Losing Tom Clancy

October 3, 2013
Tom Clancy R.I.P.

Tom Clancy R.I.P.

In losing Tom Clancy, an icon of popular fiction for our age disappears.  Clancy made every thriller writer since the mid-1980s dig deeper into the research files than ever before to get his facts straight, in any military arena in which he set his plots.

Remember, Clancy was doing this research in the pre-Internet age, when a single fact might require telephone calls, trips to the library or bookstore, security clearances, and meetings with informed sources.

It was Clancy’s attention to detail that made an introduction to Hollywood so simple, along with his international plots.  Clancy made his way into feature films with The Hunt for Red October, The Sum of All Fears, Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games, and slated for posthumous release this fall, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.   Clancy also made great strides with successful titles in the video gaming world including Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell, and Rainbow Six.

In the mid-1980’s Clancy himself was stepping onto the thriller author’s path blazed by Scotsman, Alistair MacLean.  MacLean was another fine adventure writer, extremely popular in the 1960s and 1970s.  He also enjoyed the attentions of Hollywood, with several books shot into film, including Ice Station Zebra, The Guns of Navarone, Where Eagles Dare, and even a sequel spinoff, Force Ten from Navarone.  It is interesting to note that actor Harrison Ford appeared works by both MacLean and Clancy, Force Ten from Navarone, as well as Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.

With the Jack Reacher series, Lee Child is well on his way to succeed MacLean and Clancy, in terms of best-selling adventure books, as well as books-into-films.  We cannot forget the stalwart Clive Cussler’s, Dirk Pitt, and the king of them all, Ian Fleming, and his dissipated Scottish super-spy, James Bond.

I hope you’ll take a moment or two to get to know these authors, especially the dearly departed Tom Clancy.  Many’s the hour I enjoyed reading his books, and delighted in watching films based on his work.

Then you can look up my hero, Ben Blackshaw, while you’re at it.  He is the dark horse character in the thriller category, but a respectable comer all the same.