I’ve Reached the End

Finally, after eons, I have finished the complete Jack Reacher series of books.

No Plan B

Jack Reacher is in the middle of nowhere, minding his own business, when he spots a woman being thrown in front of a bus. He follows the killer and Reacher is almost put out of commission. The local police decide that it is a suicide, but Reacher follows the trail. He teams up with Hannah, who has also recently lost someone. On top of this there is 15 year old Jed, who might have found his real father. All roads lead to a prison in the town of Winson.

As with nearly all Jack Reacher books I gave this four stars. It isn’t the best Reacher book, but it probably is the best one co-written by Andrew Child. There are numerous twists and turns, and the ending was very unexpected. If you’ve never read a Jack Reacher book, this probably isn’t the one to start with, although with 27 full length books, where do you start?

No Middle Name

Probably one for the fans rather than the casual reader as this is a collection of Jack Reacher short stories. The book is set out chronologically, so the first story is set when Jack is only 12. The collection adds depth to Reacher character and fills in a few blacks from when he was in the army. The stories are short enough that I could read one and then put the book down to read something else. As I said though, probably one for the diehard fans only.

I’ve “Reached” the End

That’s it. I’ve read all of the Jack Reacher books, apart from the new one and the collection of short stories. Very easy to read and on the whole, highly enjoyable and not too predictable.

Past Tense (Book #23)

Reacher finds himself in the small town where his father was born. He’s not looking for trouble, but trouble finds him, from a couple of different sources. First up is the small-town bully followed by a motel out in the middle of nowhere. He tries to find the hamlet where his grandparents lived, but this unearths a whole can of worms, not least because he is trespassing.

A young couple break down and stay at the motel. The owners appear to be incredibly helpful, but all is not what it seems.

This book was one of the first Reacher books that I read, at the beginning of the year, and I’m struggling to remember what it was all about. I do now that if it hadn’t been very good, I wouldn’t have continued with the series.

Blue Moon (Book #24)

Reacher is on a bus, travelling who knows where. He spots an old man with a wad of cash. He spots a hoodlum also on the bus who has also noticed the old man’s wad of cash. The old man gets off the bus and is quickly followed by the thug. Reacher also follows and saves the old man from a mugging. There is a deeper story. The old man and his wife are up to their necks in debt to the local crime lord. However, there is a lot more going on in the town. There is another rival crime lord and Reacher manages to set them off against one another.

This was one of the more interesting Reacher books in that he enlists the help of a number of people, and he isn’t the main man, as it were. He comes across as an old man, one whose time is almost up. A man who might not survive to the end of the book.

This was supposed to be the last Reacher book that Lee Child was going to write, until his younger brother stepped in. The early books mention that Reacher was born in 1960, which means that he is definitely on the road towards the end.

The Sentinel (Book #25)

Reacher is minding his own business, drinking copious amounts of coffee in a local diner, when he spots a man walking into an ambush. Its four against one, and the victim has no idea what is about to happen. Reacher happens. The man he saves is the town’s IT manager, recently fired for incompetence, but has opted to stay in the town to clear his name. Obviously, this being a Jack Reacher book, there is a lot more going on in this town apart from dodgy computers.

This was the first book written by both of the Child brothers, and to be honest, the book doesn’t gel. Lee and Andrew, for want of a better phrase, don’t appear to be on the same page. There are some neat ideas. Reacher being a complete technophobe having to rely on the computer savvy accomplices. Also, Reacher feels younger than he was in Blue Moon.

Better Off Dead (Book #26)

A backwater town and an ex-army FBI agent working off the books, searching for her twin brother. Is this town the site of a terrorist bomb making facility? Who is the local crime boss? What the hell is going on?

There are some very mixed reviews for this book and a lot more negative ones. I felt that this was an improvement on The Sentinel, but the plot is fairly thin and one dimensional, without enough interesting characters. Many of the reviews are inclined to suggest that the working arrangement between the two brothers isn’t working, and that maybe the whole Reacher series might be better off dead.

