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4.3 out of 5 stars196
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on 2 January 2012
It's become increasingly apparent that Clancy is not writing these "co-authored" books, but I still enjoyed this book more than most of the novels Clancy really did write. I always liked his characters and stories, but his writing and storytelling abilities made it difficult to get through his books. Clancy never says anything in one paragraph, if he can say it in three pages.

Locked On is basically standard terrorism thriller. Hundreds of them have been published and they're mostly all the same, but the characters and a fairly intelligent and complex plot sets Locked On apart from all those other books.

The plot involves a rogue Pakistani general giving nuclear weapons to Russian separatists and launching terrorist attacks in India to topple Pakistan's civilian government. Meanwhile, in a boring subplot with no surprises, Jack Ryan is running for president, and lots of other stuff happens in various episodic subplots. The subplot of Clark on the run and pursued by various mercenaries and intelligence agencies is trite and reads a little too much like co-author Mark Greaney's own Gray Man series. There's also the now requisite Rainbow mission.

The characters consist mostly of Clancy's new characters from Teeth of the Tiger, and less on his older ones. Which is appropriate since they're all in their 60s by now. Like John Clark, who, despite his age, is still jumping out of airplanes and leading counterterrorism missions. Jack Ryan shows up every few chapters or so, but he doesn't serve much purpose at all.

There's a few implausible and unlikely moments, and it's not like what Clancy used to write, but for what it is and compared to what else is being published these days in this genre from big name authors (Flynn, Thor, Silva, Berenson, etc), Locked On is a pretty good book.

If you don't like the co-author on the cover, then don't buy the book and then complain about the co-author. If you just want an entertaining book to read, then you'll probably enjoy this one.
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It is really important to put this book into perspective along with the recent "Clancy" works and understand it is a book written in the style of Tom Clancy and the direction of the publishers.

Clancy's last good book was Executive Orders (average US Amazon score of 4 stars), he dipped slightly with Rainbow Six (Average of 3.5) before turning out the turgid Bear And The Dragon (average of 2.5 stars) and then the final book written by him, the very weak Red Rabbit (average of 2 stars). Then the outsourcing began with Teeth Of The Tiger (2 stars) and Dead or Alive (2.5 star average).

It is really important to understand that Tom Clancy `lost it' some time ago and those that claim this new book is a poor shadow of Clancy actually are referring to the golden days of Clancy because this is a lot better than the last three books Clancy actually wrote and certainly a vast improvement on the previous outsourcing.

Mark Greaney makes a good job of this, slightly ham-strung by the Clancy suits insisting (we presume) on the use of The Campus and young Jack Ryan as an all action hero. Mr Greaney presents a story where Ryan senior is trying to get back into the White House and the incumbent President is willing to resort to dirty tricks to smear him, including using ex Rainbow Six leader John Clark as a sacrifice. While Clark goes on the run, The Campus and Ryan Junior are on the trail of a rogue Pakistani intelligence chief who is orchestrating a deadly plan....

In the true style of Clancy, this is a blend of politics and action with a few familiar faces amongst the newer characters. The pace really picks up at the point Clark goes on the run and the book became increasingly hard to put down. I think Greaney has sort of rescued the franchise and you feel the influence of Clancy's publishers has held it back rather than pushed it forward. The portrayal of Ryan junior as an action hero, and a swing to the right wing just don't feel right. There is also a scene where Ryan junior speaks to his Dad before going off on a dangerous mission...his message "Dad, when you get in the White House, please get the CIA back to where it belongs". It made me shudder,

But for the minor faults (that I suspect were imposed on the author) Locked On is a page turning thriller, I enjoyed it and would be delighted to see Mark Greaney have another go at being Tom Clancy.
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on 25 January 2012
I have never read a word of a Tom Clancy book. For that reason I cannot say I am a fan of Mr Clancy's, but I am most definitely a fan of author Mark Greaney's series featuring Court Gentry. I first read The Gray Man in 2009, On Target (Gray Man Novel) in 2010, then Ballistic (Gray Man) earlier this year. When I saw Greaney's announcement on his website that he would be collaborating with Tom Clancy on a novel I must admit to having mixed feelings. I keep track of lots of forum discussions here on Amazon and I had seen comments from readers of how unhappy they were with some of the latest co-authored books published by Clancy. I waited for this novel not knowing quite what to expect.

The book began a little slowly for me because there were so many plot threads and characters which are introduced without any of them seeming to have much relationship to one another. After a short time the lives and story lines become connected and individual segments are filled in with more detail. There are a lot of characters in this novel and most of them seem to be returning from previous books. There is a young woman Jack Junior is showing some interest in and she is a new addition to the character roster. The novel is very action driven which is one of the things I like so much about the books Mark Greaney writes. That aspect did not disappoint me here at all. These characters are scattered on missions in all sorts of different parts of the world so one or two characters might be in Pakistan while someone else is in Germany. The book felt like it had been very well researched, which, once again, I expect from something Greaney has worked on. Obviously the team of Clancy/Greaney utilized the best portions of each authors talents because for me the novel worked very well. By the time I had reached the midway point, I really didn't want to stop reading. There were good guys in trouble and I needed to help them solve their problem and get back to safety.

