Pros: One of the Op-Center series has the human touch for the characters.
Cons: Way too many coincidences. Can you have that much bad luck?
I was looking for a special read, something relaxing, enjoyable, and thrilling. Tom Clancy's novels have always fit the bill, but this time, I wanted to read something different. "Op-Center" "Games of State" absolutely was enjoyable and a wonderfully breathtaking suspenseful novel. The characters, the plot, the twists, and the humanity all provide and excellent back drop for an excellent read. This epinions reveals many facts on the plot, the characters, and the ending.
Op-Center is a series of novels written by Tom Clancy and Steve Piecznik, describing an American intelligence department, Op-Center, inspiring a profile of America's defense, intelligence and crisis management technologies. Op Center director, Paul Hood, is a simply human leader. Other major players in the department is Bob Herbert, injured during Lebanon, losing his wife and the use of his legs. Also Matt Stoll, the computer guru is alive and well, outside of his safe office, right in the middle of the action. Mike Rodgers is the military man, in charge of the Striker force, and special elite team of soldiers. However, this novel rounds Hood, Stoll, and Herbert as the major characters.
Germany in newly unified, and during "Chaos Days" Nazism and fascism are alive and strong, old horrors and memories are alive. The French, Americans, and Germans, are all involved with the radical groups involved. Nazi groups are gathering all over the world to spread their hate message, leaving no ethnic group unscathed. Plans are leveled at the United States along with Europe to destabilize the governments and enter a new era of turmoil.
In only the way Tom Clancy can write it, Paul Hood and his Op-Center team are in Germany, ready to set up a new regional, international Op-Center and surprise! They become involved. The radical group setting all of this chaos in motion is using computer games, to set the stage for the uprisings. Yes, computer games and viruses set on many computers through legitimate games now hold a time bomb for neo-Nazi thoughts and hate ideas. Here are the specifics:
Op-Center is in Europe to meet with Richard Hausen, a German national, with a career and expertise in electronics who is instrumental in setting up the new regional Op-Center. However, Hausen holds a deadly secret and puts the safety of the world in peril.
An American movie set in Germany is destroyed by the radical neo-Nazi group, taking a young movie intern as hostage. Jody Thompson goes from running props to a hero, getting shot, hauling Bob Herbert from the grasp of the enemy, and killing a radical in self-defense, saving her life and Herberts. What I did on my summer vacation by Jody Thompson. I really thought, even with the age difference, she might become Herbert's love interest.
Matt Stoll is the computer genius for Op-Center, who blows apart the scheme to send fascism via the Internet throughout the world. He handles this task with minutes to spare, using only a laptop computer and a modem. This also sets the stage for a new Tom Clancy series, "Net Force" which is amazing. It is humorous that a regular guy like Matt is now involved with guns, terrorists, and life and death.
Nancy Jo Bosworth, can it get more complex? She was Paul Hood's collegiate and first love, abandoning him in front of a theater, never to return, without explanation, until now. In Germany, in France, as part of the unsuspecting plan to dominate the world. Her boss, the Frenchman Gerard Dupree aka Gerard Dominique is behind the electronic aspects to rule the world, and in a sense, Paul Hood is the reason she is in Europe, a corporate spy.
Paul Hood, poor Paul Hood. He is in Europe, thinks he sees his long lost love, and of course, he finds her. Throughout the entire novel, he is torn about his love for her and whether the flame in this burning love will be rekindled. Nancy Jo is laying down all kind of hints, that even Paul Hood can figure out, but will he be able to be loyal to his wife Sharon and their family? My God, the woman is throwing herself at Paul, full of remorse that their affair ended with her stealing corporate secrets and bailing out to Europe.
Paul Hood is also getting his butt kicked by the US Congress because of budget cuts. He wants to expand his programming because of the success of Op-Center, Congress wants to cut. Senator Fox, in charge of the appropriations, finds out it was her daughter murdered many years ago in Paris, by an angry student, who happened to be Dupre. Dupre and Haugen were college room mates, and Haugen tried to stop the murder of the student, failed, and lived with this pain forever. Haugen's father was a member of the White Wolf, a neo-Nazi group in the 1960's so is he to be trusted or is he Dominiques ally?
While the world is saved due to a second level computer game key, the Chaos Days rally destroyed by a cell phone call from a heroic figure in Germany, along with Paul Hood's fidelity remaining intact, all is good in the Op-Center world. There is even the obligatory helicopter chase scene, bringing in a new character, Brett August. August becomes Striker's new leader.
The plot is fast moving, coincidental, yes, but quick reading. It is a thriller, with the twists of Fox's daughter, Haugen being legitimate, and Herbert and Jody's wheelchair chase making a fun read. Also, Paul and Nancy Jo's possible romance will make any pulp fiction magazine possibility. Also, Matt Stoll's intervention leads to Op-Center's new division, Net Force. "Games of State" is not your ordinary spy thriller, after all, how many times does the lead character say "no' to a romantic interest?