Tag Archives: Jack Reacher

Book Review: Make Me, Lee Child

Make Me, Lee ChildThis is the 2015 Jack Reacher thriller which I received in a lovely hard back edition for Christmas. I was lucky to hear an interview with author Lee Child on radio 5Live last year, which ended with a reading from this book. It also revealed some interesting facts about the author:

  • He starts work on a new book on September 1st every year, a superstition based on the success of his first book “Killing Floor”
  • He was born in England (and went to the same school as one of my colleagues) but lives in America and writes in American English
  • His books often switch between narration in the first and third person, the former allowing Jack Reacher to speak for himself, the latter to allow scenes where Reacher is not present
  • He hints that he may end the series of Reacher novels after 21 books, based on some series he read as a young man that seemed about the right length
  • He doesn’t plan the whole book before writing it – this way, he doesn’t know what’s about to happen either and it’s more exciting (!)

Reacher has Chang for an accomplice, a beautiful ex-FBI agent, who is searching for her colleague Keever who disappeared – last known location, Mother’s Rest near Oklahoma City. The underlying mystery is one of the deepest in the series – in fact, it’s a long way into the book before we have a clue what is going on in the town of Mother’s Rest, and there’s still time for a plot twist at the end.

Will this be the penultimate book in the series? Jack Reacher shows vulnerability in this one, he’s actually hurt physically and that could carry into the next book. He also grows more attached to Chang than is usual and perhaps she’ll appear in the next book too – maybe he’ll settle down to a more stable investigative partnership (with benefits)? If he’s on schedule, then Lee Child has already started the book and may even know some of the answers.

Four stars

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Book Review: One Shot, Lee Child

One Shot by Lee ChildThis book was the first Jack Reacher thriller that I read, quite a few years ago. That copy came free with a copy of the London Evening Standard newspaper – it was probably about 50p at the time, but has since become a free paper handed out to the commuters of London every evening. I particularly wanted to re-read it because of the description of Jack Reacher that starts the book.
Jack Reacher's CV
This should be very useful for any Hollywood Producers who are looking to cast Jack Reacher in a film – particularly his height (6′ 5″), weight (220-250lbs) and chest (50″). Obviously, this is a big guy, and missing that point would be bound to annoy any diehard Reacher fans.

This is actually one of the better Reacher thrillers. The perfect case is presented to the police, James Barr is the obvious perpetrator of a horrific killing spree in Indiana. Even worse for Barr, Jack Reacher has seen it on the news and is travelling there to ensure he doesn’t get away with it. Yet there’s more to the case than first appears, calling for Reacher’s special investigative skills and his own brand of blunt justice.
Four stars

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Book Review: Personal, Lee Child

20150111-182631.jpgThis is the latest Jack Reacher thriller – I bought it hot off the press in the autumn but kept it until Christmas. This story is for a large part set in London, which unusual for these thrillers. Reacher must engage rival gangs in the East and West End to track down a sniper who wishes revenge on Reacher himself. Reacher has to outwit Little Joey, who dwarfs Reacher (no mean feat, Reacher is 6’6″ and 250lbs, something Hollywood casting directors would do well to remember).

Ultimately this book is more A Wanted Man than Never Go Back, but worth a read nevertheless.

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Book Review – Never Go Back, Lee Child

Never Go Back, Lee ChildThis story was long awaited, partly because the author has been building up to the meeting of Jack Reacher with Susan Turner and his journey across America to Virginia for several books – this association started in the book 61 Hours, so definitely worth reading that one and before this. On the other hand, this book is one of the best Jack Reacher thrillers, so you might not want to wait. I was waiting to read this in paperback, but was delighted to receive it in a beautiful hardcover edition for my birthday.

I prefer Jack Reacher novels when he works with an accomplice, often a woman, to solve a case and hand out his own brand of justice to the perpetrators. Never Go Back fits the bill and matches The Enemy for excitement and daring plot as a result. There are other plot twists – this book is all about Reacher’s past coming back to haunt him. Does he have a child? Has one of his many violent episodes resulted in a conviction that will see him jailed? Will his previous service in the army see him forcibly conscripted to serve his country again? I tried hard to pace myself reading this one, having polished off other Reacher novels in a couple of days and then having a long wait for the next one. Unfortunately, once I was a few chapters in, I was hooked and as usual sped through it. The compelling question was – having gone back, would Reacher leave again? Or would he finally have re-discovered a life for which it was worth settling down?

Five Stars

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Book Review: The Enemy, Lee Child

TheEnemyMy Dad gave me a rather nice hard back edition of this book – I’d read it once before, but it’s one of the best Jack Reacher thrillers and I was happy to read it again. What makes it so good? Well, it’s a flash back to when Reacher was in the army, and it explains one of the mysteries of this series that’s often mentioned in other books – why did he suffer demotion back to Captain? It also touches on his family background and we see his strained relationship with his brother. It seems that everything and everyone is against him – his awful boss, the higher echelons of the army, his sick mother’s health. Being Reacher, he takes it on the chin, ignores the growing list of dangerous enemies, makes a valuable ally in fellow MP Summer, and stays true to his own code of justice.
FiveStars

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Book Review: A Wanted Man, Lee Child

A Wanted ManI’d read a few negative reviews of this Jack Reacher thriller before I read the book. I agree that it’s different to the majority of the books in the series: for one thing, the author concentrates on the cerebral side of Reacher’s character and concentrates too much on his exceptional memory for phone numbers and mathematical abilities (these aren’t pertinent to the plot so why keep referring to them?); for another, there’s far less action in this book (usually, Reacher’s run into trouble at a bar within the first few pages, here we’re into the finale before he gets into a fight). It’s not really up to the usual standards, but it’s still a better read than a couple of other books I failed to get into recently.
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Book Review: Persuader, Lee Child

Persuader, Lee ChildThe first Jack Reacher thriller I read was One Shot. It came free with a copy of the London Evening Standard. That’s when the Standard cost 50p, before it became a free paper. On the back of that, I went on to read all the Jack Reacher stories – and One Shot wasn’t even the best. The best stories are those in which he gets members from his team of Special Investigators back together.

Persuader is one of the stories in which Reacher hooks up with a team – in this case, some government agents. Reacher gets a second chance to take revenge on an old adversary, whilst helping the agents to crack a gang of suspected smugglers.

Why is Reacher such a compelling character? He’s incredibly violent yet he’s smart too – like a cross between Jean Claude van Damme and Sherlock Holmes. He shuns convention – no fixed abode, he wanders wherever fate takes him, without any care for material goods (except the ever-present folding toothbrush). He stays true to his own code of Justice. Once committed to a cause, he never backs off. Men respect him, women flock to him. What’s not to like?!

Four stars

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