DEAD OR ALIVE by Tom Clancy and Grant Blackwood [Review]

As the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.” For Tom Clancy fans, Dead or Alive was definitely worth the seven-year wait, as it provided a gripping action packed story with the characters fans have enjoyed for the last two decades. I have been a huge fan of Tom Clancy since I first read Red Storm Rising in high school, so I actually read Dead or Alive right when it came out last December and instantly loved it. I decided to hold off on writing a review for a few months later to make sure my reaction wasn’t all fan boy glee. After a couple of re-readings I’m pretty confident in my first impression and think that you will enjoy it as well.

Dead or Alive starts off soon after the events of The Teeth of the Tiger. The Campus, the secret anti-terrorism organization created by Jack Ryan during his time as President, is still on the trail of a dangerous terrorist known as The Emir. Unknown to Ryan, his son has joined The Campus, and meets up with familiar faces as they try to stop an upcoming attack on America before its too late. Meanwhile, after a quiet few years away from the public, Ryan Sr. is faced with a critical decision that could affect the course of history.

Although I’ve already said how much I liked Dead or Alive, lets go into some of the details. The book’s plot lines were well paced and easily flowed together without feeling forced. The same goes with how the different characters were integrated into the main storyline, which felt like it was done in an organic manner. This book was actually co-authored with Grant Blackwood, though you couldn’t really tell as it read just like the other Clancy books.

The one thing that didn’t sit well with me, though, was a very awkward transition near the middle of the book that just didn’t make sense. I won’t go into details to avoid spoiling folks, but at first I thought my hard cover edition was missing pages and I even checked the ebook version to see if it was different. It’s really a speed bump in the flow of the story, but it’s not going to detract from your enjoyment of the book. Hopefully the authors will explain what was going on in that part of the book or correct it in a future edition.

Dead or Alive is great for fans of Tom Clancy books or other action packed spy or political thrillers like those from Vince Flynn or Robert Ludlum. Age wise I’d say the book is really for adult readers, considering the some of the complicated subjects involved and some of the action scenes that can be violent (but not in a gratuitous manner). While Dead or Alive is part of the Jack Ryan series of books, one of the things I like the most about Clancy’s books is that he does a good job in creating a self contained story for each novel, but still ties it to the overall series. So you can start by reading Dead or Alive, just don’t be surprised if you want to go back and read Clancy’s earlier books.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Putnam | Pages: 848 | Source: Purchased | Buy on Amazon

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