Book Review: Jack Reacher by Lee Child

Every now and again the internet explodes. I can happily ignore it if the furore involves a Kardashian or similar, but when the ‘explosion’ is book related I take notice. A few years ago, when the first series of Game of Thrones was being broadcast, there was a huge outcry when Sean Bean’s character, Ned Stark, lost his head. I had never read the books or watch the series, but I was intrigued enough to do both. I even read all of the available books before the start of the second series, although like everyone else I was disappointed by the final series. Hopefully the last two books will be better, whenever they appear. Currently The Winds of Winter is due mid way through 2021.

Another time that I remember the internet exploding was when Tom Cruise was signed up to play Jack Reacher. Not having read the books I was once again out of the loop, but me and my lovely wife did watch the film a while ago. It was OK, nothing special, but not too bad. I’m not a fan of Tom Cruise. I find his acting to be two dimensional at best, and as a person he comes across as a humourless control freak.

Anyway, I caught the trailer for the new Amazon Jack Reacher series, and it then dawned on me why fans of the series might be upset with Tom Cruise. Much like when Stallone removed his helmet when playing Judge Dread. One of the most important facets of Jack Reacher is that he is huge, 6 foot 5 inches with muscles on top of muscles.

Not having Amazon Prime I haven’t watched the series, but by all accounts its very good. I therefore decided to read the first book, Killing Floor. What I didn’t realise when I started was that there are currently 27 books in the series, with a whole load of short stories as well. It might take a while to read them all!

Jack Reacher is ex-army, from an army family. Discharged he is lost, and becomes, in his own words, a hobo, travelling around America with no fixed abode. He lands in the small Georgia town of Margrave, and is immediately arrested for murder. He is sent to the local prison for the weekend, where upon someone tries to kill him.

Back in the town on the Monday, it appears that not every person on the small police force is corrupt, and with the head detective and one of the deputy’s they set about finding out who was murdered and why. I won’t give too much away, but the plot involves Reacher’s older brother and a warehouse full of counterfeit money, along with a very nasty South American cartel.

The book fair rockets along, and while the story isn’t ground breaking it was very well written and hooked me in, so much so that I purchased the second book in the series, Die Trying. It must be noted that the books do not need to be read in order, which is lucky as I grabbed book number 21 from a bus stop library in Sedbergh the other week.

In this book Jack Reacher is working as a bouncer for a blues club in Chicago, and when casually walking through the city a woman is grabbed off the street and bundled into a van. Thinking that he is with her, Reacher is taken hostage as well. Who is she and where are they being taken?

In the back of the van they are transferred to a larger truck and driven across the country. Reacher manages to escape and kill one of their captors, but decides to stay with the woman for her protection, although she thinks that she is protecting him, as she doesn’t know about his army background, and he doesn’t know about her FBI background.

We learn more about Reacher’s army days as one of his old commanders turns up, and we find out that he was also one of the best marksman in the army. Handy.

Anyway, not quite as good as the first book, but still an enjoyable read, although with Reacher’s sniper skills it feels like he is almost super human. I’m not in a hurry to read book 3, although I expect that I probably will at some point in the future.

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