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review 2020-05-06 14:20
Scorched Earth (Op-Center #15)
Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Scorched Earth - George Galdorisi

After making a huge propaganda killing against the United States, a terrorist leader is incensed when a retaliatory strike hits too close to home and makes his war even more personal. Scorched Earth is the third book of the Op-Center reboot and the first exclusively by George Galdorisi as retired Admiral Chase Williams coordinates his Op-Center team in fighting the war on terror that has suddenly become personal on both sides.

General Bob Underwood—a special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL—is kidnapped after his security detail is massacred then hours later is beheaded on live television. American forces retaliate with a strike on Mosul resulting in the death of the ISIS leader's son, his father promises vengeance. A homegrown terrorist cell kidnaps the admiral who oversaw the strike on ISIS but are accidentally foiled in their attempted to send him to Mosul to be killed and retreat to a hideaway in rural Maryland. Based off information that it’s Geek Team Op-Center’s SEAL team is sent to Iraq to investigate all the aircraft delivering to the city, but come up empty resulting in the Geek Team backtracking and the terrorist cell and finding their location in Maryland. Op-Center’s CIRG team locates the house and rescues the admiral while taking out half of the terror cell. Meanwhile the admiral’s son, a SEAL himself, believing the Navy fumbled the ball goes AWOL to Iraq with help from an old teammate and infiltrates the ISIS headquarters in Mosul but is captured. The SEAL team, with information from the Geek Team, with a contingent of Rangers rescues the prodigal son while shaming the ISIS leader.

Like the previous book this was quickly moving story was an engaging read from start to finish, especially the first two-thirds of the book when the kidnapping of the admiral was the main plot. However, once his son decided to go rogue the end of the book was relatively telegraphed paint-by-the numbers ending. Yet despite the “going rogue” cliché and the ISIS leader’s desire to “go live for the evening news”, the action was particularly good which made up a tad for the headshaking narrative turn. Overall Galdorisi’s solo effort was good and while I wish he would have avoided the stupid “going rogue” trope as it probably would have improved the book some, it did not ruin it.

Scorched Earth is a good military-political thriller and is George Galdorisi only solo effort in the reboot series, so far. While I did not like subplot that finished off the book, it did not make the book bad and throughout the action scenes were solid. Overall, this book is better than a vast majority of the original Op-Center run.

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text 2020-04-03 17:06
#FridayReads 4.3.2020
Wild Fire - Ann Cleeves
No Wind of Blame - Georgette Heyer
Few Eggs and No Oranges: The Diaries of Vere Hodgson 1940-45 - Vere Hodgson,Jenny Hartley
Debt of Honor - Tom Clancy
The Late Show - Michael Connelly

My reads today & over the weekend:


Wild Fire is the last book in the Shetland series, which I've decided to finish so I can take it off my active series list. I put an ehold on it and it came through right away!


No Wind of Blame is the pandemic buddy read of the week - can't wait! We read tomorrow. Or when convenient.


A Few Eggs and No Oranges is a long diary of wartime London. I've read about 30 pages, and so far I really like it. It's best in small bites.


Debt of Honor just came through from the library. I have it for 14 days, but will probably finish it next week.


The Late Show is next up in my obsessive Bosch read. 


And that will probably take care of things until next Friday!

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review 2020-04-02 05:52
Executive Orders re-read
Executive Orders - Tom Clancy

Given my current country of residence's complete incompetence and the news that my native land is trying to be the world leader in everything including incompetence, I needed to escape to a world where real problems are met and dealt with by leaders with integrity and the skills to think through issues rationally with a view towards the long-term.


In other words, a fantasy.


I have always been and will always be, an unapologetic fan of Clancy's works - the ones he wrote himself - so falling back into Jack Ryan's world was, if not a comfort, at least familiar and comfortable.  It's been 2 decades since I last read this, and it generally holds up perfectly.  The first half of the book is a bit overly idealistic, but what struck me about it is that Tom Clancy showed a startling degree of prescience not just in some of his major plot lines, but in his story arc.


Executive Orders is the story about a non-politician ending up as President of the United States, vowing to eject the political riff-raff out of Washington, and appointing business sector executives to the cabinet to get things done.


Sound familiar?  Of course, Jack Ryan wasn't a paranoid narcissist and he was highly educated and qualified regardless of his lack of political savvy.  He also had more integrity than your garden variety black widow spider.  But Clancy imagined the world we live in today twenty years ago, with startling accuracy, albeit in the most idealistic light.


His idealism extended to America's response (and only America because his plot extended no further) to the epidemic that grips the country in Executive Orders; his national lockdown works flawlessly; almost nobody ignores the mandate, there are no rushes on grocery stores, and there's no general panic.  Of course, I'd like to think that any country's population would react to an epidemic of ebola exponentially better than they're reacting (or not) to the corona pandemic, so maybe my faith in humanity hasn't been completely snuffed out.