In summary, 26 books in one series is a great deal of reading. There are a couple of duff books, but even the poor ones are still very readable. You never feel the need to re-read a few pages as the story never gets too complicated in any of the books. I hope that Lee and Andrew continue to write another Reacher book a year for many years to come.

Almost “Reaching” the End

Continuing with my play on words with each review of the next lump of Jack Reacher books. Not too many left to go now. I’ll have to find another series of books to begin reading.

Personal (Book #19)

An unknown sniper has taken a shot at the French President, from three quarters of a mile away. Fortunately for the President, he was protected by a sheet of new bullet proof glass. There are very few snipers in the world who can shoot that accurately from that range, and Reacher is one of them, or used to be when he was in the army. It takes practice to be that good, and Reacher doesn’t practice anymore.

Back in his army days, Reacher put away a very promising sniper, John Kott. After serving 15 years in prison, he is out, and is the prime suspect. However, there are a handful of other suspects, including a Russian and a Brit. Both countries send operatives to establish who the sniper was. Another problem is that the G7 are due to meet in London in a couple of weeks, and anyone could be on the sniper’s hit list.

Reacher heads to Paris and then to London, messing with an old school London crime gang, and a new bunch from Serbia. Are one of these gangs hiding the sniper? Are there actually two snipers working together?

Another good book from Lee Child, and the book where Reacher is given the nickname Sherlock Holmeless, which is quite clever. The rookie analyst who Reacher is teamed with adds to the tension, as he has to keep her safe as well. I have to say that some parts of the ending were a bit of a mess, with the crime gangs being a distraction, although the person who is behind it all is also a clever twist.

I gave this particular Reacher book four stars, almost exactly what the global average is. Not too bad, but not the best.

Make Me (book #20)

Reacher the hobo jumps off a train at the non-descript town of Mother’s Rest, simply intrigued by the name and wanting to know the history. He bumps into a worried private detective, who mistakes Reacher for someone else. Curiosity gets the better of Reacher and he teams up with her to help her find another private detective who has gone missing. They end up racing across the country, before the final showdown back at Mother’s Rest.

Why are there so many different people taking aim at Reacher? What exactly is going on in the town, and as they did deeper, they discover that loads more people have mysteriously vanished in the town.

One of the better Jack Reacher books in my opinion. You get a feeling that there must be more going on, and then we find out the horrific truth. The book looks at the ‘Deep Web’, which is something very different from the ‘Dark Web’. I’ve not looked into it, so it could well be made up for the purpose of the book, although the analogy used is neat and tidy.

Once again, I gave this four stars, which is pretty much standard for me, although I thought that this particular book deserved 4 and a half.

Night School (Book #21)

Every now and again Lee Child likes to take us back to Reacher’s army days. This book is set in 1996, and Reacher is working with his trusted team. A terrorist cell has paid a colossal amount of money and killed everyone connected with the transaction, even members of their own team. Something big is going down is Germany.

Reacher has to tread carefully to ensure that he doesn’t antagonise the local German police. Also, there are a number of gangs from the former East Germany who hanker for the good old days of Hitler and Nazis. Added to this, a low ranked soldier has gone AWOL. What has this soldier discovered and is it connected to the terrorists, and how are they linked to the former Nazis?

With no mobile phones and not internet, the detective work is old school, with plenty of secret identities and double crosses. A good story where the ending is much larger than expected, especially for some of the players involved.

Four stars from me, and amazingly, after 63,509 ratings, the average score is also 4.

The Midnight Line (Book #22)

Reacher is one a bus. The bus stops for an hour’s rest in a small nowhere town. Reacher is having a short walk through the town when he notices in a pawn shop a class ring from West Point. Knowing how much pain and suffering it takes to graduate from West Point, Reacher buys the ring with the sole aim to return it to its rightful owner. No one would willingly give up their class ring, although Reacher never bothered to buy one when he graduated. Reacher theorizes that either the ring has been stolen or the owner is in serious financial troubles.

Reacher persuades the pawn shop owner to tell him who he obtained it from, which turns out to be a tough motorcycle gang. Not as tough as Reacher. From there he follows the trail to another town, one beset with troubles from the opioid crisis. Reacher bumps into a local grime boss, a local police detective and a private detective from Chicago. All Reacher wants to do is return the ring and make sure that the owner is OK.

