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on September 11, 2012
It's with a heavy heart that I have to write this review. Before we start, as you can tell from my name, Reacher Creature, that I'm a huge fan of Lee Child and Jack Reacher. I had this day circled on the calendar, and pre-ordered it. I just can't believe that Lee Child wrote this clunker. Okay, let's just get this over with. This is a horrible book.

Reacher is hitchhiking and he only wanted to get to Virginia. He gets a ride, but then soon realizes that things aren't what they seem. Reacher was only picked up as a decoy to help get people through a couple of police check points. As always, Reacher is nobody's pawn, and wants to get to the bottom of things, and make the bad guys pay with the justice only Reacher can dish out.

There are so many things wrong with this clunker:

1) Things are repetitive. Here is an example. Reacher makes a 9-1-1 call. The 9-1-1 goes through a "chain of command" four or five times, and we get to hear the call each time. Then when the right person gets the call, we hear it again, then the person goes through it sentence by sentence and analyzes each line. It's painful to read over and over and over. Another character had a conversation with Reacher, and plays it over and over, line by line, picking it apart, word by word. It's brutal.

2) So many long and pointless scenes That are drawn out. As the reader, we're treated to an entire chapter of the following: a) Someone looking for a car. b) Someone walking up a driveway. Mind you, those aren't in the same chapter, *each* of them is a long and tedious chapter. It is so pointless, boring, and a waste of time.

3)Too much time in the car. Reacher and his travel mates spend way, way, way to much time in the car. It's tedious and boring.

4) There's no movement of the plot. The plot is one major flatline. When we read, we expect the plot to move at an even pace, and all of the scenes have to build up on each other, like a flight of stairs. That doesn't happen. This is a very long and a very boring read.

5) The characters. The characters are flat, including Reacher. Honestly, all of the characters are boring and interchangeable. They have no substance or quality to them.

6). Reacher threatens a child. This is horrible! Never would I even think Reacher would threaten a child.

I think that one of two things happened with this book. 1) Lee Child never wrote this. If someone told me that he turned over notes and chapter outlines, like James Patterson does, then I'd believe them. 2) If Lee Child did write this, then he didn't give his best effort, and he's a sell out. He's just interested in making money, and not making a good quality story, like he has in the past. If this is the case, then it's a slap in the face to the fans.

I have heard that Lee was giving some thoughts on how and when he would end the series. If he's even thinking that way, then it's time to end it. I didn't like The Affair, and gave him a pass on it. However, I can't this time around. If he's thinking about ending this series, then he needs to do it now, before it's too late, and it already might be to late.

I can honestly say that I'll never buy another Lee Child book again. I'll get them at at the library, but never again will I spend my money on the books, I've been burned twice. As the saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." Indeed, shame on me. It's a mistake I won't be making again.

Honestly, this book is a waste of time. If you have to get it, then get it at the library. It honestly kills me to say that about a Reacher book.
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on September 12, 2012
Like many other reviewers I had pre-ordered and eagerly anticipated the latest 'Jack Reacher' installment. The best I can say is that it is disappointing, the worst - awful. Lee Child lost his game or let someone else ghost write.

Reacher is in Nebraska looking to get to Virginia. So he does what he always does - he sticks out his thumb. He gets picked up by two men and a woman, all dressed alike. The journey begins... and the journey is boring, I felt like the proverbial child, 'are we there yet?' Too much straight Midwestern road, not enough plot.

Child has always written Reacher as a cerebral man but the 'one step ahead of the bad guys' thinking becomes too convenient - he can't always be right. The bad guys are cliches and the good guys are one dimensional. The book ends abruptly without a satisfying conclusion.

It must be difficult to continually write a series about a man without home or hearth and no connection to anyone. Maybe Child is out of ideas - he should have skipped this one.
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on September 11, 2012
I have enjoyed the Reacher series quite a bit and have read them all more than once. But I was very disappointed in this one. The plot is convoluted, un-necessarily obscure and ploddingly slow. Lots of time in cars. Endless commentary on the virtues of the Ford Crown Vic. And no action until the very end. The author must know that an effort like this one is going to be characterized either as just written for the money or as proof that he has run out of inspiration. Also, why would anyone persist in using the diminutive Tom Cruise in the movie role when fans almost universally reject him as having anything to do with the Reacher character?
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on September 14, 2012
I have read all the books in this series and loved them all...until this one that is. Time to get Jack out of the midwest empty fields and back to civilization. Reacher also is starting to sound more like a hobo and less than a man not on a mission but visiting America at his leisure. The premise is really getting old and stale. Time for some new action or some kind of a new story line. I don't think Tom Cruise will help the franchise any, by the way. Six feet five inches tall... really?? I think he's 5 foot 6 inches or something. His ex-wife had to duck down for their wedding pictures or be taller than him. Come on Lee, you can write better than this.
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on September 15, 2012
I waited for months to read this book. The early review was a great come-on to buy the Reacher story. I love Reacher and Lee Child. However, I read this book in eight hours because it was so wordy and boring. It started out great. Reacher on the interstate trying to get to Virginia. He was picked up by two men and a lady. The night was cold (Nebraska is cold in the winter) and he was very much in need of a ride.

