Featured Review: ‘Tom Clancy Zero Hour’ by Don Bentley


Jack Ryan Junion continues to soar to new heights thanks to the masterful plotting of New York Times bestselling author Don Bentley. 

Things aren’t looking so hot for North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Choi Ha-guk, following a devastating accident that quickly proves to have unthinkable consequences. While watching a next-gen Russian nuke test launch in a North Korean facility, things take a sudden turn, and following an accidental explosion, Choi is left injured and missing. That paves the way for a power-hungry member of the Politburo party to rise up and take control—causing all kinds of issues for South Korea, which has numerous implications for the United States.

Coincidentally, as the chaos unfolds, Jack Ryan Jr. is in Seoul alongside Lisanne Robertson to recruit an asset for the Campus, landing him smack-dap in the middle of the action yet again. The situation becomes especially dire when North Korean operators launch an attack on South Korea’s capital, prompting Jack to take action. Also in theatre are a pair of Green Beret snipers, and as alliances form and sides are drawn, Jack must weigh a possible solution from an unusual counterpart in North Korea, who claims to know how he can stop the battle before it turns into an all-out war.

Don Bentley, now two books into his run as the man behind Clancy’s beloved characters, delivers a breathtaking adventure full of shady politics, hard-hitting action, impossible situations, and an overall plot that, in some ways, feels all too probable given the state of the world today. For my money, he’s the most talented author to touch the Ryanverse since Mark Greaney. Not only has Bentley stayed true to the formula that Clancy’s fans have come to expect, but his work with the characters themselves shows up in a big way. Jack Jr. has always had love interests, but not quite like this. Lisanne Robertson is one of many fantastic, well-developed cast members, and Bentley navigates her relationship with Jack perfectly. Moreover, the action that has made his own Matt Drake series such a hit with fans of the genre pops up here too, and there’s no question that Bentley’s own military experience plays a big role in several adrenaline-pumping sequences. Beyond the action and techno-thriller elements, the smart, ripped-from-tomorrow’s-headline plot involving North and South Korea gives the book a timely feel. All in all, it’s another huge showing from Bentley, who’s quickly found a way to energize this series and make it his own, while also keeping the Clancy diehards pleased.

Gone are the bloated, wordy, slow-played threads of past books. Layered with technical details and riveting action scenes, Don Bentley’s latest Jack Ryan Jr. thriller represents a new era for Clancy’s readers, one geared more towards action and fast-paced plots that put Jack Junior in unthinkable situations readers will devour. Expect Tom Clancy Zero Hour to stand among the year’s best books.

Book Details

Author: Don Bentley
Series: Jack Ryan Jr.
Pages: 496 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0593422724
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: June 7, 2022
Real Book Spy Rating: 9.0/10



Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and co-hosts the ThrillerTalk podcast when he’s not streaming and hanging out with his growing community on Twitch. His debut thriller, FIELDS OF FIRE, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr says “will leave you speechless and begging for more,” comes out on September 6, 2022. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook.



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