Friday, April 16, 2021

Review: Tom Clancy Firing Point by Mike Maden

by Mike Maden
Release Date: June 9th 2020
2020 G.P. Putnam's Sons
Kindle Edition; 480 Pages
ISBN: 978-0593188064
Genre: Fiction / Thriller
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars
During a well-earned break, Jack Ryan Jr runs into old flame Renee Moore in a scenic Barcelona café.

But Renee is not so pleased to see him. Distracted, she says she's waiting for someone and can't talk. She promises to call him later, and sends him out onto the street.

Which is when the bomb goes off.

There's nothing he can do to save Renee. But as he cradles her, she utters one last word with her final breath: 'Sammler'

Who did she mean? What did she know? And what trouble had Renee got herself into?

When every thread Jack pulls threatens to make the situation ever more dangerous, he realises he's stumbled into an international conspiracy that might be more than even he can handle.
My Thoughts
Tom Clancy Firing Point was a solid entry in the Jack Ryan Jr. book series, and I did enjoy the ride.  There were a lot of things going on, but it was definitely formulaic: villain invents weapon intent on world domination, plot discovered by being at the right spot at the wrong time (who believes in coincidences, right?), good guys blow up everything, and all is resolved in the end.  Yes, formulaic, but except for a few things, I did manage to read this book in one night so something captured my attention.
There were a lot of secondary plot lines going on in this narrative, but that never bothers me as long as they come together in a cohesive ending, one that makes sense and doesn't take five chapters to explain at the end.  To be honest, I expect that in a thriller and I expect there to be a lot of moments where I don't necessarily understand what is going on or who to trust.  The original Tom Clancy novels were famous for his plot twists and confusing narrative threads, but it always came together.  With fifteen percent left of this book, I wasn't sure it was all going to come together in this one.  A lot of the book was spent explaining technology and how it worked; and while I appreciated that knowledge, it definitely took a lot of the suspense and edge away from the plot.  So, instead of sitting at the edge of my seat, I got...bored? 
Jack Ryan Jr. spends most of the book in Spain, and when he is in action, it is interesting and I really enjoyed his scenes.  However, a lot of the time was spent discussing Catalonian Independence, to the point where the obvious red herring stopped working. I think the word I am looking for here is overkill. I appreciated the knowledge and thought it was interesting the first time it was mentioned, but by the tenth, I was rolling my eyes.  And then the pages with all of the cargo ships sinking? And I wish more information regarding RAPTURE / TRIBULATION had been included as the reader would have learned more about the characters involved and maybe developed some understanding as to their motivations.  I have no problem being sympathetic to villains as I think that is when they are the most interesting.  In this book, I didn't really care what happened to most of the characters as they weren't really fleshed out.  And I'm not talking about recurring characters, such as John Clark or Mary Pat Foley, as most of them barely rated a mention.  
Tom Clancy Firing Point was a fun read, but there was really no depth to this book.  It took a while to really get going with the narrative, the differing plot points were kind of jumbled together, and I wasn't sure the author was going to be able to pull it off in the end.  There was a lot of technological discussion, which I appreciated, but I felt took away from character and plot development, as well as the suspense.   Would I recommend this book? Like always, you should judge for yourself.



  1. I read this one, but the books took a steep dive after The Bear And The Dragon, and the Campus characters just aren't interesting compared to the established characters.

    1. They gave me the next one to read (I think it releases in July), so I will give it one more shot. I do have another one featuring Clark that I am looking forward to reading. Hopefully it will be better.

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