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Locked on continues the long standing Tom Clancy series of Jack Ryan, following on chronologically from his previous novel, Dead or Alive. It is still possible to read this book as is because characters and situations are all given brief introductions as and when they make their appearances but I would recommend reading this as part of the series. That way you have deep background information on the recurring characters and situations and so get better involved with the story instead of trying to remember individuals.
The story is a direct follow on to Dead or Alive and centers on Jack Ryan Jr and his work with The Campus, an off the books agency working to thwart non-American terrorism with no oversight from the Government. The Government here is headed by President Ed Kealty, who is portrayed as incompetent and mentions his drive to reduce the ability of the CIA and tackle terrorism instead with drones, killing first and then asking questions later.
The Jack Ryan Jr story arc follows him and his colleagues at The Campus as they try to figure out and stop a rogue Pakistani General Riaz Rehan as he allies himself with Dagestani terrorists in stealing nuclear bombs with plans to set them off with plans to destabilise the India-Pakistan political situation and revenge against Russian respectively.
At the same time, Jack Ryan Sr has decided to challenge Ed Kealty for the next presidency as he can no longer stand by and watch Kealty ruin the foreign policy Ryan Sr had previously implemented. One of Kealty's financial backers, billionaire Paul Laska wants to discredit Ryan Sr's campaign by linking him to John Clark, an ex-CIA agent now working with The Campus, and a murder committed in the past. This forces Clark to go alone around the world to find who is setting him up and deal with them, all the while trying to protect the secrecy of The Campus and distancing himself from Jack Ryan Sr.
The story threads don't stop there, we are also introduced to Melanie Kraft, a former CIA analyst now working for a different arm of the Government, who begins dating Jack Ryan Jr. We later find out there are other motives for her relationship with Ryan Jr, as she makes calls to elements in Kealty's administration with details of her investigation into The Campus.
Tom Clancy is able to keep all the stories flowing without causing any confusion between them. He keeps to his ability of keeping detailed insights into methods of investigation and intricate details of fieldwork action. As always, the action builds in crescendo and the bulk of this takes place in the final fifth of the book with some nice surprises along the way for those who have read the rest of the Ryan Universe. I was not too impressed with the seemingly rushed endings though, these appeared abrupt, concluding story arcs in one or two paragraphs after giving so much detail in the rest of the book before finally leaving a tasty cliffhanger to entice you into the next novel. With that, this is a good offering from Tom Clancy and is much better than his previous book Dead or Alive, I would happily read this again and again.