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132 of 142 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jack Bauer. . .er. . . Reacher Always Gets the Job Done, June 8, 2006
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This review is from: Die Trying (Jack Reacher, No. 2) (Mass Market Paperback)
"Die Trying" is the second installment in Lee Child's popular Jack Reacher series. Reacher is an ex-Army-MP-turned-vigilante-drifter, a tough guy with an unflinching sense of right and wrong who always manages to stumble into a situation in need of his style of correction.

In this book, Reacher happens on to the kidnapping of a government worker and not only ends up being snatched along with the target but also gets [...] as the prime suspect after being identified by witnesses. Bad luck for Reacher - worse luck for the bad guys. As Reacher uses his MP background to put together the clues, he discovers that this is no ordinary kidnapping of any ordinary person and that the perpetrators are out for much more than simple ransom. He has to solve the mysteries, save the girl, and stop the growing conspiracy - all before the nationwide manhunt mistakenly takes him down. It's all in a day's work for Jack Reacher.

The Reacher series is a throwback in action writing, unencumbered by modern sensitivities and moral ambiguities that plague so many other contemporary heroes. All characters are cut-and-dry either on the side of right or wrong, women are typically fodder for rescue and/or quick, passionate affairs, and all problems can be solved with the right mixture of brains and force. This world view can sometimes lead the books down a path of being overly simplistic or even hokey, but ultimately Reacher's charisma and conviction make for worthwhile Summer reading. Pacing is typically swift as Child's background as a television writer becomes apparent with each passing chapter. Book after book, the Reacher series is a mixture of "24", "CSI" and even a little bit of "McGyver".

"Die Trying" is a good volume in the Reacher series. It signals the beginning of the shift from Reacher as pure tough-guy action hero to mystery sleuth, which adds some needed depth. It's not quite as well-written as "The Enemy" or "Running Blind", but definitely worth a pickup for all Reacher fans.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 2, 2010 11:59:04 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 2, 2010 11:59:37 AM PDT
Peter says:
Since "Killing Floor" was published in 1997 and "24" first aired in 2001, if anything Jack Bauer is a clone of Jack Reacher.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 2, 2010 9:01:07 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 2, 2010 9:03:16 AM PDT
mzglorybe says:
I agree, it is easy to picture a Jack Bauer face on this Reacher character (not his size apparently ;) as Reacher is supposed to be a tall guy). Enjoying starting this series, albeit late, from the beginning. Killing Floor moved along at a better pace than this one.

Posted on Jun 19, 2012 7:31:05 PM PDT
Taylor Rand says:
A good review. Reacher's an action hero in the "24" mode so be prepared for unlikely feats both by Reacher (mostly by Reacher) and his opponents. Otherwise, you'll be rolling your eyes with disbelief.

Posted on Jan 12, 2013 7:07:23 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 12, 2013 7:11:31 AM PST
Way back, when I was taking an English course from a brilliant professor, I was warned against employing phrases repeatedly. It is an irritant easily avoided by use of a thesaurus, if the author really needs one. I agree with most of the reviews above, but despaired of Child's range of vocabulary. After reading "Die Trying", I almost threw the book across the room, whenever I read that one of the characters "shrugged". This action occurs again and again to the point of being as noisome as a televison commercial. Child should employ the old, sure-fire method of proof-reading out loud. There is a segment of this book in which someone is "shrugging" virtually on every other page. Sometimes multiply on one page! Other than that, it's not bad for shallow action and hot pace. Just a few vocabulary or sense glithces, e.g.: guns of small caliber fire "bullets", "slugs", "rounds"---they do not fire "shells". There are other instances wherein Child displays what must be recently-researched "familiarity" with military hardware. Another example: when one falls outdoors, it is never upon a "floor"---unless adjectively enhanced as the "forest floor". Sprinkled throughout, Child betrays his English origins by quaint usages, some almost humorous to the American reader (as I'm sure our writing would be to the English ear). Nonetheless, these books are terrific as action novels. No complaints there.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2013 3:45:22 PM PDT
Stosik says:
What is so wrong with characters shrugging? People shrug. Get over yourselves.

Posted on May 13, 2013 7:22:19 PM PDT
I have to take issue with Mr. LeClerc - while it may be that the women in some of the Reacher novels serve mostly as plot points, Holly Johnson is quite a heroine here. She is clever at using almost nothing to create weapons that are effective, she doesn't give in to her pain from knee problems, she is also prodigious when it comes to action scene. In situations that are frightening and depressing, she maintains both dignity and optimism. Is that wholly realistic? Perhaps not, but it's wrong to ignore her strengths just to make an anti-Lee Child argument.
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