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Without Remorse
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New or Used: 3 copies from $4.94
Tom Clancy takes us back to a formative episode in the life of John Kelly, a character familiar to his many readers as CIA legend Mr Clark
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Avid readers of Clancy's bestselling techno-thrillers ( The Hunt for Red October et al.) know agent John Kelly, code-named Mr. Clark, as Jack Ryan's ``dark side.'' Here, in 1970, Vietnam vet Kelly gets involved in a secret operation to rescue 20 American pilots from a North Vietnamese prison camp. Betrayed by someone in Washington, the mission ends in apparent failure. Clancy balances the military movements with a dark narrative of Kelly's tragic personal life. While mourning the death of his pregnant wife in a traffic accident, Kelly picks up a young hitchhiker named Pam, a prostitute and drug ``mule'' fleeing her cruel masters. The pair fall in love and set out to bring down the drug lords, but an error on Kelly's part leads to Pam's horrible demise at the hands of the vengeful criminals. After his own recovery from a shotgun blast, Kelly begins methodically to murder his way through the drug ring. Clancy attempts to rationalize this amoral crusade with passages of introspection by characters who are either noble warriors or human scum, but the technique doesn't wash. Although full of failings of style and moral judgment, this overlong, often melodramatic novel seems destined to follow its predecessors to the top of the bestseller lists. BOMC selection. (Aug.)

YA-Casualties mount as bloodshed continues in Vietnam and ruthless drug pushers attack the unsuspecting on the streets at home. Enter John Kelly, hero of prior Clancy novels, who will wage war on both fronts. In Vietnam he leads a team, but in Baltimore, he works alone, illegally and violently, killing one after another of those responsible for the death of someone he loved. The author is a master builder, creating a cohesive novel with two separate plot lines and a central hero. He pieces together seemingly unrelated scenes and characters much like one constructs a jigsaw puzzle. This technique can be confusing, but good readers will stick with it and get hooked. Kelly is a well developed, complex character-ruthless but tender; confident and nervous; calculating and precise, but occasionally careless, too. The action is fast paced, especially the climax. There is some technical military jargon, but less than in The Hunt for Red October (Naval Inst., 1984). Readers who have previously met Kelly will want to see him through this personal crisis, but beware, Without Remorse is not for the squeamish.-Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA

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