Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Jack Reacher”

Valyruh’s #CBR4 Review #95: A Wanted Man by Lee Child

Child’s latest Jack Reacher novel is more of the same—which is to say, great! Reacher is doing his thing, hitchhiking cross-country with a toothbrush in his pocket and a vague direction in his mind, when he is picked up on a cold winter night in the middle of nowheresville, Nebraska by three individuals who are just slightly off. Two men in the front seat are dressed in identical cheap blue shirts, and a very quiet, nervous, and heavily made-up woman in the backseat is wearing the same shirt. They are supposedly all co-workers but Reacher isn’t buying it. He’s especially wondering why they were willing to pick him up late at night on a lonely highway, given the fact that he is well over six feet, heavily muscled, poorly dressed and sporting a recently broken, bloody and very swollen nose. They ask him to drive soon after picking him up, and he takes them through two major police blockades and on into the night.

True to Child’s style, the next series of chapters are an intense, almost claustrophic close-up on Reacher driving endless empty miles while trying to suss out the story behind the passengers in the car, but what he doesn’t know –yet — is that the two men have just executed someone and taken the woman as hostage. The deeper he gets, the messier it gets, and even when he manages to finally escape their clutches, he remains the target of a law enforcement manhunt along with the others. Multiple federal agencies get involved, more bodies turn up, people go missing, bad guys multiply, conspiracies surface, and once again, we get an explosive climax that has Reacher, a former military cop, saving the day against ridiculous odds.

Child somehow manages to make it work, time and again, with descriptions and dialogue as spare and no-nonsense, but also as effective and compelling, as the character of Reacher himself. We never do find out why Reacher’s nose was broken, and we get the feeling that it’s not his first time, but it doesn’t seem to interfere with his heroics. I often wonder why Child has made Reacher so anti-social, and it’s not like earlier novels haven’t filled in some of the history on this fascinating character, but I suspect that Reacher would lose his appeal if we pried too closely into his backstory. So enjoy it for what it is, and wait anxiously, like me, for Child’s next in the series.

Kemp Ridley’s #CBR4 Review #22: One Shot by Lee Child

So I started reading the Jack Reacher series.  I did this at least in part to try to understand the internet rage over Tom Cruise’s casting, but also because, after reading a whole lot of nonfiction, I desperately needed something light to reset my brain. There’s no better antidote to Edward Gibbon’s sprawling, never-met-a-comma-I-didn’t-like prose than a good thriller.

This shit is actually pretty good.  I was actually kind of surprised by how much it didn’t suck.  The hero, Jack Reacher, is an ex-MP who spends his days walking the earth, having adventures and beating the crap out of people who desperately need it.  In this case, an ex-Army sniper snaps, shoots a whole bunch of people from a parking garage and is arrested soon after.  When Reacher hears a news broadcast about the crime he recognizes the shooter’s name from his time in the army, travels to the scene and gets sucked into the investigation.

Of course nothing is even vaguely as clean-cut as it appears, starting with Reacher’s relationship with the shooter and spiraling out from there. I am not even going to attempt to encapsulate what happens from there, as it would be way, way too easy to drop spoilers. Let me just say that I was a very nice, very quick, kind of pulpy read. I’ve got a nice stack of other Child novels from the library that I’ll be working my way through in the near future and hopefully reviewing.  (Because holy shit, you guys, am I ever behind on my reviewing. I’m lucky if I’m able to review one out of every five or so books I read.)

toepic’s cbr4# Review #8: Persuader by Lee Child

book cover: Persuader (A Jack Reacher Novel) by Lee ChildJack Reacher. The man without a car, without a job and without a change of clothes (gross). But Jack isn’t some boxcar tramp or free lovin’ hippy. he’s a hardnosed, ex-military cop, that’s enjoying living off the grid and answering to no one. Jack wanders the country, somehow stumbling into international plots of intrigue. Persuader is Lee Child’s 7th Jack Reacher novel, and even though I can’t recall a single plausible reason why he ends up guarding the vice president or investigating a Vietnam MIA case, it doesn’t matter because he’s going to kick ass, sleep with some attractive intelligent woman and then kill a bunch of people defending her.

Ok, it sounds formulaic, but Lee Child writes some of the best thrillers out there. I frequently read a Jack Reacher novel after a boring book, to rekindle my love of reading. (I’m looking at you Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.) In Persuader, Reacher saves the son of Zachary Beck, reputed drug kingpin, from kidnapping. Beck is somehow involved with the mysterious Quinn, a former military intelligence officer Reacher thought was dead until a chance encounter outside of a theater. Now, Reacher wants him dead for real. The FBI wants Beck, and the son just doesn’t want to be kidnapped any more.

There are currently 16 Jack Reacher novels. If they continue to be as good as the first 7, I’ll read every one. They are like a great action movie. Smart, but not lacking in explosions, chase scenes and casual sex.

BTW – You can read Jack Reacher novels in any order. The author says it’s ok. Watch an interview with Lee Child after the jump.

Most highlighted quote from Kindle users:

I don’t really care about the little guy. I just hate the big guy. I hate big smug people who think they can get away with things.

If you like the Bourne Identity but wished he hung out in America more, and could remember stuff.

Movie news: A different Jack Reacher novel One Shot, it being written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects). It will star Tom Cruise as a 6’7″ hulking ex-military cop. Good luck with that.

For all my reviews plus more book news, opinions and rants, go to Barely Literary.

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