This review was originally written before the passing of Tom Clancy, a wonderful author and a great man of literature.
A definite step up from the last Jack Ryan Jr. novel, Dead Or Alive carries on the story from The Teeth of the Tiger, following The Campus' hunt for The Emir. We see the return of Jack Ryan Jr and the Caruso brothers, but also (and I was so glad!) John Clark and Domingo Chavez, two of my personal favourite Clancy characters. They added that extra element to this book not seen in its predecessor. Also there was a little more of Jack Ryan Sr, always a good thing.
I still think that Clancy's earlier novels like The Hunt for Red October and Clear and Present Danger are far superior to these latest ones. It may be because that time and those situations were more familiar to him, and so he wrote better and more knowledgeably about them. That's not to say he doesn't know what's going on today, but he just was better back then. However, the idea of The Campus intrigues me, so I think I might just go and read the next one. If anything, he has restored my faith in his writing that was so let down after The Teeth Of The Tiger.
However, there was one glaringly obvious defect about this book that frustrated me to no end. And that was the lack of women characters who weren't prostitutes, whores, incompetent politicians or amazing mothers. The one exception was Mary Pat Foley, and she was barely in it. If that book is to be believable in this day and age, it needs a kick ass woman. Or women. Time to let go of the boys club, Clancy, that's not exactly how we do it now.
(Can I do that? Bad luck. I did it.)