Paulinewashington's Reviews > The Hunt for Red October

The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
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's review
Dec 07, 2011

really liked it

First off, I have to give Tom Clancy credit for really doing his homework for this. He knew his stuff backwards and forwards, as he demonstrated amply. The problem was, he suffered from what I call "Michael Crichton Syndrome," although, to be fair, Clancy was writing first, so he probably invented it. I just read Crichton first. But it translates to: "ALL OF MY RESEARCH, LET ME SHOW YOU IT." The story that Clancy was spinning involved very technical, deeply specialized information, and he had to lay it out, in detail, to explain what he was doing. I understood and appreciated that he went to the trouble of all that research to make sure what he was writing was correct, but honestly, there's a point where realistic turned into boring. When I'm reading or watching spy thrillers, I want to see James Bond jump off a crane, or Sydney Bristow run down a hallway from a giant exploding red ball of toxic water. Technically correct analysis of information that has to be shared with superiors and discussed in a rational way just gets old. Also, I'm not really sure how Jack Ryan was supposed to be the hero or even the main character of this. I know that Tom Clancy writes The Jack Ryan Books, but Ryan really didn't have much of a part in all of this.
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I also had problems with his writing style, which was very choppy in parts, and his POV issues. The POV shifts constantly within each scene, which is a major pet peeve of mine. But it was either his first book, or one of his first books, so I'll have to read some others to see if he ironed out the kinks and learned how to integrate research with writing without being so talky. And, honestly, I will probably re-read this at least a couple more times, too, to try to get a better handle on the event order that went by too fast this time.
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