Either way, it was good to revisit a world that works, even when everything is pear-shaped.

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review 2020-03-30 20:11
The Witch Cave (The Bell Witch #3)
The Witch Cave - Sara Clancy
Philomena, Osgood, Cadwyn and Basheba are the last four descendants of the Crane, Davis, Winthrop and Bell lines to be selected to go into the Witch's Wood and complete her challenges.  After surviving Katrina's challenges and going back into the Wood to try to stop her one and for all, the four have forged an unbreakable bond.  Now, the four have been training to go into the Witch Caves where they believe Katrina is buried.  They want to find her remains in order to stop the curse again.  However, the town cult finds out what the four are up to and now Mina, her brother Jeremiah,  Ozzie, Cadwyn and Basheba have to deal with a panicked Witch, crazy cult and the dangers of the Cave.
I really enjoyed the first two books of the Bell Witch series and would highly recommend reading those first in order to understand the Witch, her harvest and what builds the unwavering relationship between these four characters.  The Witch Cave amps up the intensity with the group trying to outwit both Katrina and the cult.  All of the characters are still wonderful and continue to grow.  I enjoyed seeing Mina stands up to her family once again and tries to learn everything she can about how to kill a ghost.  Ozzie uses his family's money for good and learns how to deep sea dive as he comes to the realization that he is not the weakest link in the group.  Cadwyn continued to amaze me with his levelheadedness, caring and medical skill.  I appreciated learning more about his time caring foris little brother, Abraham after his trial in the Witch Woods.  This gave a lot of insight into his character as well as showed Katrina's power as she transported Cadwyn back to the abandoned psychiatric hospital in Massachusetts where Abraham spent his last days. Basheba also continued to be a fierce powerhouse along with her dog Buck.  More of her history is revealed along with her families entanglements with the darker side of humanity and a creature called the Leviathan.  The writing continuously builds apprehension as fearsome creatures and obstacles created especially for each character get in their way.  The story ends with an unexpected bang and I can't wait to see what the next book brings. 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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review 2020-03-26 23:21
Zero Hour (Power Plays #7)
Zero Hour (Tom Clancy's Power Plays, #7) - Tom Clancy,Jerome Preisler,Martin H. Greenberg

Precious stones, secret technology, and black-market deals plus New York City makes for an interesting combination that slowly finds UpLink getting involved via an unexpected source.  Zero Hour is the seventh book of Tom Clancy’s Power Plays series written by Jeremy Preisler who brings together secondary characters from previous books to join the main cast.


Patrick Sullivan leaves his mistress’ apartment to meet his buyer of artificially created sapphires as well as plans for a laser gun codenamed Dragonfly but is killed by his buyer and becomes a missing person.  Sullivan’s employer, a Pakistani national who doesn’t know Sullivan stole the plan, is planning to use the laser gun for a massive terrorist attack by releasing a deadly acid vapor cloud over New York City as well as sell the other prototype to Muslim freedom fighters in Kashmir.  Sullivan’s wife goes to an UpLink employee who was his last meeting and asked for Sword’s help—thanks to newspaper reporting on UpLink’s help to find the Russian conspirators who attacked Time’s Square—to find her husband.  The employee goes around the local Sword leader to Roger Gordian to ask for the favor forcing the new UpLink CEO to send Tom Ricci to New York to investigate the matter.  Ricci and the local Sword leader discuss her investigation into Sullivan’s employer on what to do with the Sullivan matter then Ricci goes to upstate New York to spy on Sullivan’s employer and sees men packing things into a U-Haul that he tails to a nearby motel and has a local Sword operative observe it while learning where it was rented.  Unfortunately, one of the terrorists make the lookout and arrange an escape, but Ricci meets with Sullivan’s murderer and learns about the Dragonfly that he connects with where the U-Haul was rented.  Ricci leads a Sword team that intercepts that van just before the laser gun was powered up.


Honestly the above synopsis is leaving out two subplots that at the end of the book amounted to just taking up space even though one was entertaining and had potential to add to the overall story but fizzled to nothing.  Upon ending this book it wasn’t hard to rate this the worst book of the Power Plays series as nothing really came together and Preisler focused on characters who in the end amounted to nothing in the overall scheme of things while a character study on Ricci was underwhelming.  And as one of the shortest books in the series it really tells and exposes one of the biggest weaknesses of Preisler’s writing.


Zero Hour is short and devoid of coherence in the various narrative threads while focusing on characters that in the end did not having anything to do with the endgame.  Jeremy Preisler has written some good installments of this series, but all the things he’s done wrong in the so-so installments were on display making for a disappointing book.

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