Into the Fire


Title:                      Into the Fire

Author:                Dick Couch

Crouch, Dick (2015) and George Galdorisi. Into The Fire: A Novel / created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin

LCCN:    2015007284

PS3553.O769 I58 2015

Summary

  • “When a team of assassins murder a high-ranking North Korean general and his family in their sleep, making it look like a robbery, events are set in motion that could shake the balance of world powers. Meanwhile, a U.S. naval combat ship, the USS Milwaukee, is attacked by North Korean forces in the middle of a training exercise off the shore of South Korea, and Commander Kate Bigelow is forced to ground the ship to avoid being captured. The crew takes refuge on a tiny island, trapped dangerously between the grounded ship and a fleet of hostile North Korean soldiers. Op-Center intelligence discovers a secret alliance behind the attack–a pact between China and North Korea that guarantees China total control of a vast oil reserve found beneath the Yellow Sea. As both sides marshal their forces for a major confrontation at sea, Chase Williams and his Op-Center organization devise a plan to secretly spirit the American crew from the island and out from under North Korean control. But the North Koreans are not finished. In a desperate gamble, they unleash a terrorist cell on the American homeland. Only Op-Center can uncover their plan and stop it in time to prevent a major catastrophe that could lead to all-out war”– Provided by publisher.

LC Subjects

Series

  • Tom Clancy’s Op-center

Date Posted:      August 8, 2017

Tensions flare in Northwest Asia and Op-Center races to prevent World War III in this chilling, ripped-from-the-headlines thriller from the authors of the USA Today bestseller Out of the Ashes.

When a team of assassins murder a high-ranking North Korean general and his family in their sleep, making it look like a robbery, events are set in motion that could shake the balance of world powers. Meanwhile, a U.S. naval combat ship, the USS Milwaukee, is attacked by North Korean forces in the middle of a training exercise off the shore of South Korea, and Commander Kate Bigelow is forced to ground the ship to avoid being captured. The crew takes refuge on a tiny island, trapped dangerously between the grounded ship and a fleet of hostile North Korean soldiers.

Op-Center intelligence discovers a secret alliance behind the attack—a pact between China and North Korea that guarantees China total control of a vast oil reserve found beneath the Yellow Sea. As both sides marshal their forces for a major confrontation at sea, Chase Williams and his Op-Center organization devise a plan to secretly spirit the American crew from the island and out from under North Korean control. But the North Koreans are not finished. In a desperate gamble, they unleash a terrorist cell on the American homeland. Only Op-Center can uncover their plan and stop it in time to prevent a major catastrophe that could lead to all-out war.

I am of two minds about this review. I have enjoyed the Op-Center series, and hoped that this book would put a fresh new look on the series.

The book was indeed an excellent read. When I read my first Tom Clancy book I didn’t want to put it down. This book held me similarly. It’s Dick Couch who is writing, but he caught my attention and interest and I kept reading.

What did bother me is that the book was not what I expected. It didn’t seem to me that the OP-Center was the main character of the novel. Yes, they are still the best set of intelligence gathering people and they have some good technical and military people involved. However, the story revolved more around Captain Kate Bigelow and the USS Milwaukee. This Naval Vessel is not a war-time fighting vessel; it is a mine sweeper that carries little or no defensive weapons. But as the Milwaukee joins with the Defender (another U.S. minesweeper) and a South Korean flotilla they are approached by North Korean Naval Vessels that are wanting to capture and take prisoner all the naval personnel on the Milwaukee just like the USS Pueblo from the last century.

Captain Kate Bigelow is a great leader, and she takes her no-weapon vessel and uses it as a way to hold off the two Korean Vessels and allowing the flotilla to escape. Nevertheless, in spite of her remarkable delaying action, and the work of an outstanding crew, she does lose the ship and some of her crew, and comes close to having everyone captured.

OP-Center analyzes the situation and provides the U.S. President with a way to intervene and get the crew back. But this could lead to all-out war. This was my disappointment. I am an intel wonk, and wanted Op-Center to be the main focus of the book. Op-Center plays a minor role in the book, but of course a major action regarding decision making about the situation.

