by JMM Capitola CA
Storyline is good with a little less detailed political commentary it could be a five star.
Lou Diamond Phillips is one of the best narrators I have heard in my many years of listening audio books.
This may be a good read but makes a terrible audiobook. Takes forever to get into the story with far too much irrelevant description and background. It might be the first audiobook I ever delete before completeing.
I was very disappointed with this book. Tom Clancy has gone from someone who has written some very good spy novels (my personal favorite being Cardinal of the Kremlin) to an author who wants to shove his ultra conservative views at you throughout his novels. The "good guys" in Dead or Alive are spend a good deal of their time justifying torture and barely putting up with the liberals who are "ruining their country". His monotonous pounding in of his view points would be more tolerable if at least the story was decent, but I didn't find it to be original or have much redeeming about it.
Tom Clancy's vision of the world of Jack Ryan is a scary place where covert, agents who are not associated with any government agency freely roam the world (including the United States) killing and torturing off hand anyone whom they want to and where all who disagree with them are either annoying fools who need to be (barely) tolerated or terrorists who must be eliminated.
I usually like Tom Clancy but I found the first 2/3's of this book short on plot and long on character conservative political musings/rants. Finally in the final 1/3 the plot moves along and the ideology lectures become mercifully abbreviated. I think some ideology to set the stage and develop the characters is fine but when a variation of the same "lecture" comes around the 3rd time by the same character one starts to roll one's eyes.
I'm not a very critical reader/listener but I found this book faintly disappointing. More editing and a shorter novel would have been better.
Perhaps this book is better read where sections can be skipped than as an audio book. However it is no fault of the narrator who I think did a great job.
Clancy gets 2 stars solely due to his research for this book much of the rest filled with him taking cheap political and personal shots at democrats. He goes to such laughably ridiculous lengths to make the dems look inept, corrupt, and down right evil that the Osama Bin Laden character comes out looking like the better person. Democrats prosecuting an army ranger for murder because he shot Taliban soldiers on the field of battle? Please.
Note, I haven't finished the story yet, but I wanted to offer this up for people considering the purchase.
Generally, the story is typical Tom Clancy - lots of spies and bullets entering people's heads and what not- but I am having trouble with the political commentary. I'm pretty moderate (I believe war is war and it doesn't have any rules), but I'm getting sick of the constant, unnecessary political commentary.
On my drive to work this morning (about 30 minutes), I had to endure thinly-veiled criticims of Obama, Hillary Clinton, Harvard Law School, the Supreme Court, the editorial section of the New York Times, and even the dismissal of General McChrystal.
I'm enjoying the story, I guess, but the childish political commentary is making it very difficult.
This was an awesome book to listen to. It seems like Tom Clancy, with Grant Blackwood, has hit another one over the fence. The best part of this book is that the plot, with exceptions as always, actually seems somewhat plausible. He has gotten back to his roots and written a great novel that deserves a place "on your shelf" along with Rainbow Six, Sum of All Fears and Red Storm Rising.
I have heard almost all of Tom's audiobooks books, and I couldn't wait for this one. It was a total disappointment. The story doesn't even make sense in some areas. For example, Jack deciding to run for president a second time over a drink. Sure, no problem. One phone call and everything is set! Stereotypes run wild in this thing. It really made me wonder if Clancy actually wrote it. Maybe he wrote about 5 hours of it, and FOX filled in the rest. Most of Clancy's older stuff is very good. I would suggest skipping this one. I doubt that I will buy another one.
One star is for Clancy getting this piece of trash published, the other for Lou Diamond Phillips' excellent narration.
The plot is truncated and by the time it resolved, I was just plain glad to be done with the book. The weak plotting is further degraded by Clancy's fondness for three-letter acronyms, the majority of which are not explained. At first, I tried to figure them out, but the effort added nothing to my enjoyment of the book so stopped doing it.
Similarly, the characters are flat, two-dimensional, undeveloped and not engaging. There are too many of them, and Clancy throws them at the reader like confetti, with the same annoying mess as a result.
Clancy's political views are on full display. They're as ill conceived as the plot; you could drive an entire freight train through the holes in his thinking. In Clancy's world, we would be governed not by elected officials but by shadowy "spooks" who operate outside the law, but are so wise they always do the right thing. In Clancy's opinion, they're wiser by far than the current president of the US.
The book can be read as a novel, but seems to be more of a warning of future horrors to come, horrors that overshadow even 9/11.
Lou Diamond Phillips does an excellent job as a narrator, and I hope to hear more of him.