Good story, especially the beginning and the end. The beginning is classic Reacher, violently dispatching a group of troublemakers. The book looks at the fairly recent problems that America has suffered in regard to opioids, as well as looking at how badly a lot of former army vets are looked after by the government.

Strong book with more than a touch of politics. Not quite worth five stars, but I felt mean only giving it four.

Here concludes another foray into the world of Jack Reacher, and while me and my wife were away the other weekend, the hotel where we stayed had Amazon Prime, so we watched the first two episodes of the Reacher TV series. I liked it, and I think we should look at a one-month free trial, just so that we can watch the rest of the series.

Anyway, only four more Reacher books to go. After that, I have the collected short stories to read, and then the next book, No Plan B, is due to be released later in the year.

Reaching out for more Jack Reacher

My seemingly endless quest to read all 500* books in the Jack Reacher series continues. (*Slight exaggeration).

Gone Tomorrow (Book #13)

Reacher is once again in New York, travelling on the subway late at night, when he spots a woman who ticks all of the boxes that would indicate that she is a suicide bomber. Putting his own life on the line, he tries to talk to the woman, who promptly pulls a gun out of her bag and kills herself. Reacher is questioned by the police and then by a couple of groups in the shadows, who may or may not be government agents.

On top of this, a prominent politician has become embroiled. What does he know? What is he hiding from Reacher? There is also a woman pretending to be a Russian journalist, looking for her father, supposedly an American soldier, who might now be a politician.

Another good Reacher thriller, although there are some issues. If there was only one copy of the photograph, why is it on a memory stick, and what was on the photograph that resulted in so many deaths? I think Lee Child was following John Grisham with this book, leaving a few loose threads hanging.

Worth Dying For (Book #15)

This book follows only a few days after the end of 61 Hours (Book #14), which finished with us not knowing if Reacher had survived. Spoiler, he survived. Anyway, Reacher is tired, injured and not at his best as he is dropped off in the middle of Nebraska. Drinking coffee in the only motel around, the owner receives a phone call saying that a woman has been attacked by her husband and requires medical assistance. The only doctor in the area is currently half drunk in the motel bar where Reacher is.

Reacher forces the doctor to visit the woman, and then Reacher searches for her husband to give him a dose of his own medicine. The husband is the son of the Duncan clan, a local family who rules the area and have done for over 20 years. Slowly more and more thugs arrive in the area, hell bent on taking out Reacher. What does all of this have to do with a missing girl, and what are the Duncan’s really up to?

This book was fairly grim, with very little levity, but as usual the plot ticks along nicely while Reacher gradually fills the local hospital with more and more thugs.

The Affair (Book #16)

This book takes us back a number of years to when Reacher was still in the army. A beautiful woman has been murdered, her throat slashed, in a small town adjacent to a large army base in rural Mississippi. Reacher is sent to investigate, but under cover and into the town, while another military policeman investigates within the army base.

Reacher meets the local sheriff, who just so happens to be a former military policeman, but with a different branch of the armed forces. There have been two other similar murders in the town, as well as two disappearances in Kosovo, where the men stationed at the army base have just come from. The army is looking for a cover up, something that Reacher won’t do. This case goes right to the top of the pentagon, and if Reacher survives, his career definitely won’t.

I must admit that I quite like it when Lee Child goes back to Reacher’s time in the army, especially with this book as it details Reacher’s last case and how he came to leave the army.

A Wanted Man (Book #17)

This book follows on immediately after Worth Dying For (Book #15). While Lee Child likes to write one book a year, the timeline of the books is much shorter. Early on we find out that Reacher was born in 1960. That would mean that in the latest books Reacher would be over 60 years old. While he is described as getting old, his date of birth doesn’t get mentioned in later books, apart from saying that it was in October.

Anyway, Reacher is unsuccessfully trying to hitch a ride out of Nebraska, when eventually a car stops for him. Inside are two men and a woman, all dressed in the same shirts, but definitely not together. Reacher guesses that the woman has been kidnapped and the men picked up Reacher to change the numbers in the car so that they can pass safely through a couple of road blocks.

