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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Continuing Tom Clancy's Series

When Tom Clancy died in October, 2013, his series of Jack Ryan novels didn't die with him. Mark Greaney, who co-wrote Clancy's last three novels, picked up where they left off -- and the result is "Full Force and Effect."

I invited Mark onto my show to discuss how difficult it was to write in Clancy's voice, how he stayed up-to-date with (and even ahead of) modern surveillance and intelligence technology, and how he managed to keep all the characters and plots from the previous 18 novels straight without duplicating or negating something that had been written before.

The plot of "Full Force and Effect" involves efforts by North Korea's unstable young dictator to get his hands on the money he'd need to acquire a nuclear missile capable of hitting the mainland US. To my knowledge, Kim Jong-Un hasn't reacted publicly to the book with as much anger as he supposedly has towards the Seth Rogen/James Franco movie "The Interview."

In our conversation, I mentioned the little-known National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. In fact, the NGA, as it's called, is based right here in St. Louis, where it has outgrown its space near the Anheuser-Busch brewery and is looking to expand, possibly into the former Chrysler plant. My colleague Frank Ladd's parents worked there, and he tells me that the NGA has done imaging for projects as varied as the lunar landscape during the Apollo missions and a scale model of the Abottobad compound in Pakisan where Osama Bin Laden was killed by Seal Team Six.

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