The book is compelling with today’s political and military situations with North Korea. They are a menace to the world and need to be contained and in a sense reprimanded much as a stubborn child should be.

Dick Couch gets the situation right and does a great job of bringing the situation to a climax that you will find impressive and well written.

I’m happy with this new edition to OP-Center, but must say that it is not like our old OP-Center but still worth the read.

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Tom Clancy’s Op-Center books


Title:                      Tom Clancy’s Op-Center

Author:                Various

Date Posted:      January 5, 2017

Tom Clancy’s Op-Center is a novel series, created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik, though the first 12 books were written by Jeff Rovin between 1995 and 2005. The three books in the series reboot from 2014 are written by Dick Couch and George Galdorisi.

List of Tom Clancy’s Op-Center characters

These characters are in most or all stories from the main series:

  • Paul Hood: The director of Op-Center and former Mayor of L.A.
  • General Mike Rodgers: Deputy director of Op-Center and STRIKER Commander
  • Bob Herbert: Chief of Intelligence
  • Matt Stoll: In-house computer genius
  • Darrel McCaskey: The FBI Liaison
  • Lowell Coffey II: Op-Center’s lawyer
  • Liz Gordon: Op-Center’s psychologist

These characters are in the stories from the reboot series:

  • Chase Willams: The director of Op-Center and former Naval Admiral
  • Aaron Bleich: geek programmer and data analyst
  • Roger McCord:
  • Brian Dawson:
  • Hector Rodriquez:
  • Sandee Barron: helicopter pilot
  • Mike Volner: response team

List of Op-Center Novels

The books in the Tom Clancy’s Op-Center

  1. Tom Clancy’s Op-Center (1995) LCCN: 97817188, by Jeff Rovin. Op-Center deals with many anti-unification terrorists in Korea trying to provoke a new war with North Korea.
  2. Mirror Image (1995} LCCN: 97810821, by Jeff Rovin. A hardline coalition in the Russian government plots against the new president of Russia, backed by the Russian equivalent of Op-Center.
  3. Games of State (1996 (LCCN: 97811553, by Jeff Rovin. A millionaire funds Neo-Nazi activity in Europe, while plotting to insert subliminal messages of hate into the mass media.
  4. Acts of War-1996 LCCN: 97809669, by Jeff Rovin. Syrian, Kurdish terrorists plotting a political assassination take hostages from the Regional Op-Center: employees testing a prototype mobile surveillance post.
  5. Balance of Power (1998) LCCN: 99610971, by Jeff Rovin. The murder of an Op-Center representative (Martha Mackall) leads to a faction trying to provoke a Spanish Civil War.
  6. State of Siege (1999} LCCN: 99604301, by Jeff Rovin. Rogue soldiers seize the UN complex in New York and demand a hefty ransom for the release of their diplomatic hostages (including Hood’s daughter, Harleigh). Now it’s personal, and Hood has returned to Op-Center to save his daughter.
  7. Divide and Conquer (2000} LCCN: 2003576664, by Jeff Rovin. Op-Center seeks the help of their Russian counterpart in tracking the legendary assassin, The Harpooner. Meanwhile, Paul Hood is called in when it appears the President might be undergoing a mental breakdown.
  8. Line of Control (2001} LCCN: 2002568994, by Jeff Rovin. The Striker Team, cut off and without support, has to fend for their survival on the line of demarcation between India and Pakistan.
  9. Mission of Honor (2002} LCCN: 2003577277, by Jeff Rovin. Op-Center has to work with the Vatican and Spanish Special Forces when an African rebel group takes hostages at several missions.,
  10. Sea of Fire (2003} LCCN: 2003611822, by Jeff Rovin. High traces of radiation found on a corpse, leads to a company selling nuclear waste to terrorists.
  11. Call to Treason (2004} LCCN: 2004597210, by Jeff Rovin. When Mike Rodgers is fired due to budget cuts, he goes to work for a corrupt senator and gets embroiled in the vicious world of Washington politics.
  12. War of Eagles (2005} LCCN: 2005577014, by Jeff Rovin. Op-Center is under new management as Paul Hood is reassigned to a Pennsylvania Ave. appointment. At the same time, bombings in Charleston, Durban, and Taiwan, may signify the outing of a feud within the Chinese government.
  13. Out of the Ashes (2014} LCCN: 2014008057, by Dick Couch and George Galdorisi. When terrorists blow up NFL stadiums across the country, the President of the United States charters a new Op-Center for the 21st Century. Admiral Chase Williams is the new director, (Paul Hood at this time is diagnosed with ALS) and must also stop another plot involving a renegade Saudi prince from manipulating America into attacking Syria and launching a war against Iran.
  14. Into the Fire (2015} LCCN: 2015007284, by Dick Couch and George Galdorisi. A high-ranking North Korean general is murdered and a U.S. Navy ship is attacked and grounded during a training exercise. Op-Center discovers a secret alliance between China and North Korea, and must quickly rescue the crew in time as well as stop a North Korean terrorist cell from being unleashed upon the American homeland in order to prevent the outbreak of World War III.
  15. Scorched Earth (2016} LCCN: 2016003514, by George Galdorisi. U.S. General Bob Underwood, Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL is kidnapped in Syria and brutally murdered on live television. When the U.S. retaliates with a massive attack, the ISIS leader’s son is killed in an American bombing raid. His rage knowing no bounds, he is now determined to wreak vengeance on the American homeland itself. Op-Center must assemble both its domestic, as well as its international force to stop his deadly quest for revenge.

