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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars REALLY?, January 10, 2011
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This review is from: Worth Dying For (Hardcover)
Ok. Let me begin by saying I'm a fan of the Reacher series. I've read them all and I'll read more. The character Reacher is great. Far-fetched, but great. Its great fiction. However, much of the backround stuff Reacher travels through or deals with is so ridiculously incorrect, I have to wonder of there is an editor in the house who has ever ventured beyond the big city. A few cases in point- Worth Dying For:

1. THE BASEMENT DOOR. Reacher is trapped in a pitch black "storm cellar" with no way out. The cellar door from the house upstairs is a "FEMA approved, steel core, steel framed, basement door that can withstand a category 5 storm with oversized hinges, burstproof lock and can withstand a 300 mph gust". It goes on to tell us that it "opens outward because if it opened inward, the 300 mph winds might break the lock and blow the "cellar" door in". OK, first, say Category 5 storm in Nebraska and they will look at you like you must be from the gulf coast or Mars. Category 5 is hurricane language, like in Florida. This is Nebraska, and the 300 mph winds are an F-5 tornado. Thats the tip of the iceberg though. Reacher is not in a cellar, he's in a house basement. If he was in a cellar, his door would be accessed from outside and could conceivably be a strong reinforced door set into the concrete house foundation. Reacher's door is in the kitchen and goes down the steps into the basement. This is a regular stick framed house built with 2x4s, sheetrock and siding. An F-5 tornado would turn this house into toothpicks in 1 second and that FEMA door with 30 adjectives would be stuck in a tree a half mile from the house. The door itself might be indestructable, but it is still attached to a weak little 2x4 wall just like your bathroom door at home is. It would be like taking an armored door from a tank and putting it on one of those little plastic cars kids pedal with their feet and thinking it could now take a direct missile hit...the door might survive, but the car is toast. Same thing with the house.

2. DRIVING. The terrain is described to be very very flat. No hills or gullies. Yet, Reacher's maximum speed on this 2 lane road is 60 mph??? I could do that in my garage! Believe me, I've had enough tickets to know, those flat 2 lanes are good for 100 easy. This isn't the first time this has appeared in a Reacher book. In another book, set in eastern Colorado, Reacher can only drive 50 mph. An ATV will do 50. Any car on the road will do 90 with one finger on the wheel.

3. ENGINE OIL. A pickup is chasing Reacher. Reacher gets under the truck while the truck is high centered and drains the oil. Unlikely, but hey, its Reacher. What happens? Well, what should happen is truck runs for a little bit and locks up tight and thats that. However, somehow this automatically leads to an instant fireball and the truck catches fire and explodes. Really? Gee, imagine what nuclear level explosion would happen when he has a flat?

4. BIG V-8. The pickup has a big V-8 engine....impressed? That sounds like something Franklin W. Dixon might have wrote in a Hardy Boys book in 1952, like maybe "the sedan had a big V-8 and it was rapidly gaining on Frank and Joe and Chet and...." Real world, 90% of trucks and 1/2 the cars for the last 40 years have had a V-8. Let me just name a few V-8s. Ford 289, 302, 351, 400, 428, 429, 460. GM 283, 305, 327, 350, 396, 400, 427, 454, Mopar 318, 340, 383, 413, 426, 440...and there are many more of course. Get the picture?

5. TRUCK VS FENCE. Here is my personal favorite. So, the bad guys are in their houses, which are inside a perimeter formed by a wood fence. Reacher sets the houses on fire. Their truck and Cadillac are inside this perimeter too. Reacher is waiting outside the perimeter with a gun and he knows they'll be on foot because the fire has blocked the driveway and no way the truck can break through a wood fence....Really? Sure enough, they get in the truck and ram into the fence, but no way. Really? Are they driving that little plastic truck the kids pedal with their feet again? Let me tell you right now. Any pickup from a little Toyota on up can smash down any wood fence. Period. A volkswagon would smash it down.