The first half of the book was in the car with no action. No planning. No anything. The 2nd quarter was confusing. The last 1/8th was exciting. The final page told us very briefly what the plot was all about.

The characters were not developed, confusion was rampant, no substance. Ending bad. This was not a Lee Child, Reacher book, couldn't be. Boring!

Lee you disappointed me. Again, you will disappoint me with wimp Cruse playing Reacher in "Kill Shot". Hopefully you will write a better novel next time.

I rate this book a 1 because there was some action and a plot, finally.
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VINE VOICEon August 31, 2012
Despite having such an great and iconic character, Lee Child has recently struggled to avoid repeating himself with his Reacher stories. But somehow he always delivers a satisfying and entertaining read. But this one is a brave and successful attempt to try something different.

A murder in the middle of no-where and the bad guys decide having an additional person in the car may help them get past police roadblocks. Luckily they spot a hitch-hiker, not quite so luckily it's Jack Reacher wanting to head out of Nebraska and towards Virginia. The first half of the book is either placed in the car as Reacher realises there is more to the occupants then he first assumed or back at the crime scene where various agencies arrive with differing levels of knowledge and agenda. Key is a female FBI agent, almost a female image of Reacher who is the lead investigator.

The second half of the book has our agent catching up with an abandoned Reacher and another shocking murder puts them firmly on the trail of the bad guys. As the reader we are treated to the usual short sentences, the menace of Reacher and the bleak American landscape. (And by the way, try reading with Springsteen's Nebraska or Darkness at the Edge of Town on in the background, they are almost soundtracks to Reacher's wandering). We also know there is a fair bit of mystery around the original murder and the background is gently released throughout the book, so as Reacher gets nearer to the bad guys, we get to finally understand the full picture.

With the exception of some strange blinking Morse code that felt like Lee Child was trying to be too clever, this whole books works very well and the car scenes are very taut and claustrophobic. A welcome addition to the series.
(Review from the UK hardback copy)
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This latest Reacher novel is somewhat different from most of the earlier novels. It does not start out with a confrontation, cracked heads, or any real violence, and the suspense is much slower to develop than Reacher fans have come to expect. As a result, and as you may have noticed from the many reviews here indicating disappointment, many Reacher fans feel that Lee Child has let them down. The story is different from his previous books, and for Reacher fans looking for the expected level of immediate and usually violent retribution from Reacher as he rights whatever wrongs he encounters, it does not deliver in the way that previous novels have.

I too have enjoyed the previous Reacher novels more than I enjoyed this one. Like most of the other reviewers, I prefer more action and suspense with my Reacher. But I'm also not ready to give up on Lee Child quite yet, because I also enjoy following Reacher's thought process as he evaluates whatever situation he finds himself in, and I did enjoy reading A Wanted Man. It is true that it has less of the "I can't put it down" aspect of most of the other Reacher novels. So if you are looking for that, then this may not be the Reacher novel for you (or at least you might want to wait until it comes out in paperback, and save some money).

A Wanted Man is Reacher #17. It picks up immediately where #16 (Worth Dying For) ended - Reacher is standing on the side of the road in Nebraska, with a broken nose, hitchhiking. His goal is to eventually find his way to Virginia. He gets picked up and joins three others (two men and a woman) in a car headed towards Chicago.

The first quarter of the book alternates between Reacher, traveling cross-country in the car, and the police and FBI who are at the beginning of investigating a man left murdered in a small town. Reacher methodically analyzes the small clues of behavior he picks up from his traveling companions. The FBI duty officer assigned - Julia Sorenson - goes through a very similar process in working to determine who exactly the murder victim was, and what to do next. Terrorism possibilities are implied, the CIA is interested, but nobody will say exactly why.

The FBI agent finally joins Reacher, and after some difficulties in the beginning she finally comes to view Reacher as an ally and agrees to accept his assistance.

This first half or more of the book is almost totally absent of any action or violence, and maybe you need to be a Reacher fan to enjoy it. I don't know how it would be viewed to someone who is new to Reacher, but for me I enjoy following the internal dialogue of his thought process and the deliberate way in which the plot unfolds.