Meanwhile, a local sheriff and an FBI agent are investigating a murder. Other government agencies suddenly turn up on the scene. How did the murderer escape? Was he on foot? Why did they carjack a random stranger? Reacher seems to have been implicated in the murder and carjacking, hence why he is a wanted man.

The start of this book is slow. I skimmed quite a few chapters until my interest was piqued. Unfortunately, halfway through the book slowed down once again. The ending was good, but this was probably the weakest Reacher book that I had read so far, hence why I only gave it 3 out of 5. I don’t think I’m alone here, as the average score is the lowest I have seen in this series.

The other three books reviewed here were all given 4 stars, which is fair, although a little lower than their average scores. Finally, I have finished another four books in the series, which I will blog about soon, with another five books in the series still to read, and one more book to be released in time for Christmas.

Reacher, Reacher, Reacher

I don’t want to give the impression that all I’ve done in the last few weeks is read Jack Reacher books, although that isn’t too far from the truth. Me and my lovely wife Helen have spent almost a week in the Lake District enjoying Loughrigg Tarn (read about it here), and with the hot weather we cooled off swimming and lazed about reading. Hopefully we’ll have chance to go back before the end of the summer.

One day I would like to blog about a book within a couple of days of finishing it. At the moment I have 28 books lined up for reviewing. It is my own fault. Last summer I hardly blogged, although I was still reading as much as always. On top of that, my new job involved a train journey to Manchester one day a week, giving me an extra two hours of reading time.

Anyway, here is a review of another four Jack Reacher books.

The Enemy (Book #8)

This is the first book in the series to be set back when Reacher was in the army. If you were to read the books in chronological order, this might be the one to start with.

Reacher finds himself suddenly transferred from active duty in Panama to a more supervisory role in an army camp a long way from anywhere. He also finds out that a number of his contemporaries have also been transferred. Someone high up is playing chess, especially when Reacher finds out that the signature of his commanding officer transferring him was forged.

However, before Reacher can get to the bottom of that, a general is murdered in a seedy motel next to strip club. And then the general’s wife is also found dead. The strippers in the club have been known to earn a little extra by taking soldiers to the motel for an hour, but none of them will admit to being with the general. More importantly, where is the general’s briefcase. Another murder then occurs within the base and Reacher is framed for it. The victim was a well liked member of Delta Force, who are out for revenge. Can Reacher solve the murders before either he is sent to prison, or is killed himself.

As with all Reacher books there is a lot going on here, with a main plot and sub plot, which as expected are intricately linked. The book is also set in a time when being gay in the armed forces wasn’t allowed, even before the don’t ask, don’t say era. I’m pleased to say that Reacher is forward thinking and doesn’t have a problem with gay men and women serving in the army, stating simple statistics that with the armed forces numbering almost one million, there must have been at least 50,000 who were gay.

One Shot (Book #9)

A sniper opens fire just as people are leaving work, killing five. One bullet misses. Within hours the police have arrested a suspect. The evidence is overwhelming. His van is on camera. His fingerprints are on the gun and it’s his gun. When arrested he doesn’t say anything except that you’ve got the wrong man and to get Reacher.

Reacher is three states away when he sees the name of the shooter on the news. He immediately jumps on a bus to get to the city in question as quickly as possible. Reacher is under no illusion that the shooter is guilty and is therefore surprised to find out that the shooter requested his presence. Things get more complicated when the District Attorney’s daughter becomes the defense lawyer. Then Reacher is attacked outside of a bar and again framed for murder.

Another good book with plenty of twists and turns, although the reason’s behind the shooting seem a little contrived and far fetched. The villains also feel contrived, almost wasted in this plotline. I’m also fairly sure that this book was turned into one of the films staring Tom Cruise (too short for the part, just saying).

Nothing To Lose (Book #12)

I know that I’m jumping past book #10 and #11, but I reviewed them over a month ago, back when I wasn’t fussed about reading the books in order.

