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Nothing to Lose (Jack Reacher, No. 12) Hardcover – June 3, 2008

1,300 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of bestseller Child's solid 12th Jack Reacher novel (after Bad Luck and Trouble), the ex-military policeman hitchhikes into Colorado, where he finds himself crossing the metaphorical and physical line that divides the small towns of Hope and Despair. Despair lives up to its name; all Reacher wants is a cup of coffee, but what he gets is attacked by four thugs and thrown in jail on a vagrancy charge. After he's kicked out of town, Reacher reacts in his usual manner—he goes back and whips everybody's butt and busts up the town's police force. In the process, he discovers, with the help of a good-looking lady cop from Hope, that a nearby metal processing plant is part of a plan that involves the war in Iraq and an apocalyptic sect bent on ushering in the end-time. With his powerful sense of justice, dogged determination and the physical and mental skills to overcome what to most would be overwhelming odds, Jack Reacher makes an irresistible modern knight-errant. (June)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Jake Reacher only rents rooms one night at a time, confirming his “absolute freedom to move on.” About the only thing sure to convince Reacher to stick around is someone telling him he has to leave. That’s what happens when the former military policeman turned inveterate loner stops for a cup of coffee in an aptly named company town called Despair, Colorado. Strangers aren’t allowed in Despair, he’s told, and two cops arrive to drive him out to the city limits. You can run Reacher out of town, maybe, but you sure as hell can’t keep him out. Forming an unlikely alliance with a female cop in the neighboring town that’s called—you guessed it—Hope, Reacher sneaks back to Despair and finds all manner of strange goings-on: the creepy burg is run by a megalomaniac entrepreneur who is using his metal-salvage business for something definitely snarky. But what? Reacher finds the answers, of course, but to do so, he pretty much has to go up against the whole damn town. What is it that makes these action-fantasies so satisfying? Yes, there is something of the cartoon superhero in Reacher’s steel-trap mind and body, but the action is so grounded in everyday details that instead of laughing it all off as silly, we find ourselves responding on a deeply emotional, archetypal level. We all feel as if the whole town is against us sometimes; Reacher lets us experience what it would be like, just once, to slap every last one of the fools aligned against us upside the head and then, pausing only to pack our toothbrush, hit the highway. --Bill Ott

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press (June 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385340567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385340564
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,300 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Lee Child is the #1 internationally bestselling author of the Jack Reacher thrillers. His debut, Killing Floor, won both the Anthony and the Barry awards for Best First Mystery, and The Enemy won both the Barry and the Nero awards for Best Novel. "Jack Reacher", the film based on the 9th novel, One Shot, stars Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Rosamund Pike, Jai Courtney, and David Oyelowo and debuted in December 2012. Child, a native of England and a former television director, lives in New York City and the south of France with his wife and daughter. Find out more about Lee Child and the Reacher novels on his official website:, on Facebook LeeChildOfficial, on Twitter #LeeChildReacher, and YouTube leechildjackreacher.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

398 of 444 people found the following review helpful By JOHN ONEIL on June 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Disappointing. After reeling off 11 good to (often) great Reacher novels, Lee Child struck out with this one. It starts promising enough. Despair had all the makings of a great stage for Reacher to be Reacher, reminiscent of the Killing Floor. But the promise is never fulfilled. The meandering plot doesn't pull you in. Unlike previous stories, the villain is flat, two dimensional and far from frightening - a death sentence for any story of good vs. evil. The action is sparse.

Previous Reacher novels were impossible to put down. You were torn between your desire to get to the end and your hope that the story would keep going. After all, it would be another year before you got the next one. Sadly, that was not true here. The ending seemed slapped on, left lots of loose ends untied and seemed very uncharacteristic for Reacher. But worst of all, it didn't come too soon. It could have come 100 pages sooner.

These were the big problems with the book. Reacher's detour into politics and criticism of the war did seem out of character but not because I had any assumptions about his politics. He always struck me as outside of politics - outside of almost everything for that matter.

Lee, everyone is entitled to a miss, especially after the roll you have been on. Here is hoping the next one is back to your old form
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149 of 164 people found the following review helpful By BeachReader on June 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
After reading about 8 of Child's Jack Reacher books, I finally found a dud. It started out thrilling, as expected, but quickly become almost boring. I can not believe I am typing those words.

Reacher's repeatedly doing the same thing, over and over (returning to a bad place) was tedious and so unlike our hero's usual behavior. The plot wandered all over the place and the book was too long.

I found it impossible to buy into the far-fetched "conspiracy theory" with its pathetic "villains" and was surprised at Child's foray into political opinion (putting his opinions into Reacher's mouth -which completely changed Reacher's character). This was totally out of place, I thought, and awkward at best.

I just hope that Child has not run out of stories and that he will return Reacher to his previous inventive adventures.

I only read the Amazon reviews after finishing the book, and must say I am not surprised that there are 110 reviews and the average is an abyssmal 2.5 stars. Most of his other books have averaged 4 stars.
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191 of 224 people found the following review helpful By PrakThomas on July 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Lee Child/Jack Reacher novels are "Gotta get the hardback today" books for me. His previous efforts range from very good to great. His plots/locales have varied, but his formula for a page-turning thriller has not. "Nothing to Lose" not only lacked the usual page-turner formula, but was actually a chore to finish. This novel has to be compared to Child's previous efforts to appreciate it's failings.
"The Hook"- Child can set the hook like no other author. The action starts hard and heavy, and is mysterious enough to keep the reader engaged. "Nothing to Lose" had no hook. By page 45, I was still waiting for the hook to get me interested. Never happened.
"The Bad Guys"- Child always has fascinating and diabolical bad guys, often with a clever plot twist to throw reader off of who's good-who's bad. But by the end of the novels, I can't wait for Jack to take care of these guys as he always does. The End Times preacher was a [yawn] low-grade baddie who [yawn] only truly gets defined as a baddie after he's been blown up [yawn].
"The Roller Coaster"- Every Reacher book to date has hit a point where I cannot put it down until it is finished. I call this the "top of the roller coaster"- usually about 100 pages from the end. 3 AM, have to be up at 7AM- too bad. Have to finish the Reacher book. In Nothing to Lose, 75 pages from the end, I just lost interest, and put it down for three days. I forced myself to finish it.
"Politics"- If Lee Child is actually interested in continued sales of his novels, he might be wise to realize several points. Jack Reacher probably doesn't have mass appeal for left-wingers, peaceniks, or academic liberals. Also, the Jack Reacher character is almost by definition apolitical.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By S.L. on February 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I'm no kind of literary critic, but I had to laugh at the endless repetition of the phrase, "Reacher was no kind of this," or "Reacher was no kind of that." Child seems to have phoned this one in, for it's the first Reacher story that not only was I not unable to put down, I had to force myself to finish it. The plot is convoluted and implausible, and if I did not already "know" Reacher from the prior novels I would have had little clue to his character from this one. The novel seems to have been concocted as a wet dream for the or Daily Kos crowd, replete with the wholesale destruction of American tanks in Iraq, the wanton murder of Iranian civilians, wanton contamination of the environment and wanton mistreatment of injured vets back home -- all covered up by the government -- capped off by a dirty bomb plot hatched not by Islamists (perish the thought) but by Christian fundamentalists (naturally). Come to think of it, Child's target audience really must be America-bashing Hollywood producers -- I bet this is the first Reacher novel to make it to the big screen!
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