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on 18 January 2004
After a new advanced U.S satelite has been taken by pirates in the Indonesian archepelago, Captain Amanda Lee Garrett is given orders to find the satelite and put an end to the pirates that plagues that part of the Indian Ocean.
This is the fourth book about U.S. Navy officer Amanda Lee Garrett by James H Cobb. She started as a commander in the book "Chosers of the slain" and has now made captain and given command over a special operations Navy task force.
I have read all four books about Captain Garret and I have to say that Target Lock didn't rise quite to the level of the previous three. That isn't to say it's not a good book.
James Cobb has a clear view of what he thinks the future holds for naval warfare. His characters have the necesary backround to give them life, not just names on a page.
Target Lock is well worth the money and the space in any bookshelf.
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on 6 January 2005
Target Lock (Book 4) continues Captain Amanda Garrett's evolution as a battle-ready high-tech task force commander. This time, Garrett gets to act out her romantic and espionage fantasies as both a femme fatale and a hostage of a modern-day pirate. I agree wholeheartedly with his development of the stealth littoral battle group concept which started in Sea Fighter (Book 3 of the series) -- which I still have to read. I especially liked Cobb's ability to develop Amanda Garrett's and Christine Rendino's personal lives. Cobb's series somewhat parallels David Weber's Honor Harrington series of space naval combat. As usual with Cobb's earlier work, his combination of technology, tactics, and plotting are excellent and gripping. He also tried to develop the Indonesian geography and culture with on-the-scene visits but it still feels a bit superficial to a Filipino like me (but that's a normal pitfall of parachute journalists anywhere). At least it wasn't as bad as his mixing up Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese character names in Sea Strike (Book 2) -- oops, that's just a minor peeve. I still give the book a high rating for going where no US Navy female officer has gone before. I want more!
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I disagree with the reviewers below who found this fourth book in the series a bit less than the others - I still find them getting better and better! In the intro the author gives us some of his influences, among which O'Donnell/Modesty Blaise, and Schmitz/Trigger Argee. Both of these I like a lot, and I can see the influences, too: not slavish, but a background feeling.
Commander Garrett, now commanding a small task force of the Cunningham (upgraded to cruiser), a Landing Platform Dock and a couple of Seafighters, is growing in personality; and the story, about piracy in Indonesian waters (and a lot more besides) flows well. Good tense periods are interspersed with believable personal interaction, and I agree with the Houston Chronicle review (cited on the endpapers) which says "Cobb knows his modern weapons of war. But he also knows people who operate them." Excellent on military, geographical, political and people facets.

Beats Jack Ryan hollow, in my opinion - Garrett is in a class of her own, for modern sea stories. Fa'sure, I'll be buying any sequels as soon as they come out - my kind of light reading!
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The previous Amanda Garrett novels have been very entertaining and well worth the read. This one slips back a bit and does not flow like the previous ones.
I suspect Mr Cobb is trying to develop the characters, especially Garrett, but in doing so places her in situations where the reader is almost screaming 'no' at the page. The idea that an experienced navel captain would succumb to the wiles of a charming international pirate did stretch it a bit.
Not a bad book by any means and certainly exciting at times but the love interest stuff really did come over badly.
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on 30 May 2004
If you are interested in the future of naval warfare especially in the 21st century. Then James Cobb's books are for you. With a recurring cast of characters (Captain Amanda Garrett, Lt Commander Christine Rendino, Commander Ken Hiro and Admiral Elliot Macintyre to name a few) with the latest or possible technologies for littoral (coastal) warfare, then read these books. 4 books in total. Highly recommended.
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on 5 September 2015
Page turner
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