Reacher finds himself traveling through Colorado. He’s hitching and is dropped off in the small town of Hope. It is too early to stop so Reacher decides to walk the 12 miles to the next town, Despair, with the aim of a coffee, some food and maybe a ride out of the town in the other direction. Instead he is refused service at the only diner and then two hoodlums attempt to teach Reacher a lesson. It doesn’t go well for them, however, they turn out to be Police Deputy’s and Reacher is arrested. Four hours later Reacher is up before a judge on Vagrancy charges, found guilty and driven back to the border between the two towns.

Not one to turn around, Reacher is determined to find out what is going on in the town of Despair with the help of the Sheriff from Hope.

Why does the town of Despair not want anyone staying there? Where is the Sheriff of Hope’s husband? Who are the random women in the motel in Hope? Why is there a unit of Military Police stationed on the other side of Despair.

Another good Reacher book, although the ending is maybe a little big and a little unbelievable. It is alos the first book in the series to have an average score lower than 4 stars, so while I enjoyed it, there have been a number of other readers who have had some issues with the story.

61 Hours (Book #14)

I’m missing out book #13 as it wasn’t available from Music Magpie. I might have to purchase it new!

Anyway, 61 hours is a countdown, but a countdown to what? Probably something that isn’t going to be good, and probably not going to be good for Reacher. It’s winter and Reacher finds himself stranded in Bolton, South Dakota. He was on a bus which crashed due to a blizzard. The police in the town are welcoming, but something is going on. There is a large biker gang a few miles outside of the town who are suspected of making and selling Meth. They are based in an old army base, but why are there no records of the base and what was it used for?

One of the bikers was arrested for dealing meth, and an old woman in the town is due to testify against him. The biker is being held at a relatively new prison, a large prison, also on the outskirts of the town. The Mayor signed a deal whereby if there is a riot or an escape, all of the police in the town have to go to the prison, immediately. If this were to happen, the old woman would be left without police protection, so Reacher offers to help.

On top of this, who is the deranged crime lord from Mexico who is on his way to Bolton, and why?

Another good book in the series, and what the army base is storing is unexpected, as is the explosive ending. We also get to meet, albeit via a phone line, Major Susan Turner, one of the supporting characters in Book #18 Never Go Back, which was also made into a film with Tom Cruise (still too short to play Jack Reacher).

However, there is a definite cliff hanger at the end, so my advice would be not to read book #15 Worth Dying For, until you have read this one.

Even More Jack Reacher

I will admit it, along with millions of others, I have become addicted to Jack Reacher. I’ve also started reading them almost in order. The first two books were on offer as e-books, but after that I’ve been searching for them in charity shops and second hand bookshops, which can be a bit random as to what you might find. Music Magpie came to the rescue with five Reachers books for ten pounds; can’t go wrong with that (read about the website here). While my last Jack Reacher book review looked at books #7, #10, #11 and #18, I am now reading them almost in order.

Tripwire (Book #3)

Jack Reacher is running out of money. He’s still wandering the country, but for the last few months he has been digging swimming pools in Key West during the day, and working as a doorman at a strip club in the evenings. When a Private Investigator finds him, Reacher pretends that he isn’t who he is, until the PI is found dead. Two ‘goons’ then show up looking for Reacher, who leave alive but with a few bumps and bruises. Reacher then goes on the hunt back to New York to follow the trail of the PI, bumping into the grown up daughter of his former army boss.

The trail leads back to a helicopter pilot, who appeared to be a hero until he suddenly deserted, and what has this to do with a company that has short term financial difficulties.

This was probably about the 8th book in the series that I read, and going back near to the start of the series I noticed a few differences in the style. It almost felt as if this was the first book where Reacher was developing as a character. The first time that he makes mistakes. Books #1 and #2 he comes across as almost super human, and here he shows us that he isn’t infallible, which is a welcome addition.

Running Blind (Book #4)

The author and publisher are keen to stress that the books can be read in any order. I don’t think that is completely true. There is quite a lot of overlap in books #3 and #4, as well as allowing us to see why Reacher became a long term wanderer or ‘hobo’.

