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Search tags: Tom-Clancy
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review 2018-10-31 03:45
State of Siege (Op-Center #6)
State of Siege - Tom Clancy,Jeff Rovin,Steve Pieczenik

After living through the hypocrisy of being a part of a United Nations security force, a band of mercenaries decide to strike at the organization itself and unknowingly take resigning Op-Center director Paul Hood’s daughter hostage.  State of Siege, is the sixth book of the Op-Center series written by Jeff Rovin, ghosting for the titular Tom Clancy, finds Paul Hood in the middle of a hostage situation as his daughter is being held in the Security Council after cleaning out his desk and hoping to rebuild his family that is hanging by a thread and however Hood reacts he risks destroying it.

 

A team of five former UN soldiers, who served in Cambodia, rob an armored car in Paris to finance buying weapons from an arm’s dealer in New York to strike at the United Nations for a $250 million payday after taking room full of hostages.  Among the hostages are diplomats, young violinists including Harleigh Hood, and two undercover Cambodian hitmen looking to take their revenge against the terrorist group’s leader.  The situation is both personal and professional for Paul Hood, who is torn to do something to save his daughter and being with his wife to support.  The newly appointed Secretary-General is a negotiator who wants to solve the problem as peacefully as possible, but events quickly get out of her control leading to a final solution to the siege that both pleases and displeases many.

 

Released in 1999, State of Siege puts the United Nations center stage as well as the debate between military versus diplomacy to solve crises.  The problem that the “debate” is useless given that the crisis in this particular book could never have been solved diplomatically and this book is less than 400 pages as well as the story taking only about five hours in total.  Besides this flaw is the one that has been running throughout the series, Paul Hood’s marriage which has been doomed to fail because Sharon Hood has been written to be literally be the unreasonable wife to the man running a government agency trying to do his best—how cliché can you get?—and it sinks to even worst levels here.  And on top of that were the just bad dialog, characters literally knowing things they couldn’t actually know, plot holes all over the place, and finally not being able to decide what point-of-view to have from one paragraph to the next.

 

State of Siege keeps up the Op-Center tradition of having an intriguing plot, which is ruined by Jeff Rovin’s characterizations and overall subpar writing.  This book is a big step down from the previous installment, Balance of Power, but is unfortunately more to type of what the series has been like for most of its run so far.

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review 2018-07-29 23:03
Balance of Power (Op-Center #5)
Balance of Power - Tom Clancy,Jeff Rovin,Steve Pieczenik

With ethnic tensions suddenly boiling to the surface, Spain looks like it might go the way of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union or be kept together by a strong man in the image of Franco until Op-Center is put into the crossfire.  Balance of Power, the fifth book of the Op-Center series written by Jeff Rovin, ghosting for the titular Tom Clancy, once again finds Op-Center operatives in the middle of an international crisis but this time one of their own is set up with deadly consequences and vengeance is on everyone’s mind only to find that taken away by a man who allowed the attack to happen in an effort to forge Spain in his own image.

 

Sent to Madrid to help negotiate between two ethnic factions of the country, Martha Mackell is murdered by an assassin contracted by the very people she had been sent to help.  The men who ordered her assassination are then killed on the orders of the Spanish Chief of Staff who is looking to become the next Franco by inciting ethnic riots around the country, especially in his native Castile.  With one of their own killed and a NATO ally tilting between violently separating and a totalitarian regime, Op-Center must do everything in their power with the help of local Interpol officers to contain the situation.  Yet Director Paul Hood must also confront a situation in his marriage while Darrel McCaskey, Op-Center’s FBI liaison deals with his old love interest an Interpol agent who decides to take out the would be Franco herself which complicates things with Striker and McCaskey personally.

 

Released in 1998, Balance of Power uses the tensions in Spain which resonates today given the situation in Catalonia and effectively conveys the tensions in the country.  Unlike the previous book in which a character’s stupidity—General Mike Rodgers—basically drove the plot, it was conspiracies against conspiracies with independent human actors fighting for their country, honor, and more driving the plot which was a vast improvement.  Maria Corneja, McCaskey’s ex and Interpol agent, is the most prominent secondary character and while she was fine overall, yet if you had changed her name to Mario (Italian I know) and “she” to “he” nothing would have changed—save the romantic angle—but to say Corneja was a man with tits would be going too far.  While there were little things here and there that seem like tiny plot holes, nothing really stood out as completely awful but if I were to choose the worst part of the book, it’s once again Paul and Sharon Hood’s marriage which has been choreographed to be doomed since the first book.

 

Like several books before it, Balance of Power is another Op-Center book with an intriguing plot idea but for once Jeff Rovin writes the characters and narrative to carry it instead of undermining it like the three previous installments.  While it’s not the greatest action thriller, it’s a solid story with interesting characters which is considerably better than all the other books in the series maybe even including the original Op-Center.

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review 2018-05-09 14:57
Acts of War (Op-Center #4)
Acts of War (Tom Clancy's Op-Center, #4) - Tom Clancy,Jeff Rovin,Steve Pieczenik

Decades of repression by several nations has led to a unprecedented unification of militants looking to create a nation for the Kurds and their plan is so audacious that it could result in a war ranging from the Arabian Sea into Eastern Europe and possibly the fracturing of NATO, Op-Center must manage to contain this crisis even as members of their own team are held hostage.  Written by Jeff Rovin, but named for Tom Clancy, Acts of War is the fourth book of the Op-Center series which sees a well-planned attack by Kurdish militants send Turkey and Syria on the verge of war as the action spans from Eastern Turkey to the streets of Damascus and the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.

