Monday, April 14, 2008
Lee Child writes Jack Reacher books. Thankfully for all his loyal fans -- "Reacher Creatures" -- he turns out a new one pretty much every year.
Reacher is the prototypical hero. He is big and strong and smart and he drifts around solving unsolvable problems. He doesn't need anything besides his folding toothbrush and a little folding money. (Confronted with the reality of our post-9/11 world, Reacher started carrying a passport and an ATM card in later books -- a stumbling block for loyal readers.) He can calculate the trajectory of a bullet. He can kill a man with his thumb. He's cool.
I have read all but the last two of Lee Child's Jack Reacher books.
The books in publication order are:
The Hard Way
Bad Luck and Trouble
Nothing to Lose
Worth Dying For (reviewed here)
A Wanted Man
Never Go Back
Last updated February 17, 2015.
The story moves right along at a bracing clip, through lengthy detours into Penelope’s childhood in Cornwall, Britain’s WWII home front, and the younger daughter’s sojourn in Ibiza. It is an enjoyable read, well-deserving of it’s decades of popularity.
Only in retrospect does the novel disappoint. The main weakness is a lack of character development. The characters spring fully-formed onto the page. The “good” people are all generous, hard-working, independent, and bluntly forthright. (They are also startlingly unsentimental.) The “bad” folks are greedy, vain, self-centered, and silly. None of them change, either individually or in relation to the others. When the narrative reaches its chronologically natural ending, resolution of the various threads is brusquely efficient, but not convincing or satisfying.
Overall, it is an entertaining but unfulfilling read.