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4.2 out of 5 stars
Die Trying  (Jack Reacher)
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2005
I picked this up after reading a rave review of Child's most recent book in the NY Times (Maslin). I enjoy tense, well written thrillers, particularly with noble, loner heroes- like Travis McGee, Matt Scudder, Lew Archer,etc. I was hoping that Reacher fit the bill.

Not quite.

The good news: The story moves quickly, and if you are looking for lots of action you will be happy. At times, I felt like I was reading a pitch for next seasons plot of "24". While that may sound like a recomendation, let me tell you that after 400 pages it is not. It is wearisome.

There are many problems with the book- much of it makes no sense, even for a beach read. A prior review mentioned the shrugging fetish- I swear, for 50 pages, the characters shrugged nearly every interaction. I thought it was a joke.

That's not the worst, however. No, there is one thing that kills any book (or movie), and it appears here twice.

I'll set the scene. Reacher and Holly are locked in the trunk or the back of a van for a trip from Chicago to Montana. Little sleep or food and no bath. Sadistic killers driving them to god knows where. But they are handcuffed together, and presumably they have talked through all the escape options, so there is only one thing to do: make out. That's right, they kiss, and they keep kissing until the truck they are held hostage in takes a sharp turn. Damn.

Later on, an ally is discovered by the bad guys. Not to ruin the suspense, but Reacher and Holly find the poor soul cruicified and gutted in the woods, flies buzzing all around. So after burying him, what do you think our heroes do? I swear, on page 268, they actually make love. I'm not kidding. And if that isn't the most unintentionally disturbing love scene in history, I don't want to know what is.

All in all, I will not be seeking out any more Reacher books.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2000
This book in fact has good pace, but the problem is that all else seems to have been thrown overboard in order to achieve that. First off, good, sensible plot development - there are just far too many coincidences: why the hero just 'happens' to be next to where the woman is snatched, why the baddies don't get rid of him earlier (he's six-five, menacing and with a serious attitude problem!), etc, etc. And any character depth also goes out the window, particularly the baddies: they're all just a bunch of faceless, interchangeable morons who wave guns and shout dumb orders. Fast pace, but overall you can't help feeling this is just the book version of a rambo movie: seriously insulting to the intelligence.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2005
Lee Child is a good writer, a successful one as well.

That said, 'Die Trying' was an over-written bore. The desciptive passages are so thick I nearly tripped over them: the weapons, the motivations, the scenery...you name it, Child describes it in detail. Again and again and again.

By the time I got towards the end, I lost all empathy for the characters. I just wanted to know how the pliot was resolved.

All in all, Child has written more winners than losers. But 'Die Trying' is most certainly in the loser category.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2013
This is the second Reacher novel that I've read. I started with the first, "Killing Floor" which I liked despite some logic issues.

So here we have the second Reacher novel, and once again, Jack is in the wrong place at the wrong time. In this case, he's strolling down the sidewalk near a dry cleaners and as he's walking by, he sees a nice looking woman with an injured leg walking out of the cleaners. She drops her cane and Reacher, being the gentleman, helps her pick it up. As he does so, suddenly he and the girl are surrounded by armed thugs, shoved into a car, and ultimately driven across country in the back of a van to the mountains into a militia compound. You later learn that the girl is an FBI agent, daughter of the head of the Joint Chiefs, and the president's goddaughter. Reacher just happened to be taken along with her, and little did the bad guys know, this was a huge mistake on their part. It escalates from there. Anything involving Reacher involves gunshots and snapped necks.

Some things I've noticed(that others have mentioned):

1. Why. . .why. . .why, do all the characters in the books end most of their statements with "Right?" Like, "That's the plan, right?" "We have two options, right?" Every character minor or major talks this way and it ultimately begins to stand out. It becomes glaringly noticeable to the point that it bothers you.

2. Nods and shrugs. I guess Lee Child feels that you can convey endless messages just by nodding and shrugging.

3. He overwrites. Lee, we don't need a whole page describing one thing or one thought or how a lock mechanism works. Really.

As the title states, this book could have been shorter but it seemed like Child just didn't know how to put it to bed, or maybe he just didn't want to. Either way, I got to around 65% and I was thinking, "Ok, time to start winding down now," but no, it just kept going and going. Just when you thought things were going to go off a cliff and hurtle to a conclusion, he'd pull back. It began to border on tedium. Since I was already so far in, I decided to finish it. May as well, right?

Since this is only my second book and there's like fifteen or so more of these books, I'll hold off judging the whole series. As of now, I sorta like them, but far from love them.

