You anticipate encountering the unexpected at times in the news business, but every so often, a piece of news just totally shocks you.
That very thing happened to me minutes ago. Tom Clancy, author of "The Hunt for Red October" and many other bestsellers, has died at age 66. No cause of death was given.
Clancy was one of my earliest contemporary literary heroes. While I loved reading military accounts in high school, they mostly were old books written by World War II vets based on their wartime experiences. But then I picked up the recently published "Red October," and my literary selections changed.
For years, Clancy was the master of the military and political thriller. He could spin a yarn like no one else, and reading about the Jack Ryan character kept me entertained for countless hours.
It seemed the ending of the Cold War dried out some of Clancy's creative juices, as some of his more modern tales did not convey the same power as his earlier stories. But I will always read "Red October" and recall the days of the Cold War when a nuclear war with the Soviet Union seemed possible.