Sometime in 1984, my dad handed me a book. This was not unusual, both of us being avid readers. He was a member of multiple book clubs (even using multiple names at one point), and as soon as this book hit Doubleday, Book of the Month, or the Literary Guild, he sent back his order-then plowed through this one in two days.
If Dad told me 'read this', this typically meant he read a book to the exclusion of the other three or four titles in various stages of enjoyment. And so it was with Hunt for Red October, the other books placed in a holding pattern. Hunt didn't disappoint. When the movie came out a few years later, the inevitable conversation about how it compared led to us agreeing that the changes they made worked. (I think he would agree with my decision to skip the movie of Patriot Games, it was changed far too much to make it worthwhile.)
Thus began a long and enjoyable journey through numerous Clancy books. Patriot Games was the prequel a few years later and was enjoyed even more than Hunt. By that time, I lived in Maryland and recognized many of the places mentioned in the book. A few years later, Without Remorse was set in Baltimore, with many familiar locales. I have Dad's first edition (book club, not Naval Press) among the books that move with me everywhere.
Picking up a Clancy book always reminds me of Dad, much like opening a DeMille or rereading any of my copies of King's The Stand he'd given me over the years. So, the news of Tom's passing today made me sad, that there won't be more releases to read and get that nice feeling of gratitude that Dad introduced me to this fine writer.
If there is a beyond, I'd love to think that the two of them can discuss the plot points of those books...