Teeth of the Tiger, by Tom Clancy

My first book review!
First, if you intend to read the book, come back after you read it. I’m going to give away plot and so forth.

For Tom Clancy, this is a departure. I’m not qualified to compare it to his OpCenter series, as I read the first and decided someone else wrote it and Clancy put his name on it for his own reasons. However, I have read all the ‘real’ books (I’m not a snob, but his heavy novels are the most fun reading I have had). His departure? A book that is clearly an intro to a series novelization (think WEB Griffin, my second-favorite).

“If you kick a tiger in the ass, you’d better have a plan to deal with the teeth”. Thus begins the first of a different kind of Tom Clancy novel. We are introduced to (suspend disbelief) twin brothers who are, individually, an FBI agent and a USMC Captain, both of whom are recruited by a non-governmental organization, comissioned by the now-former Pres. Jack Ryan (the first NGO I can really get behind). They came to attention by doing well and not displaying too much conscience over killing. Their employer, through a novelized processes, can read intel passing from the NSA to the CIA, thereby being ‘in the know’ while being unknown. Joining is Jack Ryan, Jr., having graduated from Georgetown (where else?), who talks his way into a job in the NGO of Intel. He’s not muscle, he’s brains, but can muscle with the best of them (go figure).

Their target? Terrorists, of course. In the post 9-11, post Afghanistan world (no Iraq war), the NGO of Intel desires to find, then kill, those it can identify funding/organizing terrorism. Their primary tool, after making a big deal about pistol training? Poison.

A well-known poison, succinylcholine, through an improbable route (IM), in a laughably inadeuquate dose (7mg). I give succinylcholine (sux) weekly, as an aid to intubation, and this dose wouldn’t harm anyone who didn’t have a pre-existing neuromuscular disease. The effect of sux is paralysis, which takes about 30 seconds to happen after it’s given, in an adult dose of 1 to 1.5 mg/kg, so a 70 kg adult gets 100 mg or so, and that’s in an IV. In a muscle, it’s four times the IV dose (400mg minimum), and it takes a lot longer to have an effect. OK, this is medical nitpicking, but couldn’t a novelist have ‘invented’ a chemical that wouldn’t get everyone who uses sux daily eye-rolling right off the bat? (There’s your worms’ eye view ot the sux aspect of the novel.) My advice? When you read 7, just think 700, which would have the desired effect.

Our twin heroes interrupt a terrorist massacre-in-progress in a suburban mall, but other terrorist groups hit other malls simultaneously, resulting in havoc and lots of civilian deaths. So, the NGO of Intel springs into action, sending the twins to surreptitiously poison arabs in Europe, which goes insanely quickly and also insanely without difficulty. Jack Jr. gets in on the action, as an ‘advisor’ to the hit squad, despite his awsomely junior status, and he takes the opportunity to poison one of the evil terrorists himself.

And that’s where it ends, with the ominous ‘they had felt the teeth of the tiger, next they’d deal with the brains’. It was, for Clancy, a pamphlet, at a measly 480 pages, and I’m looking forward to the next several installments.


  1. Good review. I can’t understand why Clancy was so sloppy with the dose of sux. He is usually very accurate in his technical descriptions of military gear. I hope this is the first chapter in a serialization. Otherwise it has the appearance of being “thrown together”.