Reacher is still in New York, he has a house, a car and a girlfriend. He isn’t sure about the first two, but without them he is likely to lose his girlfriend. One evening, Reacher is enjoying a meal in a new restaurant, when he notices the owner being given a shake down for protection money. Reacher intervenes and sends the hired muscle to the hospital. Reacher is then promptly arrested by the FBI for murder.

A serial killer is on the loose who is killing ex-military. Specifically women who left the army after making official complaints about sexual harassment. Reacher was the military policemen in charge of two of these cases. Under duress he is held by the FBI as an unofficial assistant, although he remains under lock and key. Something doesn’t add up.

Echo Burning (Book #5)

In the sweltering heat in Texas, Reacher has to make a sudden escape when the police come looking for him. Its too early to catch a bus, so his only hope is to hitch a ride before the police catch up with him. He knows that it will be highly unlikely that he’ll find a ride, until an attractive Mexican woman picks him up. She wants him to kill her husband, who is currently in jail on tax evasion charges, but has made a deal to be released early. The woman states that upon his release he will continue beating her as he did before. She has no money and can’t escape without her young daughter.

Reacher obtains a job at the ranch were she lives and is immediately on alert. He is then arrested on spurious charges, but while being driven to the police station a call on the radio comes in saying that the woman has shot her husband dead.

The family that the Mexican woman married into are rich, white and racist. What is the DA hiding? Who are the mysterious killers on the loose? Is the woman lying about her background?

Without Fail (Book #6)

Reacher is hired to kill the vice-president elect. To be more accurate, he is hired as an outside contractor to look at ways that the VP could potentially be murdered. The new head of the secret service is convinced that the recent threats made towards the VP could be coming from inside her organisation. To complicated things she used to work with, and subsequently date, Reacher’s older brother Joe a number of years before he died.

Reacher finds numerous places where the VP is at risk, and along with his former colleague Francis Neagley, they set about aiding the secret service in finding who is trying to kill the VP.

Is the threat from within? Have a number of clues been missed? Why has the VP suddenly been targeted?

All the Jack Reacher books reviewed here are page turners, although the reviews on Goodreads can be quite surprising. There are more than a few 2 or 3 star reviews, many complaining about poor editing or major plot holes and continuity issues. All of the books here have scores slightly above 4 stars, which is fair, as I gave all four of these books 4 stars as well.

What appeals to me? Mostly the books are incredibly easy to read. I often skim pages, knowing that it is unlikely that I’ll miss anything too vital. There is a certain amount of righteous justice prevailing throughout the series. Reacher doesn’t injure or kill anyone who doesn’t deserve it, and while the overall theme in each book might not change, each book is highly entertaining.

What is also interesting is the changes in 1st person and 3rd person narratives. Some Reacher books are fully written from his perspective in 1st person. Other books are totally third person. A couple of books are 1st person for Reacher and 3rd person for other characters. Writing rules would probably state that you shouldn’t mix and match narratives this way.

There are some multi-million selling authors out there that for the life of me can’t understand the appeal (Dan Brown, EL James, etc), but for me Lee Child’s Jack Reacher is a compelling character. I also like that fact that nearly all of the books that I’ve read so far have been bought second hand. I don’t think Lee Child will miss the additional income.

More Jack Reacher

I’m hooked. I can’t lie, I have become a Jack Reacher fan, albeit one very late to the party. So late in fact that Lee Child had almost given up writing Reacher books. The most recent Reacher books have been written in collaboration with Andrew Child, who I assumed was Lee Child’s son, keeping it in the family. Turns out that Lee Child had a grown up daughter, and no son.

Andrew Child is a pseudonym, his real name is Andrew Grant, a thriller writer in his own right. Lee Child is also a pseudonym, his real name is Lee Grant, the older brother of Andrew Grant. He is keeping Jack Reacher in the family after all. The idea is that Andrew will co-write a few books with Lee, and then Lee will step aside.

One of the good things about the Reacher books is that they don’t have to be read in order, which I can attest to having read a few random ones. Another good thing is that because the books are so popular, they can invariably be picked up in second hand bookshops and charity shops, which is what I intend to do. I have a small note book with a list of all of the books, with ticks against nine of them to indicate which books I have (double tick for the ones I’ve read).

