Tripwire by Lee Child

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A man who arrives in Miami to find Jack Reacher but ends up dead, and Reacher is compelled to investigate. He discovers that Jodie Garber, the daughter of his old army commander, hired the man. Only, she’s not a kid anymore, and her father’s just died. Between trying to tie up the ends of Jodie’s father’s investigation and protecting Jodie, Reacher has his hands full. As usual.

By the end, it looks like drifter Reacher may be about to give up his drifting ways – but surely this can’t be the case?

If you love the Reacher books, with their violence, their little, dropped clues and their ridiculous love scenes (and extremely brief sex scenes), this will be another for you. The tension between Jodie and Reacher is blatantly obvious and, thank goodness *spoiler alert* is relieved despite their reservations. One thing I particularly like which happens in most of the series I’ve recently read is the red herring storyline. Reacher thinks one thing, everything points to it being that way but then – no! Reacher is wrong. No, wait, it’s not what it seems. Love it.

Just had to research if there are plans to make another Reacher film. The first was pretty disappointing, but the books really do scream to be dramatized. No further Reachers in production – but Mission Impossible 5 is on its way. Marvelous. That’s what Tom Cruise should be doing, I reckon.

Die Trying by Lee Child – Book Review

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A woman limping with a crutch staggers as she carries many outfits out of a dry cleaners, and luckily for her, Jack Reacher is walking past and assists her. Unluckily for him, they turn and are face two men with guns who bundle them into a van. She is Holly Johnson, FBI officer and daughter of a highly ranked government official. They are taken to the forest hideout of a survivalist group that plans to break free from the United States and form their own nation. But is everything ever as it seems? Reacher uses his bulk and wit to try to figure out how to save the girl; and later, the world.

I’ve probably mentioned it before – Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books are not high literature. One of the reviews I read for his first book, Killing Floor, pointed out that Child writes in short sentences that can read quite stilted, but I don’t care. They are a quick read, a change from deeper and more emotionally intense books. And I love them. I’m sure I must have read this before, but I couldn’t recall as I read it this time. I really liked the character of Holly Johnson. Tough, feisty and never giving up. Frustrated at both her injury and her place in the world, but prepared to risk everything rather than sitting on her rear end. And during one of his exciting escapes, we discover that Reacher has a weakness – confined spaces. Not like a lift; this is a teeny, tiny tunnel inside a huge mountain, and of course, he conquers his weakness in only two or three pages, but they were exciting pages. Where to next, Jack?

Killing Floor by Lee Child – Book Review

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What better to move on to from Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta novels than Lee Child’s  Jack Reacher novels? To go from a female Medical Examiner who follows all of the rules to an ex-army man who is drifting across the country who breaks whatever rules he needs whenever he needs to. Both have a strong sense of right or wrong, both end up in life-threatening situations, but their different approaches lead to very different books.

In this first book in the series, Reacher ends up arrested in a tiny town in Georgia. He is casually looking for the story behind the death of a little-known jazz musician but stumbles into a conspiracy that is bigger than the whole town. It feels like it is a fast-paced book, but that is more because the action sequences of the book are graphic and fast; in-between are long, slow investigations. This is the thing that surprised me in the Jack Reacher film (starring the terribly miscast Tom Cruise) – I expected graphic violence and fast-paced everything, but it was actually mostly very slow-paced.

For me, I love this series. I like a good fast read to clear my brain between more intellectual or literary novels. That is certainly not a criticism; books are entertainment, and if we can’t enjoy them on a variety of levels, what’s the point? Incidentally, the critical reviews of Lee Child’s work are a lot more amusing than that of Cornwell. I think people are genuinely offended by Child’s character and stories. I love it.

Jack Reacher (2012) Film Review

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If you like reading action novels and you don’t know who Jack Reacher is, get yourself to the library or a bookshop and become acquainted. He’s fantastic- ex-military cop with a very strong sense of right and wrong and justice. Since leaving the army, he has become a drifter. He carries little cash and no luggage, and always manages to get into trouble. Big, loud trouble with lots of death and injuries and guns. If you are unsure, he is awesome. I’d highly recommend reading the Wikipedia entry on this character – it’s very detailed. For example: “Physical appearance : Reacher is 6′ 5″ tall (1.96 m) with a 50-inch chest, and weighing between 210 and 250 pounds (100–115 kg). He has ice-blue eyes and dirty blond hair. He has very little body fat, and his muscular physique is completely natural (he reveals in Persuader, he has never been an exercise enthusiast). He is exceptionally strong, has a high stamina, but is not a good runner. He is also, allegedly, quite a handful in the bedroom.”

So, looking at an actor to play a massive strong action man, who would you pick? Bruce Willis? Too short. Liam Neeson? Too old. Chris Hemsworth? Maybe too young, but could pull it off, I reckon. Alexander Skarsgard? Perhaps too pretty. Surely it has got to go to someone big. Who did they get? Tom Cruise. Yup, all 170cms of him. I do really like Tom Cruise in a good action film – I wouldn’t want anyone else to be Ethan Hunt in the Mission Impossible films. But Reacher? Nope. He just couldn’t measure up.

What’s the plot? The film is based on One Shot, which by my calculations is the ninth Jack Reacher book. There has been a sniper attack with six random victims. All the evidence clearly points to one suspect. However, this suspect will not confess, simply asks for Jack Reacher. Reacher arrives in town (having seen reports of the case on the news) with the intention of ensuring the accused is convicted. However, he is employed by the defense to investigate and uncovers a much larger conspiracy.

It’s great as a book, but the problem with the plot in the film is that many of the aspects that are used in it have been seen many times on any number of cop TV shows. Between this and the miscasting of Tom Cruise and Rosamund Pike (she was great but she didn’t work in this role for me), and I just plain disliked this film. Thank goodness there were a lot of running and fighting scenes, or there would have been no point to the film at all.