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Target Acquired

Author: Don Bentley


Ever since Tom Clancy’s first Jack Ryan, Jr. book, “Teeth of the Tiger”, I have been a longtime fan of Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Jr. series. I enjoy the Jack Ryan Sr. novels as well, with their political, techno-thriller spin, but the Jack Jr. and The Campus books own the more intense action side of the Tom Clancy Universe. After reading "Tom Clancy’s Target Acquired" by new coauthor Don Bentley, my faith in revitalizing the Jack Jr. series has been restored. Grant Blackwood, Mark Greaney and Mike Maden all did good jobs with the Jack Jr./The Campus series of novels, but the series needed updating and evolving from the Cold War Clancy-like stories to the now post 9-11 terrorism-type stories.


Previous Clancy novels were heavy into the strength and details of the story plots with geo-political analysis and operational details that many times overwhelmed the few action sequences. Unfortunately, many of the Clancy books were soon overwhelmed by Clancy’s usual weaknesses of lengthy dialogue, sometimes thin characterizations of too many characters, endless repetition of back stories and partisan bumper-sticker politics. Not this new coauthored Clancy, Jack Jr. novel! Target Acquired is a measured response and an obvious attempt to reinvent the Clancy Universe into a more contemporary action-thriller series.


This eighth Jack Jr. book is one of the best Jack Jr. novels written and with Don Bentley now coauthoring the series, it has tremendous ‘action-thriller’ promise with more to come. Target Acquired surprises and entertains like Clancy’s Rainbow Six novel did. It charts a fascinating course through Israel and the Middle East with a chilling and intriguing look into international espionage, geo-political politics, Black Ops operations and cults.


The main character, Jack Ryan, Jr. was a much-improved protagonist in this book than of old. Bentley did an outstanding job in revitalizing Jack Jr.’s character. Bentley brought out the ‘unexplained’ reason why the son of the President of the United States is working as a senior analyst/black ops operator for a secret intelligence organization – The Campus. Jack Jr. was raised in politics and intrigue and as his father, Jack Ryan Sr. moved through the ranks of the CIA and then into the White House, Jack Jr. received a life lesson of the world and the way it operates from federal agents, political statesmen, CIA analysts, Secret Service agents, and Black Ops operators like John Clark and Ding Chavez.


Bentley’s characterization of Jack Jr. in this book, brought all of this to light and how Jack Jr. finally put all of this together without it coming across too “cartoonish” and with some true realization. I also love the characterization of the female Air Force F-35 fighter pilot, Captain Natalie “Daisy” Smith…she was a “badass” and Bentley’s writing of the F-35 scenes were top-notch!

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Bentley also provides the typical Jack Jr. ‘James Bond-like’ flirting, seducing, and toying with attractive females, but that’s to be expected in the spy, espionage genre. Jack Jr. is an attractive American spy that many women can’t seem to resist.


Tremendously happy with how Target Acquired turned out. Bentley, not only wrote a great story, but he also told it with improving the series for future highly anticipated reading. Two-thumbs up on Target Acquired by Don Bentley.


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