I honestly do think that readers who are new to this series will be able to start here, with this book, and feel they have been completely caught up on what is going on in the lives of all the major players in this continuing drama. This is a very political novel, with characters coming down firmly on the side of pro-America patriotism and the conservative viewpoint. This is one of those situations where I would dearly love to be able to assign a rating based on more than just a 4 or 5 star rating. Because of the slow start to the book (for me as a reader new to the series) and a few difficult times I had figuring out who was involved with The Campus and what it was exactly and my confusion of having Jack Ryan Senior referred to as Mr. President and then be told he was running for President (it took a long time to explain how that situation happened), I didn't want to automatically give the book five stars. But I absolutely did enjoy reading it, it ticked off all the things I'm looking for when I pick up a political action thriller novel and I would definitely read another book if the team of Clancy/Greaney happens again in the future.
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on 14 December 2011
I remember reading Patriot Games with my father, who was vey ill in hospital, and thinking it was one of the best thrillers I had ever read. Since then, Jack Ryan has always been a favourite for me. This is a ghost writer, which is not a problem, until the lack of familiarity with the earlier books seeps into the story. Don't get me wrong it is a good thriller. Plenty of current issues, Pakistan, Special Forces operatives sneaking about etc, but it is not a classic Clancy novel. It is a huge novel and should keep you happy for a few days at least. The download price? Ridiculous but we can't change that. Kindle readers into Special Forces stuff should try Soft Target: The Second Spider Shepherd Thriller,Blister (Soft Target Series) or Mission One: Redeemer: Chris Ryan Extreme: Hard Target. They are all series and all value for money. The usual characters from the earlier books are in 'Locked On' and that adds comfort for his fans. If it is your first time out with Clancy then it will probably tempt you to read the earlier books.
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on 24 December 2011
Action packed from the very start. This was the best by far of the three recent Clancy additions. A Ryan verse novel that included all the regular characters as well as John Clark, Ding Chevez, Jack Junior and Senior. The story is fast paced and full of action. I am a little disappointed by the amount of negative reviews being given. It may be shorter than Clancy's earlier works and have a less complex story line than Debt of Honor and Executive Orders but is still well worth reading. I would recommend this book to any Clancy fan and look forward to the next Ryan verse novel which will hopefully continue to develop the story lines left open at the end of the story.
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on 7 January 2012
This is a classic Tom Clancy. He explains technical points with simple clarity.
The story is well written with lots of cliff hangers. Good for Christmas vacations.

The author does some wild leaps, such as getting on a helicopter in very few minutes with
his sharpshooters' rifle and saving his freind. Well... But well written and enjoyable.
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on 2 July 2012
In short, in my opinion this is the best Clancy since Executive Orders, although given the standard of some the intervening books that could be regarded as faint praise. I think it really depends on how you come to this: if you are a committed Clancy/Ryan-phile, you'll probably be keen on reading it but slightly wary given the recent books. If you are new to Clancy, and thinking of starting (and I encourage you to do), this is not the place to start, read them in publcaition order. If you are interested in a modern techno-thriller, this is OK but there are better in the genre.
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.
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on 12 September 2012
N.B. This review contains no spoilers for Locked On.

Once upon a time, Tom Clancy wrote a great series of books about Jack Ryan, who went from being a humble intelligence analyst to being president of the USA while being an (often unwilling) all-action hero along the way. Each book had different crises to deal with (usually one international and one domestic); each book had a different international state as the ultimate enemy; and when Clancy wrote about a Boeing 747 crashing into the White House on a suicide mission, no-one believed such a thing was possible.

But the world changed, and Jack Ryan had nowhere further to go. Clancy's subsequent books struggled for focus, got poorer reviews, and eventually he turned to writing with ghostwriters. He tried to reboot the franchise with Jack Ryan Junior in a similar role to his father, but it hasn't worked ... until now.

Locked On is close to the standard of Clancy's earlier books. The book manages the dual trick of drawing on the past books to explore the consequences of actions that seemed good at the time; and of introducing new characters whose actions are less predictable than in a typical Hollywood film. Add that to fast-paced, frequent action and you have a great page-turner of a book.

Maybe it's that the world has changed again. The Arab Spring (which gets a nod in the book) brought about a feeling of 'Yes the world can change ... probably', coupled with a fundamental belief that 'man is basically good so things will get better'. This book presents the other side of the argument, and thus provides a voice for those who feel that their fears about internationally sponsored terrorism are not being publicised enough. Clancy's older books used to preach the perils of big, unaccountable government; the message of this one is that weak, disinterested government is just as bad. If you like that message, you'll probably love this book.
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on 23 December 2011
Just bought this for my kindle and I'm afraid it is a disappointment. There is one glaring inaccuracy in the book with the mention of a character called Charles Alden. I would love to know how he is featured in this book when he died of a cerebal hemorrage in Sum of All Fears...the joys of ghost writers not knowing the story lines from previous books.
The kindle price is way too expensive in my opinion. High prices like this encourage pirate copies and a reduction in sales.
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on 9 January 2012
I have read (and still own) all the Clancy novels. However, the more recent ones (Jack Ryan junior) are becoming too fancifull, too involved with terrorists activities and, to be honest, too far fetched. You feel that people are flying around the world helping each other at the speed of sound and the books are becoming unbelievable. A shame, because the Clancy books were always a great read.
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