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Night Moves


Night Moves

NIGHT MOVES is what would have been called at various points in
time a "ripping yarn," or a "potboiler," and what is now called an
"airport book": the reader is at an airport, looking for something
to read to help them forget that they are about to defy gravity,
logic, and all common sense. And NIGHT MOVES will fit the bill,
quite well.

NIGHT MOVES, of course, is not THE SOUND AND THE FURY, or something
on that order. It is part of the "Tom Clancy's Net Force" series,
and his name is on it as a "creator" but that doesn't mean he wrote
it or even turned the word processors on when someone, unknown and
uncredited, started writing it. There are some who would refer to
this as hackwork, but it provides work for writers who are just
breaking into the game, and occasionally provides some anonymous
income for more established writers who may be between projects.
Nothing wrong with that. You can't really call it easy. The
writer(s) have to bring in a slew of characters who have previously
been introduced at an earlier point in the series, bring readers
new to the series up to snuff, and do it within the context of the
story smoothly enough so that they don't realize that they are
being spoon-fed --- and do it without boring readers who have been
following the series, while keeping the story moving along.

NIGHT MOVES succeeds quite nicely on all counts. Worldwide cyber
attacks on transportation, communication and financial networks
bring the Net Force, a computer security agency within the FBI,
into play. They have got to find whoever is doing this, and they
need to find him yesterday. It's not going to be easy, however. Jay
Gridley, the top computer man at Net Force, is debilitated by a
stroke apparently precipitated by the hacker in virtual reality.
Alex Michaels, the head of Net Force, is also juggling some
personal issues while his team struggles with stopping the hacker
and finding a renegade Russian assassin. Michaels' ex-wife is
gearing up for a custody battle over their daughter, a problem
complicated by the fact that Michaels is, ah, dipping his pen in
the office ink, so to speak.

There are some nice moments here as well. One of them is when
Colonel John Howard, the commanding office of the enforcement arm
of Net Force, helps his 14-year-old son resolve his middle-school
love life with some transatlantic advice. The author(s) of NIGHT
MOVES also quite handily explain some of the finer points of
cyberspace and virtual reality without leaving those who are
computer hardware illiterate in the dust (that would be me). And,
of course, there are some secondary plot lines that remain
unresolved so that the reader will pick up the next book in the

NIGHT MOVES does not aspire to be "great literature." It simply
aspires to tell a good story while moving the reader along with a
minimum of confusion. And it succeeds very, very nicely. So nicely,
in fact, that it is not even a guilty pleasure --- no reason to
feel guilty about enjoying this one. One question, though ---
when's the next one coming out?

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 22, 2011

Night Moves
by Tom Clancy

  • Publication Date: April 1, 2000
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley
  • ISBN-10: 042517400X
  • ISBN-13: 9780425174005