few flaws and is not perfect, it is a fantastic read and definitely recommended.
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on August 30, 2015
OK, this book is extremely hard to "read" and get into. Took me four attempts in the last three years to get beyond a third of it. Problem is, either the ghost writer or Mr. Clancy (not sure how much was done by the late Mr. Clancy) are so preoccupied with going into long detours of complaining and jabbing at the non-conservative groups and politicians depicted in the book, that half the pages sound like they are written by the staff at Fox News. We get it that the author(s) disagree with the current administration and their methods and it is obviously than in their view the politics of the Rusmfelds and Chenneys of the world are the way to go, but after a while the whole things gets old. And I am no "sensitive" "liberal" reader who gets easily offended or annoyed, but at some point they need to set their agenda to the side and get on with the point of the story. I mean, I am an avid reader of Ben Coates (another well know conservative Hawk), Nelson DeMille, and Vince Flynn, so it is now as I don't often ready book that proselytize the ways of the right (even I disagree with many of those views). Get to writting my Greanay and stick to the story!
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on January 3, 2014
I just can't continue. After reading 37% (Kindle) of this book, I have to put it down. Really nothing is happening here, only one exciting part to this point, lot's of bad character descriptions, lot's of useless political stuff, 1 dimensional personalities, it is just too much to take.

Ok, now to confess my part, I have not read Clancy in the past (that I can recall), but I do like the genre. So maybe this book fits in with his style, or maybe the ghost writer did a really, really, bad job. Maybe all the cool stuff happens towards the end, and I'm usually game for that if there is enough going on elsewhere to keep me interested. This time though, I'm giving up.

Perhaps if I had read some of the earlier books with the same characters, I would care more about them. This book does not take time to make any character come to life. They seem flat and frankly stupid.

Ok, that's it. Sorry if I offended any Clancy fan's out there. I hate bashing stuff if I feel that a good effort was made, but I can't say that here. The Tom Clancy name should be taken off this title, since, well he didn't write it and since I suspect Clancy's earlier works are far superior.
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on December 2, 2013
I read this novel because I really do enjoy following the Jack Ryan storyline and franchise. And so obviously, I wanted to read each edition.

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.
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on August 12, 2015
Probably not Clancy's best story but a decent page-turner nevertheless. Plot was topical (threat of rogue nukes from Pakistan) and characters were familiar from prior stories. Technical details of the story seemed believable but could not verify all of these (weapons, tactics, addresses, agencies, etc.). A great tool to put this book in context is the Tom Clancy Series Reading Order publication (not really a book, but helpful nevertheless). Mark Greany has done a credible job in picking up the Jack Ryan Sr/Jr storyline after Tom's passing. I would say the book was enjoyable and I had trouble putting it down once the storyline was developed. Typical of most Clancy novels, character development and scenario context setting comes before the storyline development. In other words, slow starting but picks up quickly.
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on December 25, 2013
There is an assumption that the reader is familiar with the characters and does not require any background. Although I have read most of Clancy's books I would have appreciated a recap of where the characters came from. The plot becomes even more fanciful as the end nears giving the impression that the authors too wanted this book to be over.

The biggest disappointment was the constant barrage of the authors political views: liberals hate their country and are in concert with Muslim radicals; illegal acts by intelligence agencies and military are justified; and more thoughts from the Dick Cheney play book. There are two more books in this Jack Ryan series that I was gifted from my wish list - I am going to return them if I can.
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