More importantly to the reader there is significantly less tension and suspense than in most other Reacher novels. The kidnapped woman, for example - this is a key motivator for the first half or more of the novel and yet for some reason it doesn't result in much of a sense of urgency for either Reacher or the FBI.

There are places where Reacher's actions are questionable. Why for example does Reacher get so belligerent with the two men in the car that they dump him at a remote motel somewhere in Iowa and before he can help the woman who they are holding hostage? Why didn't he think to simply ingratiate himself with them until the opportunity came to overpower them? And why, when he makes his first call to 911, at a stop for gas and while he is still with the people in the car, doesn't he tell the operator as much as possible before he has to hang up the phone, rather than wasting time getting them to transfer him to the FBI? These choices seem inconsistent with Reacher's tendency to think things through analytically before taking action, but I suppose that for Lee Child they are a necessary part of the imperfect path that does finally get Reacher to the finish line.

Suspense and action do pick up in the latter portions of the book, so if you have stuck with it for that long then you will be more satisfied. The body count does finally get up to a satisfactory (for Reacher) level, but not until very late in the book. The final scenes contain a lot of action, but even then it is less dramatic than most other Reacher novels. And I'm talking about the final 20 or 30 pages maybe, when the action does get to that level.

I can see where some fans are dissatisfied with the book as it does have considerably less action than many of the Reacher novels. We'll have to see if Lee Child takes the criticism to heart and adds more action to the next novel, but I would not want him to over-correct either.

I give this 3 stars, because for me the Reacher stories are all enjoyable to read and as a long time fan I find it impossible to resist a new Reacher story, but in comparison with others in the series, this one is definitely more cerebral and less breathless.


Now, some background into the Reacher character, as it has developed over the span of these 17 novels:

The main reason that Lee Child's novels are so compelling is the superb character that he has created - Jack Reacher (otherwise known to his fans as simply "Reacher"). He is unique.

In most ways, Reacher is straightforward to understand. He has been protecting the weak and those in distress since he was a schoolboy and helped his older brother when trouble arose. The family relocated frequently due to his father's service in the military, and he and his brother frequently had to re-establish themselves in a new location and in the small society of military children who were equally tough.

He has a clear view of right and wrong, forged during this upbringing and under the direction of a strong mother (who was French) and father, who was a Captain in the Marines. This view of the world was then reinforced during his 13 years of service as an Army MP. He has a strong moral code and complete integrity.

He is an imposing presence - physically above average in height and build - and exceptionally strong. He has highly developed skills in hand-to-hand fighting and other forms of combat developed during his MP years. As an MP he was often required to break up brawls between other highly trained soldiers (picture Reacher entering a bar, quickly moving over to two Army Rangers, grabbing them by the scruff of the neck, cracking their heads together and tossing them into a corner). Now, in civilian life, you can almost picture him as a gladiator in the ring, but his ring is the places of everyday life.

He is quick to take the law into his own hands if he feels that justice needs to be done. He does not abuse this by going beyond what circumstances require (in his opinion, anyway). In many of the novels he ends up working with regular law enforcement, offering his MP background to earn their trust and demonstrate his value. The results are generally good but the techniques are not always what the civilian police may like.

He does not let himself be disadvantaged by waiting for the other guy to strike first - if he knows that a fight is coming, he will hit first and end it quickly if he can.

His own personal needs are modest; he travels with only a toothbrush and the clothes on his back, doesn't own anything of any significance, and seldom stays in one place more than a couple of weeks. He is a man with essentially no baggage, both literally and figuratively.

He has few friends but those that he does have are loyal to a fault. Several of his colleagues from the MP days have reappeared over the course of the Reacher novels to help him out. He will almost always develop a relationship with a smart, strong and attractive woman in each of the stories, but they seldom last beyond that. Other than his Army MP history he doesn't have a complicated personal life or back-story that detracts from the main story line. A basic outline of his life growing up and while in the military evolves slowly over the course of the stories but, with just a couple of exceptions over the course of the 17 novels, it is not a main element of the tale.

He is smart, and clever in deducing and unraveling the schemes that he is presented with, picking up sometimes obscure clues and worrying them until a picture emerges.

Reacher is an individual with complete confidence in his own abilities, not looking for trouble - but not avoiding it either. He is the embodiment of "with great power, comes great responsibility", as applied to an average guy who just happens to be 6'5" and strong as an ox (and almost that exact phrase is one that his mother charged him with when, as a young boy, she recognized the strength that he had and the personality that was developing to go with it).

I've read all of these novels, at least two times each. For me the Reacher character is what distinguishes them from the many other "action thriller" type series with strong lead characters. I like the purity of Reacher's personality and his desire to do what is right.

