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Book Review - A Wanted Man by Lee Child

Category Book Review Lee Child A Wanted Man
A Wanted Man: A Jack Reacher Novel

I like the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child... a lot.  Unfortunately, the last few installments have been uneven in terms of quality.  Some of the episodes advanced the Reacher character and story, while others felt more like placeholders tossed out to keep up the "book per year" pace.  A Wanted Man started out in the placeholder category for me.  But by the end, it had picked up sufficiently to keep me turning pages past the point where I would have turned out the light.

A Wanted Man starts out with Reacher in the middle of Nebraska at night, standing on the side of a freeway, hitchhiking his way to Virginia.  After 90 minutes, he finally gets picked up by a trio who are supposedly headed to Chicago.  But Reacher quickly figures out that the two guys in the car are not who they claim to be, and the woman is an unwilling passenger.  He also understands that he's now an additional hostage, and the wheels start turning in his mind... who are they, what did they do, where are they going, and most of all, how can he rescue the woman and escape?  

The story started out on the slow side, in my opinion.  The "action" shifts back and forth between Reacher's dilemma and the crime scene involving the two men who picked him up.  I know that Reacher is highly analytical, but the scene descriptions and Reacher's machinations are overly drawn out.  The detail didn't make up for the lack of pace.  But once Reacher makes his escape and hooks up with the authorities (on his terms, not theirs), things started to get somewhat more interesting.  Reacher's attitude begins to show up, and I enjoyed the tension between what the FBI agent knew she should do with Reacher vs. what she ended up doing.  The various twists were interesting, and took the story in a direction I didn't expect.  Having said that, I wasn't overly thrilled with the ending, as it seemed that there were still a large number of unknowns and loose ends that weren't resolved.  

I hate to say it, but the Reacher series might have hit the point of "so what"... Seventeen books in a series is a lot, and it's hard to keep the stories and plots fresh.  I still like Reacher as a character, and I have no doubt I'll read the next one that Child is working on, Never Go Back.  But it'll be a library book read, and I won't be overly concerned about where I'm at on the hold list.  

(P.S. - Casting Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher in the movie version of One Shot?  Really?  Did the movie execs or directors ever *read* a Jack Reacher novel? Worst casting decision ever...)

Obtained From: Library
Payment: Free


Gravatar Image1 - tom - been reading this series. Good enough on the train to make me miss my stop the other morning! have a good Thanksgiving and enjoy those Oregon wines.

Gravatar Image2 - Let me tell you on the onset that I found this book nowhere close to the Reacher I am used to reading about in the earlier books. The book starts as a typical Reacher novel where he finds himself in the middle of a situation in a new town while hitching a ride to Virginia. Meanwhile there is brutal murder in the nearby town which is being investigated by a special agent of FBI. Reacher’s intractions with the occupants of the car and the FBI investigation forms the basis of the book and how he is able to uphold justice the Reacher way eventually.
The book offers some good mathematical trivia, a Reacher trait which was not highlighted in earlier books. One is also treated to a nice geographical description of American towns, country side and interstate freeways. Keeping up with James Bond type image, Reacher manages to get to work with two beautiful ladies as usual.
Having said that I found the book very slow and somehow Lee Child has made the character of Jack Reacher a little less smart who takes more time to catch up to the clues than before.
Overall I think the book was only 50 percent worth my money.

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Thomas "Duffbert" Duff

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