 

A four-man team of Syrian Kurds cross into Turkey, attack the Turkish guards then are able to commander a military helicopter that they use to destroy the Ataturk Dam.  Nearby General Mike Rodgers heads a small team testing the first Regional Op-Center—ROC—that will allow for better crisis management, deciding to scout the attack on the Dam with a Turkish liaison officer, they are captured by three of the Kurds which leads to the capture of the ROC when they attempt to rescue the duo.  Meanwhile the strike of the Dam has cause Turkey to mobilize it’s forces south to the Syrian border, the Syrian mobilize theirs to the north, Iraq begins making moves towards Kuwait, and other nations begin stepping up their military including Greece which might ally itself with Syria.  With a possible general war in the Middle East about to break out the President sends Op-Center head Paul Hood to Damascus to negotiate with Syrian President.  Hood sends Op-Center’s military team, Striker, to Israel so as to set up a rescue of the capture ROC before the President decides to destroy it and the hostages in a missile strike before the Kurds can use US intelligence for the rest of their plan, including a coordinated attack in the heat of Damascus which puts Hood in the crossfire.  Through both luck and the calling in of various favors around the region, Op-Center is able to resolve the crisis before it escalates into general war but not without a price.

 

Released in 1997, Acts of War used the volatile political landscape of that time—and save the good relationship between Israel and Turkey of now—as the setting for this action thriller.  Unfortunately a lot of the book comes down to the stupidity of General Mike Rodgers’ essentially boyish need to be a cowboy instead of an actual military officer and then his actions against the Kurds while being a hostage the endangered all the other hostages before murdering a Kurd who tortured him after he had been captured by Striker.  The positives of the book such as the well thought out plan of the Kurdish militants to create a general war, the Israeli spy of Druze descent who scouts the Bekaa Valley and helping the now Brett August lead Striker team’s action in combat, and the analysis the various nightmare scenarios of a general war in the Middle East are all outweighed by everything dealing with Rodgers, including a Presidential pardon for killing said Kurd with no ramifications like say retiring, negates everything.

 

Acts of War, like several previous Op-Center books, has an intriguing plot idea that is undermined by poor writing though amazingly for different reasons than previous book.  Yet this book is a rather frustrating and somewhat disappointing read, more so than Mirror Image, because it shows Jeff Rovin is knowingly doing bad writing on an element in one book when he’s showed before or shows later that he knows how to write good on that same element.

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review 2018-04-15 14:49
Review of Without Remorse by Tom Clancy
Without Remorse - Tom Clancy

An entertaining read from Ton Clancy that tells the back story of John Clark and even a glimpse of a young Jack Ryan.  The plot twisted together two main stories about American POWs in Vietnam and the drug war back at home.  It had all the traditional Clancy techniques and conservative viewpoints, but as a reader you know that going in so I enjoyed it.  My plan was to try and read all of the Jack Ryan books in order, rereading quite a few, and I will certainly do that over time.  This was a good one to start.

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review 2018-03-10 02:09
Games of State (Op-Center #3)
Games of State (Tom Clancy's Op-Center, #3) - Tom Clancy,Jeff Rovin,Steve Pieczenik

The demons of hate are reemerging in the newly united Germany and finding root in various countries around the world linked through the shadowy recesses of the Internet and fueled by a businessman looking both for profit and triumph of bigotry, yet Op-Center must find a way to prevent chaos from exploding around the world.  Games of State is the third installment of Op-Center that bears the name of its creator Tom Clancy, yet is written by Jeff Rovin.  From Germany to the streets of the U.S. to southern France, the action and thrill are palpable as the race to prevent the rise of a new wave of hate.

 

Gerard Dominique, a French billionaire financier and computer game mogul, is uniting hate groups throughout Europe and the United States to destabilize numerous countries and allow France to once again lead Europe.  Part of his plan is to use hate filled video games downloaded onto the Internet and well time hate crimes in various locations to bring about political and societal chaos.  Yet the unplanned actions of other hate leaders resulting in a kidnapped young American woman needing to be rescued, the hate-filled enticement towards the son of Op-Center’s Striker team leader over the Internet, the unexpected meeting of Op-Center head Paul Hood with his former fiancée now a Dominique employee, and Dominique’s own hubris results in his plans failing to materialize.

 

Released in 1996, Games of State brought together many political and cultural threads to create the backdrop of very riveting political thriller with action-packed sequences as well.  However well the set up and the ideas were, the use of formulaic tropes that are standard in one-hour TV dramas and paperbacks undermined the potential of a book.  What was most disheartening was the ease in which I was able to see which newly introduced characters would result in instantly being important in a 100 or 200 pages just when they were needed, these and other plot twists decreases the enjoyment of the book.  Though one can argue that my complaints are to be expected in this type of book, I would argue that one doesn’t mind if the tropes are written well.

 

Games of State had an intriguing plot idea, but was undermined by poor writing decisions that turned what could have been a good page-turner into an okay read.  Though the book’s execution was poor, it was a better read than the previous Op-Center installment, Mirror Image, even with my rating being the same for the both of them.

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