The General’s Daughter (Paul Brenner #1) by Nelson deMille
Captain Ann Campbell is a West Point graduate, the daughter of legendary General “Fighting Joe” Campbell. She is the pride of Fort Hadley until, one morning, her body is found, naked and bound, on the firing range.
Paul Brenner is a member of the Army’s elite undercover investigative unit and the man in charge of this politically explosive case. Teamed with rape specialist Cynthia Sunhill, with whom he once had a tempestuous, doomed affair, Brenner is about to learn just how many people were sexually, emotionally, and dangerously involved with the Army’s “golden girl.” And how the neatly pressed uniforms and honor codes of the military hide a corruption as rank as Ann Campbell’s shocking secret life.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Overall a very good story and well written. It’s a difficult task to take on with two topics you don’t see much of in books – murder/rape on a military base and the impact of introducing women into the armed services. I thought that they were both handled pretty well.
The difference between crime investigation and procedure in the army versus civilian life was intriguing and Brenner is an interesting character with a surprisingly cavalier attitude towards the army and procedures, not what you would expect from a long serving soldier.
I did enjoy the book very much but found the use of leaps of intuition and guesswork to solve the case frustrating. Too much of it came out of nowhere. Maybe that’s the result of years of experience as an investigator but I found it to be lazy writing.
The book has also been made into a film. Reading the synopsis on Wikipedia it seems they have made some interesting plot changes. I’m not usually a fan of John Travolta but might be tempted to watch it.
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Clear and Present Danger (Jack Ryan #5) by Tom Clancy
Colombian drug lords, bored with Uncle Sam’s hectoring, assassinate the head of the FBI. The message is clear: Bug off!
At what point do these druggies threaten national security? When can a nation act against its enemies? These are questions Jack Ryan must answer because someone has quietly stepped over the line.
Does anyone know who the real enemy is? How much action is too much? Which lines have been crossed? Ryan and his “dark side”, a shadowy field officer known only as Mr. Clark, are charged with finding out. They expect danger from without… but the danger from within may be the greatest of all.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Yet again this author suffers from putting way too much material into one story. It’s at least 30% too long and needed slimmed down considerably.
The first half was pretty good and I really enjoyed the switch of scenery from bad guy Russian spies to bad guy Columbian drug cartels. I also really enjoyed the introduction of some new characters, such as Chavez and Cortez and the reintroduction of characters such as Clarke and Dan Murray.
The second half lost focus though. There was too much made of the disappearance of the special ops teams and trying to find out where they went and too much detail in the initial deployment and redeployment. I really did enjoy the hunt element of the second half though, the battles with the cartel soldiers and eventual evacuation of the special ops teams.
Overall a good story. The military and weapons details are lost on me but I understand that appeals to a lot of Clancy’s readers. A nice change of scenery and definitely worth a read.
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Patriot Games (Jack Ryan #1) by Tom Clancy
It is fall. Years before the defection of a Soviet submarine will send him hurtling into confrontation with the Soviets, historian, ex-Marine and CIA analyst Jack Ryan is vacationing in London with his wife and young daughter, when a terrorist attack takes place before his eyes. Instinctively, he dives forward to break it up, and is shot. It is not until he wakes up in the hospital that he learns whose lives he has saved — the Prince and Princess of Wales and their new young son — and which enemies he has made — the Ulster Liberation Army, an ultra-left-wing splinter of the IRA.
By his impulsive act, he has gained both the gratitude of a nation and then enmity of hits most dangerous men — men who do not sit on their hate. And in the weeks and months to come, it is Jack Ryan, and his family, who will become the targets of that hate.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is the second Jack Ryan novel published by Tom Clancy but it’s the first chronologically and prior to “The Hunt for Red October” which was published first. This was confusing at first as Ryan is still a teacher and only starts working with the CIA during the story.
This is quite a long book. It’s split into three connected storylines that chronicle Jack Ryan’s interaction with a fictitious extremist Irish terrorist organisation that is trying to destroy and supplant the IRA who they feel is too moderate. It initially starts in London when Ryan prevents an attack on the Royal Family. It then moves to the USA when Ryan and his family return home and the main terrorist antagonist looks for revenge.
Overall it was a very enjoyable book. There is still quite a lot of military and intelligence terminology but nothing like Red October and much more readable. He also manages not to fall into the “Oirish” trap with the Irish characters. It’s written and set in the mid 80s so the technology and politics are definitely of its time.
Like Red October this book was also made into a very successful film starring Harrison Ford.
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The Hunt for Red October (Jack Ryan #1) by Tom Clancy
Here is the runaway bestseller that launched Tom Clancy’s phenomenal career. A military thriller so gripping in its action and so convincing in its accuracy that the author was rumored to have been debriefed by the White House. Its theme: the greatest espionage coup in history. Its story: the chase for a top secret Russian missile sub. Lauded by the Washington Post as “breathlessly exciting.” The Hunt for Red October remains a masterpiece of military fiction by one of the world’s most popular authors, a man whose shockingly realistic scenarios continue to hold us in thrall.
Somewhere under the Atlantic, a Soviet sub commander has just made a fateful decision. The Red October is heading west. The Americans want her. The Russians want her back. And the most incredible chase in history is on…
My Rating: ⭐⭐
I’m sure I’ve read a few of Tom Clancy’s books before but a long time ago. I decided to come back to them off the back of watching the TV show from Amazon. I couldn’t remember any of the story lines so not sure what it’s based on. I’ve also seen the film version of this book a couple of times so had a pretty good idea of the main characters and the storyline.
Overall I was disappointed. There is a huge amount of military jargon used in the story. Some of it is explained but there is just so much of it and so many acrynoms that I couldn’t keep track. Added to that there are an awful lot of characters, most of them minor, which makes it difficult to follow. The story skips about quite a lot which adds to this. Another reviewer described it like “bring your kid to work day” and being dragged around her Dad’s workplace meeting loads of people she didn’t know and in jobs she didn’t understand. I totally understand where she’s coming from!
What saved the book for me (apart from having loads of isolation induced time to spend reading) was the last 30%. Once the US make contact with the sub commander the story really changes. The boring, technical sub chase and evade story is finished and it becomes much more of a standard thriller type story with a military influence. This last bit of the book was enough to make me want to read more of the author and hopefully find out what makes him so popular.