cover image Tom Clancy: Firing Point

Tom Clancy: Firing Point

Mike Maden. Putnam, $29 (480p) ISBN 978-0-593-18806-4

Bestseller Maden’s unfocused fourth entry in Clancy’s Jack Ryan Jr. franchise (after 2019’s Enemy Contact) takes Jack to Barcelona, Spain, for some vacation after an intelligence mission in South Korea. On his last day before returning home to Virginia, Jake is having a drink in a bar when he spots Renée Moore, a college classmate with whom he was once romantically involved. After chatting, the two agree to get together that evening. Seconds after Jake leaves the bar, the place blows up. Renée dies, but not before uttering a mysterious word: Sammler. Jack joins Laia Brossa, a Spanish Centro Nacional de Inteligencia agent, to hunt down the organization responsible for Renée’s death. Meanwhile, someone is torpedoing container ships in the South Pacific. Large swaths of Spanish history tend to slow the narrative, and readers will struggle to engage with extremely shadowy villains with equally shadowy motives. Even after the main threads are pulled together and the evildoers unmasked, the criminal element and motive remain murky. Maden, a thriller pro, is capable of better. Agent: Tracy Fisher, William Morris Endeavor. (June)