Although familiarly called “Op-Center”, the actual name of the largely autonomous agency is the “National Crisis Management Center”. The charter of the NCMC, or Op-Center, is unlike any other in the history of the United States. They handle both domestic and international crises. Director Paul Hood reports to the president himself, and what had started as “an information clearinghouse with SWAT capabilities” now has the singular capacity to monitor, initiate, and manage operations worldwide. The organization had its own paramilitary response team, called the Striker team, named by an Op-Center member who was a soccer fan, composed of members of the U.S. military special operations community. The series also mentioned similar organizations from England, whose response team was called Bengal, and Russia, with a team called Hammer. It is headquartered in a nondescript, two-story building located near the Naval Reserve flight line at Andrews Air Force Base that used to be a ready room, a staging area for crack flight crews. In the event of a nuclear attack, it would have been their job to evacuate key officials from Washington, D.C.

According to the 2014 reboot franchise, the National Crisis Management Center (Op-Center) was eventually disbanded after the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence managed to convince the President of the United States to shut the organization down due to the effectiveness of the US Intelligence Community and Special Forces in the War on Terror (much to the disgust of Paul Hood and Mike Rogers). Years later however, terrorists blow up several NFL stadiums across the country and leave thousands dead or mutilated. It is determined in the resulting investigation that the inability of government agencies to prevent the attacks was due to a lack of information, as well as the inability to put the pieces together in time. In response, the President executes an emergency order that reboots Op-Center for the 21st Century. Retired Admiral Chase Williams is eventually named the new director and Op-Center’s new headquarters is located in the basement of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency; as its response team, Op-Center utilizes soldiers from the Joint Special Operations Command for overseas missions and a SWAT team from the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group in order to respond to domestic emergencies.

I have read all of the Op-Center books, and have posted reviews of a few of them (linked in the list above. It seems Jeff Riven ran out of ideas for Paul Hood. First he was taken out of Op-Center and replaced by an Army Officer. With new writers Paul is diagnosed with ALS effectively removing him entirely as a major character. Intel officer Bob Herbert was also downgraded. I can understand authors’ desire to develop new characters, but Op-Center is a series, and removing key actors is disappointing, at least to me.

War of Eagles


Title:                      War of Eagles

Author:                  Jeff Rovin

Rovin, Jeff (2005) created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik. Tom Clancy’s Op-center. War of Eagles. New York: Berkley Books

LCCN:    2005577014

PS3553.L245 T669 2005

Summary

  • When a mysterious cabal within the U.S. State Department causes tensions to erupt between Iran and Azerbaijan and plots to depose the President of the United States, Paul Hood and the Op-Center team must stop the conspiracy.