6. PROPANE TANKS. Same fire, same houses. The fire reaches the propane tanks, located inside the house, and explode. Really? Ever seen a propane tank inside the house? Me neither. If you've ever been outside the big city, you've seen those long white or silver tanks with the red cap that sit out by the fence. Boys and Girls, those are propane tanks. And they are connected to the house by a line usually buried a few inches or a foot or so underground. Its a code and safety thing. The propane truck drives in the driveway and extends a long hose and fills the tank. Wonder how the propane company fills these inside tanks at the bad guys' house. Do they pull up in front of the porch, open the front door and pull the long 2" thick rubber hose through the house and down the hall and around the doorways and flip open the tank lid located next to the fridge, all while the family is sitting around in the kitchen eating, and stand there and smell up the house with fumes while he fills the tank. Maybe while the tank is filling he sits down and eats with the family or plays a quick game of cards, then maybe moves to the living room and watches the game on the couch while every so often he gets up and checks the tank level. Then he rolls up the hose and sets down to watch the last few plays, then says "bye, thanks for dinner, see you next month." Really???

But hey, I'm just poking fun here. I like the books and the character and the series.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 12, 2011 8:12:45 AM PST
English Dave says:
OK, so i haven't read the book yet but i find i have to respond to your review already

1. No one said the door was made in nebraska for nebraska storms, its just a description of the door with its specifications. Where I come from a cellar and a basement are the same thing, like an attic and a loft. Tanks dont have doors, hatches would be a more appropriate word to use.

2. Reacher has been shown to be a cautious driver in the past, prefers other people to drive him as they are better at it than he is, maybe 60 is as fast as he feels comfortable driving on that road in that vehicle at that time....or maybe it is the speed limit?

3. yeah, got me there

4. Perhaps the defining word here is not V8 but "BIG". Nice list of blocks but some are surely smaller engines than others meaning some are BIG V-8s and some may be referred to as small V-8s?.

5. Yeah, got nothing on this one either

6. My grill has a propane tank, my mobile heater has a propane tank, my blowtorch has a propane tank, i have a spare propane tank, i have a propane tank attached to my weed burner (this is a small flame thrower for burning ditches and around trees NOT a propane powered dopers delight), not one of them is long, white, cylindrical or has a red cap, not one of them gets filled by a guy in a delivery truck and every one of them has at one time or another been inside the house...

So, backatcha, Really????

But hey, just poking fun.

Posted on Jan 17, 2011 7:35:45 PM PST
Avery Wade says:
OMG, I love this. I, too, have read all of the Reacher books and actually been unimpressed with the last few (reading 61 HOURS felt like it added 61 years to my life). I noticed a lot of the same factual errors you did, but for me this was a better read than the last. Heck, the speed limit on most of those roads is 65!

Posted on Jul 26, 2011 8:58:42 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 26, 2011 9:01:46 AM PDT
Shary says:
Hmm... What I see is a lot of one-upmanship hairsplitting going on by Reviewer Ewing. I agree that Child is frequently and often erroneously overdescriptive, sometimes annoyingly so. But hey, that's just part of his style. All writers make accuracy errors from time to time because nobody knows everything about everything, and sometimes other people are relied upon for in-depth research. But if the reader is target-fixating only on those things, there's no way he/she can be enjoying the story. Bottom line: If you don't like the way Child writes, read something else.

Posted on Jun 11, 2013 2:15:21 PM PDT
densbtly says:
I'm slow out of the gate, so I'm just now reading this book. In fact I just finished reading the part about the basement door. The thing that bothered me for a couple of hours since then is that he tried turning the knob to the door but it was locked, presumably from the kitchen side.
Why would it lock from that side? Or either side for that mater, but especially the kitchen side. There's no other entrance to the basement, not even a window, and this is the kindly Dr's house not the evil Duncan's.
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