This review contains no spoilers.
Book Name: Tom Clancy Full Force and Effect
Author: Mark Greaney
Series: #10 in the ongoing series featuring “Jack Ryan”
Publisher(s): Putnam Adult
Release Date: December 2, 2014
Officially Tom Clancy Full Force and Effect is Mark Greaney’s second solo effort in the “Jack Ryan” universe created by Tom Clancy, but after reading Support and Defend (you can see my review of the book right here) and now Full Force and Effect something is becoming apparent: Greaney likely wrote most of the last few “Jack Ryan” books on his own. It would be easy to mimic Clancy’s style in a book that doesn’t contain all the main players like Support and Defend did, but to write so similarly to the style Clancy used recently after no Clancy books for years and to hit the nail on the head so cleanly one can only conclude that the last three “Jack Ryan” novels, Locked On, Threat Vector, and Command Authority shouldn’t be listed as “with” Mark Greaney but instead “by” Mark Greaney.
And as a huge Clancy fan, I’m OK with that.
Full Force and Effect is a solid story, with all the plot twists and well written suspense sequences that readers expect from the series. The “in your face” bad guys are North Korean, but like Clancy before him Greaney has a “behind the scenes” guy that turns out to be the real issue for the good guys. Like Greaney did in Support and Defend none of the bad guys are “super villains”. Every one of them does things logically for their own reasons and are totally believable. I’m a big fan of antagonists doing things that make sense, and so far Greaney is batting 1.000 on that.
I did originally have an issue with the way Greaney portrayed the John Clark character in Full Force and Effect. Greaney didn’t really have Clark being as intense as Clancy wrote the character. It annoyed me because Clark is one of my favorite characters in the series and in Full Force and Effect there wasn’t any real attempt to give Clark that edge he used to have. After discussing the book with friends I brought that point up, and it was then that I realized I missed the obvious: with Clark getting older and with the events in his recent past Clark really isn’t that edgy guy anymore. Even though he still goes into the field he’s made the complete transition from operative to instructor. The end of Full Force and Effect supports that theory because eventually Clark really gives it to one of the antagonists like the “old days”. Now I’m looking forward to see what Greaney does with Clark.
Pet peeve alert: There are a couple scenes where motorcycles play a role. Why do authors just presume everyone knows how to ride one? It’s one of those things I just chuckle at when reading a book. I’d love to read a story where the bad guy doesn’t get away because he doesn’t know how to change gears. Or stop. I would probably laugh hard at that.
So I’m now convinced the “Jack Ryan” universe is safe in Mark Greaney’s hands. Of course now I feel compelled to pick up Greaney’s other books. I’m sure he won’t be unhappy about that.