Date Posted:      September 7, 2016

Tom Clancy is, to me, to the right of Donald Trump. His ideology has been somewhat tempered by author Jeff Rovin in this #12 version of Tom Clancy’s Op Center: War of Eagles. In spite of Clancy, I am a fan of his books (I like big fat books) and of the Op-Center books. I like the action and suspense and the characterization is good. This book was badly hurt when Paul Hood is removed from Op-Center. He has been the central character throughout the series and to remove him is absolutely absurd. It might have been different if he retired, or quit on his own, but he was fired and a general took his place. This is Clancyesque, who believes that American Intelligence is in the trash bin. Throughout the book I hoped that Hood would regain his job, or that the tyrant general would get fired. Then there is the firing of main character, Bob Herbert. I don’t know what inspired this decimation of characters, other than to show how policymakers can never deal with the truth from good intelligence analysis.

The book begins with a bang (actually), and could be excellent. I’d love to know the motivation for the abrupt turn in the plot line.

Tom Clancy’s Op Center


Title:                      Tom Clancy’s Op Center

Author:                 Tom Clancy

Clancy, Tom (1995) and Steve Pieczenik. Tom Clancy’s Op Center. New York : Berkley Books

LCCN:    97817188

Subjects

Notes

  • Created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik

Date Posted:      June 10, 2015

Tom Clancy’s Op Center began as a single book and morphed into a series of 14 books, as of June, 2015. The books are based on Clancy’s bellicose view toward the world and his perception that the United States is constantly under imminent threat. He might have said, “I told you so,” when 9/11 occurred.

The op center books ounter the “threat” by a super-secret agency designed to meld intelligence with its “geek squad”, their computers and analysis algorithms, as well as a small but immediately deployable strike force. In the first series of 12 books the op center was established, carried out its mission, and was ultimately done away with by what Clancy would describe as a “weak” president. The series was revitalized by a 13th book in 2014 and a 14th in 2015.

Although familiarly called “Op-Center”, the actual name of the largely autonomous agency is the “National Crisis Management Center”. The charter of the NCMC, or Op-Center, is unlike any other in the history of the United States. They handle both domestic and international crises. In the first series, Director Paul Hood reports to the president himself, and what had started as “an information clearinghouse with SWAT capabilities” now has the singular capacity to monitor, initiate, and manage operations worldwide. The organization had its own paramilitary response team, called the Striker team, named by an Op-Center member who was a soccer fan, composed of members of the U.S. military special operations community. The series also mentioned similar organizations from England, whose response team was called Bengal, and Russia, with a team called Hammer. It is headquartered in a nondescript, two-story building located near the Naval Reserve flight line at Andrews Air Force Base that used to be a ready room, a staging area for crack flight crews. In the event of a nuclear attack, it would have been their job to evacuate key officials from Washington, D.C.

According to the 2014 reboot franchise, the NCMC was eventually disbanded after the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence managed to convince the President of the United States to shut the organization down due to the effectiveness of the US Intelligence Community and Special Forces in the War on Terror (much to the disgust of Paul Hood and Mike Rogers). Years later however, terrorists blow up several NFL stadiums across the country and leave thousands dead or mutilated. It is determined in the resulting investigation that the inability of government agencies to prevent the attacks was due to a lack of information, as well as the inability to put the pieces together in time. In response, the President executes an emergency order that reboots Op-Center for the 21st Century. Retired Admiral Chase Williams is eventually named the new director and Op-Center’s new headquarters is located in the basement of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency; as its response team, Op-Center utilizes soldiers from the Joint Special Operations Command.

List of Op-Center Novels

The books in the Tom Clancy’s Op-Center series:

