I am a fan of zombie novels. But overt zombie novels pale next to surprise zombie novels.
So imagine my joy when, a short way into the Kindle version of Tom Clancy's latest techno-thriller "Dead or Alive," a character named "Charles Alden" appears as a bureaucrat antagonist at the CIA. Two main characters meet him person, and he's mentioned by name several times thereafter.
Die-hard Tom Clancy fans know that in his early 1990s novel "The Sum of All Fears", set in the very same fictional world with the same set of heroes, "Charlie Alden" was the National Security Adviser to President Fowler, who in a crucial plot point died at his desk of a publicity-induced aneurysm, leaving his position open to the nasty and outclassed Elizabeth Elliot.
I know Tom Clancy works hard on his books and would never phone one in. So I immediately saw this for what it was — a SECRET ZOMBIE PLOT. Charles Alden died about 15-20 years ago in Ryan Universe time, emerged from his dank grave, and went to work at the CIA. The relatively limited cognitive ability of your average zombie may explain the comedown from National Security Adviser to mid-level bureaucrat.
I'm not done reading the book yet. I'm only half through. I'm waiting for Charles Alden to being eating brains, and for Rainbow Six to come in and kill him with some sort of lavishly described German-made crowbar, or something.
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