I won’t dwell too long on Reacher’s back story. He’s career army, ending up as a Major in the military police, from an army family, never staying in one place very long. Upon leaving the army he finds himself travelling around America with no belongings. I get the feeling that he might have intended to do this for a limited period until he found his place, but in the first book, Killing Floor, he finds his brother’s dead body, which I could suppose was the catalyst for him becoming a permanent hobo.

Persuader (Book #7)

In Persuader, Jack bumps into a face from his past. A man who should be dead. A man who deserved to die. Jack teams up with some FBI agents, working off the book due to a botched operation where an undercover agent ended up dead. The plan is for Jack to infiltrate the crime syndicate and find out who killed their agent, although Jack has his own agenda, to find the man from his past and ensure that this time he remains dead, for good. Things start off badly when Jack kills a cop, and then it all get worse.

The Hard Way (Book #10)

Jack is drinking coffee in New York late at night when a man drives off in a Mercedes. The very next night, in the same place, a man asks Jack what he saw. Apparently he witnessed a kidnapper drive off with the ransom money. Jack becomes embroiled in trying to save a mercenary’s wife and step daughter. Who are this shady bunch of mercs, and why does the boss have millions in cash available at the drop of a hat? Who is the woman watching from an overlooking apartment, making copious notes. Why is a former FBI agent willing to help? The action starts in New York, but ends up in London, with the explosive finale taking place in a small farm in Norfolk. Jack hits a dead end in finding the kidnappers, so he sets about finding clues ‘The Hard Way’.

Bad Luck and Trouble (Book #11)

Jack’s bank account has too much money, exactly $1030 too much money. 1030 is an old army code for immediate assistance required. It can only mean one thing, a former colleague from his army days is in trouble. Jack races to LA, and meets up with Frances Neagley, his very capable former sergeant. Jack’s former team comprised eight people, and one of them is dead. Where are the other five and why aren’t they answering their phones? What was their dead colleague working on and why is Jack being followed by an out of town cop? The stakes are raised as they race off to Las Vegas as the bodies pile up. Fortunately, Neagley has a friend in the Pentagon helping out, although if they fail, thousands of innocent people could die.

A small note, apparently Frances Neagley was a character in the first series of Reacher on Amazon, even though she didn’t appear in the book the series was based upon. She will be returning to reprise her role in the second series, which is based upon this book. As I said, we don’t subscribe to Amazon Prime and haven’t watched the series, although the actor playing Reacher looks more suited to the part than Tom Cruise.

Never Go Back (Book #18)

Jack is in contact with Major Susan Turner, the new commanding officer in the role that Jack used to have, many years ago. Jack goes to meet her and finds out that she has been arrested on trumped up charges. Jack is then informed that there are two outstanding items concerning him, one of which he is arrested for. A murder 16 years ago, and Jack is the prime suspect, the only suspect. On top of this, he is informed that he has a 15 year old daughter, who with her mother have fallen on hard times and are currently living in a car. The final insult is when Jack is informed that he is now back in the army. We then have prison escapes and a race across the country, expecting to find army guns being sold on the black market.

This particular book was made into the second Reacher film staring Tom Cruise, which I haven’t watched.

I have to say that all of the Reacher books that I’ve read so far follow a similar formula. Jack finds himself in danger, makes a few wrong turns, is helped out by an attractive woman, possibly FBI or army, they briefly hook up, everything becomes complicated, everyone nearly dies, Jack saves the day and then disappears into the night. It’s a good formula, and they books are highly addictive. The writing flows nice and easy, even if there might be a little too many descriptive paragraphs.

I’ve given all of these book reviewed above 4 stars, which is almost exactly the average from thousands of people on Goodreads.

As an aside, I am a big fan of the Repairman Jack series of books from F Paul Wilson. In that series, our Jack is often expected to be a larger than life hero, much like Jack Reacher, and people are often disappointed when he turns out to be of a normal size.

Anyway, I’m going to keep on looking in charity shops and second hand bookshops for the remaining hundred books in the series that I’ve not yet read.

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.