x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Locked On: another flawed Tom Clancy audition for a co-author

Written in partnership with Mark Greaney, this thriller sees the return of Jack Ryan and his familiar cohorts with Dubai getting a star turn.

The auditions continue.

That's the suspicion, certainly, by Tom Clancy fans, as the master of international espionage maintains his new practice of writing with a co-author. No doubt he and his publisher are looking for that certain someone to take over the franchise, or maybe Clancy's passion is not as great as it once was.

This time around - the third in a row with two names on the dust jacket - Mark Greaney, the author of The Gray Man thriller series, is the writing partner. While there is no telling who penned how much, Locked On is more enjoyable than its two predecessors, Against All Enemies and Dead or Alive. Credit, perhaps, the return to the world of the former US President Jack Ryan and his familiar cohorts, but this new novel seems more in Clancy's authentic voice. And Dubai features prominently, making the book even more engaging for UAE readers.

Still, as nuclear blackmail looms in the Middle East, the right-wing polemics have never been more heavy-handed, and a subplot in which Ryan Jr gets a love interest is simply ludicrous.

While readable, this is a flawed Clancy, with or without a co-author.