Ah, Tom Clancy, the manliest of authors...
(By which I mean lotsa plot, not so much feeling. Stereotypical, I know...)
I like Tom Clancy's early work, especially Without Remorse
, which is the only book of his I'd re-read. I am always amazed by his research and ability to make technical stuff sound so effortless. (An honest-to-God passion of his, I suspect!)
MORE SPOILERS FOR WITHOUT REMORSE
I like the fact that a lot of the action happens in the U.S., in cities I can imagine. When he kills the pimps, it was a whole lot more immediate to me than when he killed the prison guards in the Vietnamese jungle.
John Kelly doesn't waste much time in rationalizing, does he? He kills the Vietnamese because "They're the enemy; don't ask why". He kills the pimps because they need killing. There's something curiously un-modern about his character, like he follows some ancient warrior code that he sees no need to explain. He's chivalrous with women. He won't kill cops (the patrolman or the detective), even though he knows they're after him. My favorite scene, for its unintentional comedy, is the one where he's just rescued a bunch of drugged out prostitutes, and he puts them in the squad car with the handcuffed officer from earlier. He's trying to be all menacing and growly, the cop is having an attitude problem, the girls are high and can't see straight... Classic.
As I said, his early stuff was good, but his later novels are long and impenetrable. Every character, no matter how minor, gets a name and backstory, even if they're never mentioned again. Occasionally they will be mentioned again, and they'll be significant. Then I'm like: "Wait, who is this again?" *sigh* I wonder if he got trapped in some kind of "Two books a year" contract or something. A lot of his later work could use some serious editing. Just my opinion!