I just finished Tom Clancy’s not–new-anymore-but still-most-recent book, “Teeth of the Tiger”. I didn’t really like it, not because I disagree with Clancy’s politics or anything like that (although, I do on a lot of issues), but just because the book seemed to be relatively free of anything approaching suspense or conflict. Here’s the plot in a nutshell:
Arab terrorists shoot up some shopping malls, so Jack Ryan, Jr. and the Caruso twins, who have joined this top secret pseudo-governmental terrorist assassination squad, have to figure out who was involved. Jack finds somebody who was involved, pretty easily, then the Carusos kill him pretty easily. The Carusos then kill some other terrorist pretty easily, then a third terrorist, pretty easily. Then Jack, who joins them at the last minute, kills the terrorist mission planner pretty easily.
There’s no conflict, and, unlike his other books, his main characters are never in any danger, and there’s never any sense that they might not succeed. It’s not like The Hunt for Red October, where Jack Ryan has to figure out the Soviet sub is trying to defect and the Soviet captain has to avoid the Soviet fleet, or Cardinal of the Kremlin, where the CIA has to try to get a Russian double agent out of the Soviet Union before the KGB finds him. It’s not even Rainbow Six,which I didn’t like, where Clark and the gang have to figure out a biological warfare plot before its the bad guys can pull it off.
Teeth is a good beginning of a novel. The characters he establishes are likeable enough, I guess, and the setup one that could be dramatic, but there’s just no payoff.