Mike Maden takes over the reins of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Jr. series with Point of Contact, which features plenty of page-turning propulsion and the high-stakes excitement fans expect. Perfect for the armchair action-junkies who like their books blockbuster-movie paced and their characters uncomplicated.
When former US Senator Weston Rhodes approaches financial analyst firm Hendley Associates — the cover for the top-secret American intelligence agency The Campus — to look into the books of Singapore-based Dalfan Technologies, Jack Ryan Jr. and Paul Brown — a seemingly harmless, mild-mannered forensic accountant — are tasked with the mission. But neither man fully trusts one another: Paul can sense there’s more to the President’s son than mets the eye, and Jack Ryan Jr. recognises something’s off about the supposed desk jockey. But soon enough, against the backdrop of North Korean missile testing and a deadly cyclone encroaching on the island nation, Jack and Paul find themselves with bigger problems than their mutual distrust; the kind of trouble that comes in the form of trained assassins and a threat to derail the world economy.
Clancy fans will feel safe in the hands of Maden, an author with a bunch of techno-thrillers already to his name. There’re some moments when the plot grinds — a ridiculous amount of time is spent on Jack Ryan Jr. learning knife combat, for example — but that’s all par for the course. Point of Contact doesn’t win any points for style or substance, but it does its job, and fills the Clancy-shaped hole in our lives that Mark Greaney and Grant Blackwood filled in ably.