It’s been a sad year for thriller fans. First, we lost beloved thriller master Vince Flynn to cancer at age 47. Today comes news of the untimely death of the inventor of the “technothriller” — Tom Clancy, at age 66.
Clancy propelled himself virtually overnight from an unknown insurance salesman to bestselling author with the release of The Hunt for Red October. Rejected by numerous publishers, it was finally accepted for publication by the obscure Naval Institute Press in Annapolis, which had never before released a single work of fiction. But that suspenseful tale of Cold War cat-and-mouse submarine warfare was packed with authentic military technical detail, and it captured the public imagination.
Other memorable Clancy titles from among his many thrillers included Red Storm Rising, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and Without Remorse. Many of Clancy’s tales became popular movies, as well. In all of his tales, the U.S. military, CIA, and special ops communities — represented by such fictional icons as Jack Ryan and John Kelly (“Mr. Clark”) — were portrayed as honorable heroes and American patriots.
Fearlessly outspoken and opinionated, Tom Clancy, too, was an American patriot. He also was a literary pathbreaker. We who write in the thriller genre owe him much. Rest in peace, sir.
UPDATE: I like this profile, including a video, in USA Today.
“It’s been a sad year for thriller fans and for thriller writers like me,” said Robert Bidinotto, author of the best-selling Amazon thriller “Hunter” and a Grasonville resident. “First, we lost Vince Flynn to cancer at the tragically young age of 47. Now, Tom Clancy — also far too young at 66.”
Clancy was considered the founding father of the “techno-thriller” genre, Bidinotto said. “He set the bar higher for all of us, bringing a new sense of realism in his big, geopolitical stories,” Bidinotto said. “And in all of his tales, the U.S. military, CIA, and special ops communities were portrayed as decent, honorable heroes.
“This was a refreshing departure from the jaundiced cynicism that colored so many political thrillers … We who write in the thriller genre owe him much, and will miss him greatly.”
UPDATE #3: An outstanding tribute in The American Thinker to two seminal thriller authors who died this year, far too young: Vince Flynn and Tom Clancy. Definitely worth your time.