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Every time one professional looks to another with understanding of their profession made me grind my teeth,
This review is from: Without Remorse (Paperback)
A lot of people have said that this is Clancy's best work, and they are either living in a world where he has only written this one book, or bless them they are being paid to say that about all his books, because this is not his best piece of work by a long shot.
Tom Clancy is a geek in the greatest of senses, he is an expert in sonar, which is clearly seen in Hunt for Red October (one of his best books), and has a wide knowledge of military tactics, and espionage. You can see by his writing style that Clancy was probably not one of the first boys to be picked on the sports field, but because of that he learnt the knowledge that he has. The only problem with Clancy is that I find his writing style very wooden, at times even Pinocchio would think it wooden. Clancy will drag the scene out for longer than it needs to be, clearly shown in Sum of All Fears (his best book) the scene goes on and on and on until even the Duracell Bunny gets tired, but then it explodes and you're unable to put it down.
This book is one that shows how wooden his writing can be. John Kelly aka Mr Clark, a navy Seal who loses someone close to him hunts the killers while also planning a rescue operation for a group of POWs in Vietnam, making Jack Bauer look like a Boy Scout in the process. The problem with this book is that though there are points in this book when I think Kelly is great, cold and ruthless putting it mildly as he hunts down the drug dealers, men Clancy has vilified to the point that they may as well hunt children for a hobby...or fish, then Kelly is ruined by moments like when he cries as people are saved, a man like this wouldn't cry over some men not dying, he deals with death everyday and would have become numb to it. Kelly isn't the problem in this book, he is one of the redeeming features, Sam Rosen, Oreza, in fact every character in a profession are the problem, because they are so damn straight and true it is annoying, they may as well be robots or the Borg because they all think and act as one. The beginning when Kelly first meets Rosen, a surgeon who is useless out at sea, but every moment of those painstaking paragraphs are how this man strives to understand everything, how his preaching dross over drugs makes me wish Kelly would kill him. Every time one professional looks to another with understanding of their profession made me grind my teeth, no one cares that you respect these professions, just write the story!!
What I normally admire and enjoy about a Tom Clancy book is the un-put-downable endings, but this one never had it. Like Frederick Forsyth, Clancy makes sure he sets a scene for an explosive thrilling end, but Forsyth does it a lot better, Clancy gets caught up in plots that just aren't needed. Twice in this book he goes through an addict getting clean from drugs, he may well have copied and pasted the work, it is one of his greatest weakness's, and he does it in most books, usually those parts are forgotten because the endings are so good. This ending sort of started, but fizzed out. There was none of the edge of the seat reading that I found with Sum of All Fears or Clear and Present Danger. I understand why people want to read how Clark began his CIA career, but placing Clark/Kelly in the spotlight makes you have to humanise him, and I loved him in Cardinal and Kremlin. He isn't an easy character to write I'm sure, but the plot and side characters in this book don't help it one bit.