Oh, and I don't care what anyone says, David Baldacci's new John Puller character whether he's a Reacher ripoff or not(yes, there are similarities, but Puller has more personality), is awesome.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2013
** spoiler alert ** I liked the first Jack Reacher book but Die Trying was a mess. ***Warning Spoilers***. Very little worked for me in this book. A kidnapped FBI agent keeps escaping from an escape proof room and they keep just putting her back in it. What?!? Reacher keeps escaping, keeps getting caught and the bad guys still don't kill him. Ok, that's a thriller trope, I can live with that, but it's pretty extreme in here.. None of the FBI agents behave like you would expect an FBI agent to. We can't send in the military, 8 Marines aren't enough against a 100 militia wackos so lets sneak in 3 FBI agents wearing suits. Really? Child leaves open loops about mass suicide and women wanting to escape the compound. Finally, it's a .50 caliber, not half inch. Militia members would know that so Child comes off sounding like a neophyte.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2009
I am currently on book 5 of the Jack Reacher stories, and although Lee Child has gotten better, his stories always bring me to incredulous hysteria at least once per book!! Picture this; the bad guys have nailed a man's body to 2 trees, a few feet apart. They nail his hands higher on the tree trunks and his feet, lower. When the good guys come to take the body down, Child has them pull the nails from the hands first! This drops the body down over itself, they then unnail the feet. Just doesn't make sense! They should have un-nailed the feet first, then the hands and he would have slipped right into the grave. A later book describes an FBI agent as having hair a yard long, which she wears loose, sometimes. There's no way a women with a physical job, can wear long hair loose, as she would have to stop and pull it out of the way everytime she reached for a badge or a gun! It may answer a need for fantasy long hair, but it ain't gonna cut it in the real world. And then his wardrobe style, buy an outfit and throw it out when it gets dirty! Makes a point of describing his singular toiletry as being a collapsible toothbrush. Tho he showers every time he can, he dresses in dirty clothes and goes out without toothpaste or deodorant?? And still gets the girl? Not on this planet! Now he's started washing his clothes in a motel washbasin and hanging them to dry overnight on the chairs in the room......are they upholstered? Not going to dry very well. Are they straight back wooden? Wood stain will crock off on the clothes. We logical travelers use the towel rod , coat hangers, or the shower curtain rod to hang out drying clothes. Now for the piece de resistance! In the current book I'm reading, it's 110 degrees in Texas, so now he washes his clothes and puts them on wet, to help him keep cool longer! And he expects people to take him seriously? The problem is, he's such a good, descriptive word picture kind of guy, that there is no way you can miss this stuff!! He needs a common sense editor. He does great on military, law enforcement, weapons and sex, but puh-leez!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2013
If you are fascinated by the mechanics of guns, and are fascinated how gravity and the wind move bullets a certain way (duh) then this book is for all you sniper wanna bees. Add to that a big cheesy dose of a band of militia in the woods of Montana fighting against our own Rambo (Jack Reacher) and you have all the ingredients for your own private woody. Seriously, the author does not develop his Reacher character at all in this followup novel to the first one. The premise is lame, the writing is boring (count how many times a character "shrugs" in this book---worse than the last one...) and the ending is so quickly and neatly tied up you almost wonder if the author wrote the ending or his publisher. It's made for TV. There are parts in the book that are so impertinent to the story it's like a commercial interruption. Alas, it has best seller written all over it, which tells you the real sad state of affairs in America...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2014
This is my second Jack Reacher novel and I must say that although I enjoyed "Killing floor" more, neither was a great read. Reacher is a great character, but Childs's writing is only average. He also has a tendency to frequently and repeatedly end dialogue sentences with "right." This might be acceptable if it were the idisyncracy of one character, but every character (men, women, cops, robbers) does it. Somewhat amatuerish and very annoying. The plot of Die Trying is also cliched in that it deals with right-wing militias, which reflects the age of the book. That being said, even in the early 1990s militias had been overwritten--especially given the fact that they were never really widespread and never really caused a problem to begin with. I was dissapointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2012
I recently discovered the Reacher series and had to backtrack to begin at the beginning. This was the third book I read and I could have skipped it and not missed a thing. Implausible from the beginning..Why would the kidnappers take a 6'5" gorilla of a man cross country instead of just offing him when they torched the stolen car? Reacher ignores several chances to escape and get help for what seem very flimsy reasons, and as the story continues he is kept alive no matter how much trouble he causes. Although I have enjoyed the other Reacher novels this one doesn't add up.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 1998
Mr. Child's first crime novel showed promise, though his protagonist conformed to the standard format for such types (and that's all they are): a 20th c. Beowulf out to slay the dragon (evil force) by virtue of his inborn virtue, clever mind, and brute strength. This second in the series reminds me of all of those second rock albums that never should have been produced. But the industry required a sequel, and Mr. Child has come up with the proper word count but not much more. The entire plot premise used here is preposterous and utterly fails to engage the reader's willing suspension of disbelief. This is shopworn, second-rate stuff.
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