Saturday, November 6, 2021

Review: Target Acquired by Don Bentley

by Don Bentley
Release Date: June 8, 2021
2021 G.P. Putnam's Sons
Kindle Edition; 480 Pages
ISBN: 978-0593188132
Audiobook: B08MBBVNC7
Genre: Fiction / Thriller
Source: Review copy from publisher
4 / 5 Stars
Jack Ryan Jr would do anything for Ding Chavez. That's why Jack is currently sitting in an open air market in Israel helping a CIA team with a simple job. The man running the mission, Peter Beltz, is an old friend from Ding's army days. Ding hadn't seen his friend since Peter's transfer to the CIA eighteen months prior and intended to use the assignment to reconnect. Unfortunately, Ding had to cancel at the last minute and asked Jack to take his place. It's a cushy assignment--an all expense paid trip to Israel in exchange for a couple hours of easy work, but Jack could use the downtime after his last operation.

Jack is here merely as an observer, but when he hastens to help a woman and her young son, he finds himself the target of trained killers. Alone and outgunned Jack will have to use all his skills to protect the life of the child.
My Thoughts
Target Acquired is the nest instalment in the Jack Ryan, Jr series, and while I was unsure if the author transition would mesh seamlessly from Mike Maden to Don Bentley, I think the author did a great job picking up the nuances and personalities of the Ryan world.  Were there some issues? Of course. But the action was fun, and Jack certainly got into a world of hurt in this one.

First of all, I really liked that Jack Ryan, Jr was pretty much on his own in this one, relying only a few times on a couple of members of his team/friends.  I've always felt like Jack needed to break away from his father's legacy and show everyone exactly what he was capable of, and I think this is the book that is starting the wave of showcasing his immense talents.  I liked that he was a bit impulsive, but used his training and skills to get things done effectively.  Did this get him into trouble? Of course, or there wouldn't be a novel or story.  If Jack wasn't being tied up, beaten, interrogated, and so on, at least once in a novel, it wouldn't be Jack.  And I always look forward to seeing how he gets out of those scrapes he gets into. Don't get me wrong as I love Clark, Chavez, and Dom, but I read a Jack Ryan, Jr novel to see how Jack is growing and developing in his job.  

This book is all action, and I appreciated that.  It's not that I don't mind the cultural aspects of the other books as I find them interesting, but I really felt like they were more predictable whereby Jack would meet a woman, they would travel around, some action would occur, and then back to the idyllic stuff.  A bit boring.  This book was different as the action picked up right from the beginning and didn't let up until the last page.  While I did enjoy that, it didn't leave much room for character development so I had no empathy for the people kidnapped as I didn't really learn much about them.  There needs to be more of a balance so you have sympathy for the characters when something happens to them.  

Target Acquired was a fun book, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.  I loved Don Bentley's Matt Drake books so I had high hopes when he took over the Jack Ryan series, and he definitely lived up to expectations especially considering he has to work within the rules and regulations of the Clancy estate.  While the action was non-stop, it did not leave a lot of room for character development, and some things from previous books were deliberately omitted.  I also felt the ending was rushed so it wasn't quite satisfactory.  Otherwise, a good book, and I am looking forward to the next entry. 



  1. I have to admit, I'm frustrated with the Clancy legacy books.