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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer

Clear and Present Danger

By Tom Clancy
Berkley Books, 688 pp, 1989

I am a recent Clancy fan. I read my first Tom Clancy book, The Hunt for Red October, in the summer of 1999, and was immediately hooked. Heís a great writer, with well-paced plots, intriguing characters, and vivid battle scenes. In fact, I have vowed to read every Clancy book in the order written.

Clear and Present Danger is the latest.

It includes the usual cast of characters so familiar to Clancy readers: Jack Ryan, Ritter, The Judge, Jon Clark, Robby Jackson. The enemy is the leader of the Colombian drug cartel and his head spy, in addition to the National Security Adviser of the United States.

Clancy weaves quite the complicated little conspiracy, a tad too complicated, in my opinion. He could have easily eliminated some minor characters and tiny subplots, whacked a hundred or so pages, and still produce a great book. But thatís a minor quibble. I enjoy reading his style, so a few extra words are not a big deal.

In case youíre wondering, I did see the movie (before I read the book), and I liked it, especially because Harrison Ford is my favorite actor. But, as is always the case, the book was better.

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