And I have to say that, although I am a fan of Tom Cruise's movies and have enjoyed them very much, I just do not see Tom Cruise as providing a satisfactory portrayal of Reacher. I do understand why Cruise wants to play Reacher. But Cruise is about 20 years too old, and physically unsuitable - 5'7" compared to Reacher's 6'5". Reacher's size is an important part of the force and intimidation he projects. Also I could be wrong but I just do not see him doing justice to Reachers personality and style.

Sorry Tom. We Know Jack Reacher. And you're no Jack Reacher.

Reacher is not about being flamboyant. He is not interested in taking credit. Reacher simply does his good work, takes care of the situation, and moves on.


Finally, for those who may either be new to Jack Reacher, or who may benefit from a guide to the full series, here is a complete list of the Reacher novels as they were written. (Unfortunately Amazon doesn't allow links for more than ten to be included in a review):

Killing Floor (Jack Reacher, No. 1)
Die Trying (Jack Reacher, No. 2)
Tripwire (Jack Reacher, No. 3)
Running Blind (Jack Reacher, No. 4)
Echo Burning (Jack Reacher, No. 5)
Without Fail (Jack Reacher, No. 6)
Persuader (Jack Reacher, No. 7)
The Enemy (Jack Reacher, No. 8) (the prequel, this takes place before the events of Killing Floor)
One Shot (Jack Reacher, No. 9)
The Hard Way (Jack Reacher, No. 10)
Bad Luck and Trouble (Jack Reacher, No. 11)
Nothing to Lose (Jack Reacher, No. 12)
Gone Tomorrow (Jack Reacher, No. 13)
61 Hours (Jack Reacher, No. 14)
Worth Dying For (Jack Reacher, No. 15)
The Affair (Jack Reacher, No. 16). (also prequel to Killing Floor)
A Wanted Man (Jack Reacher, No. 17)

(Also featuring Reacher are Lee Childs short stories Second Son, which features Reacher at age 13, and Deep Down, which takes place during Reachers Army days, both available on Kindle)

If you want to read the books in "chronological-order", then this is the sequence: The Enemy (prequel); The Affair (prequel); Killing Floor; Die Trying; Tripwire; Running Blind (US title)/The Visitor (UK title); Echo Burning; Without Fail; Persuader; One Shot; The Hard Way; Bad Luck and Trouble; Nothing to Lose; Gone Tomorrow; 61 Hours; Worth Dying For, A Wanted Man.

Start with either Killing Floor (the first Reacher novel published) or The Enemy (the first chronologically) if you want to be in at the beginning, but little is lost from reading them out of order. I have enjoyed them all, recognizing that some of the books have a great deal more action and suspense than others. For me they are all great entertainment.
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on September 1, 2012
I am a late comer to Lee Childs Reacher books so have read them in order in the last six months. Thinking back although I have read every book they have nearly all blended into one, and A Wanted Man unfortunately will mostly blend into the rest.

The start was great, how to work out the dynamic between three people who he finds himself sharing a car ride with through the night. Unfortunately it was down hill from there, if only a gentle downward slope.

Still a good read though and I would recommend the series and the book but feel Reacher may be becoming a little tired.
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on September 15, 2012
I have been a Lee Child fan since his first novel the Killing Floor. I have all his novels and buy them when they first come out and wait patiently until the next. I have recommended him to many of my friends and share my copies frequently. The Wanted Man was by far the most disappointing Reacher novel the Lee Child has put out. I trust this was just a one time lackluster offering and I will await his next release.
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on September 14, 2012
With two our three exceptions the Reacher books have been real page turners for me. I couldn't lay them down. Most of them I have read for the second time already. But this one ...? I don't know. Where's the beef? With all the "tricks" about the words without an "a", the landscapes and gas stations in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri ..., it seems that Lee Child was searching for words in order to fill the empty sheets of paper. It took me three days to finish the book, there wasn't any incentive to read. Once the plot was untangled, somewhere in the middle, the only question left was: What will the body count be this time?

Okay, things happen. So I will wait one year and give Mr Child another shot with another book; hopefully a better one. Otherwise my only conclusion would be: Neither Jack Reacher is ageless, nor is Mr Child.

P.S.: I wasn't aware that there's a movie coming, therefore thanks for the many hints around here. But ... Tom Cruise = Jack Reacher? Jack Reacher = Tom Cruise? Never, ever! Reacher books are not thaaaaaat popular over here (across the pond), so I doubt that this movie will ever see the theaters here. Probably going directly to DVD/Bluray. But that's another point I don't understand. Why making a movie with a one-size-fits-all star, why not a TV show, like they did (for example) with the Walt Longmire stories on AETV? The actors there aren't coming fresh from the tabloids, but they are authentic.
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