# Title Publication date Authors Plot
1 Tom Clancy’s Op-Center 1995 Jeff Rovin Op-Center deals with many anti-unification terrorists in Korea trying to provoke a new war with North Korea.
2 Mirror Image 1995 A hardline coalition in the Russian government plots against the new president of Russia, backed by the Russian equivalent of Op-Center.
3 Games of State 1996 A millionaire funds Neo-Nazi activity in Europe, while plotting to insert subliminal messages of hate into the mass media.
4 Acts of War 1996 Syrian, Kurdish terrorists plotting a political assassination take hostages from the Regional Op-Center: employees testing a prototype mobile surveillance post.
5 Balance of Power 1998 Jeff Rovin The murder of an Op-Center representative (Martha Mackall) leads to a faction trying to provoke a Spanish Civil War.
6 State of Siege 1999 Jeff Rovin Rogue soldiers seize the UN complex in New York and demand a hefty ransom for the release of their diplomatic hostages (including Hood’s daughter, Harleigh). Now it’s personal, and Hood has returned to Op-Center to save his daughter.
7 Divide and Conquer 2000 Jeff Rovin Op-Center seeks the help of their Russian counterpart in tracking the legendary assassin, The Harpooner. Meanwhile, Paul Hood is called in when it appears the President might be undergoing a mental breakdown.
8 Line of Control 2001 Jeff Rovin The Striker Team, cut off and without support, has to fend for their survival on the line of demarcation between India and Pakistan.
9 Mission of Honor 2002 Jeff Rovin Op-Center has to work with the Vatican and Spanish Special Forces when an African rebel group takes hostages at several missions.
10 Sea of Fire 2003 Jeff Rovin High traces of radiation found on a corpse, leads to a company selling nuclear waste to terrorists.
11 Call to Treason 2004 Jeff Rovin When Mike Rodgers is fired due to budget cuts, he goes to work for a corrupt senator and gets embroiled in the vicious world of Washington politics.
12 War of Eagles 2005 Jeff Rovin Op-Center is under new management as Paul Hood is reassigned to a Pennsylvania Ave. appointment. At the same time, bombings in Charleston, Durban, and Taiwan, may signify the outing of a feud within the Chinese government.
13 Out of the Ashes 2014 Dick Couch and George Galdorisi When terrorists blow up NFL stadiums across the country, the President of the United States charters a new Op-Center for the 21st Century. Admiral Chase Williams is the new director, (Paul Hood at this time is diagnosed with ALS) and must also stop another plot involving a renegade Saudi prince from manipulating America into attacking Syria and launching a war against Iran.
14 Into the Fire 2015 Dick Couch and George Galdorisi A high-ranking North Korean general is murdered and a U.S. Navy ship is attacked and grounded during a training exercise. Op-Center discovers a secret alliance between China and North Korea, and must quickly rescue the crew in time as well as stop a terrorist cell being unleashed on the American homeland in order to prevent World War III.

 

Time to Hunt


Title:                      Time to Hunt

Author:                   Stephen Hunter

Hunter, Stephen (1998).Time to Hunt. New York: Doubleday

LCCN:    97046985

PS3558.U494 T56 1998

Subjects

Date Updated:  June 26, 2015

KIRKUS REVIEW

Bob Lee Swagger, master sniper, returns (Black Light, 1996; Point of Impact, 1993), which means testosterone at the boil, gore galore, and filled-up body bags row on row. A super-sniper (not the illustrious Swagger but his nemesis Solaratov) shakes off the Arizona morning chill, hunkers over (for those who care) a “Remington 700, with H-S Precision fiberglass stock and Leupold 10X scope,” and seconds later a “man’s chest explodes” (snipers in this novel miss maybe once a decade). Flash back, then, to 1965. The war in Vietnam is winding down and, tragically, a young marine, Swagger’s partner, is blown away the day before he would have finished his tour. Are the two super-sniper incidents connected? Though for years Swagger has believed that the bullet that killed his friend was meant for him, events in the present prove him wrong. Unwillingly, then, he has to face the terrible fact that the death of his friend in 1965 was just the first act in a violent melodrama that now threatens his wife who was once married to his long-dead comrade. The answer behind the decades-old conspiracy is as convoluted as it is nefarious, involving chicanery in the corridors of power. Swagger, however, has little time to fritter away on inductive reasoning, since it’s time to hunt for that enemy sniper and take him out before harm can come to the innocent and helpless. “You’re a sacred killer,” an admirer tells Swagger. “Every society needs one.” Whether that’s true or not, the stage is set for a grim denouement, and Swagger drops from a helicopter—demigod ex machina—to frustrate evil. Hunter’s prose doesn’t get much above pedestrian, and the dialogue is particularly weak. But Swagger in battle—brandishing his wondrous rifle, Excalibur with a trigger—will hold most and enthrall some.

This book in the Op-Center series created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik is a power profile of America’s defense, intelligence, and crisis management technology.