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Die Trying (Jack Reacher) Paperback – December 4, 2012
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Television writer Lee Child's otherwise riveting first thriller, Killing Floor, was criticized by some reviewers because of an unconvincing coincidence at its center. Child addresses that problem in his second book--and thumbs his nose at those reviewers--by having his hero, ex-military policeman Jack Reacher, just happen to be walking by a Chicago dry cleaner when an attractive young FBI agent named Holly Johnson comes out carrying nine expensive outfits and a crutch to support her soccer-injured knee. As Holly stumbles, Reacher grabs her and her garments--which gets him kidnapped along with her by a trio of very determined badguys. "He had no problem with how he had gotten grabbed up in the first place," Child writes. "Just a freak of chance had put him alongside Holly Johnson at the exact time the snatch was going down. He was comfortable with that. He understood freak chances. Life was built out of freak chances, however much people would like to pretend otherwise." Lucky for Holly--whose father just happens to be an Army general and current head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thus making her a tempting target for a bunch of Montana-based extremists--Reacher still has all the skills and strengths associated with his former occupation. And Child still knows how to write scenes of violent action better than virtually anyone else around. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Jack Reacher is in both the wrong and the right place at the same time when FBI Special Agent and daughter of the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Holly Johnson is abducted from a Chicago street. It is the wrong place because Reacher, a former army major drifting around the country, is kidnapped as well. It is the right place because only he has the instincts to foil the complex, deadly plan of the kidnappers, a Montana militia group headed by a charismatic, brilliant, but psychotic leader. Child's tale, very well read by Dick Hill, engrossingly portrays Reacher's efforts to manipulate the captors; the behind-the-scenes maneuvering of the FBI, the army, and the White House; and the many unexpected roadblocks thrown in his path. Child devotes too much time, however, to the predictable rantings of the militia. Recommended for public libraries.?Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr., New York
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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It is the 11th of the Jack Reacher series. For those who have not read any of this series yet, Reacher is a former military police major who has Rambo like combat skills. Of course, it would have been much more realistic to have those capabilities if the hero were a former Navy Seal, Green Beret, or Marine Recon fighter, but a military policeman? Get real. That is a completely different skill set.
In this book, it seems even odder that all of the sudden, we find out that Reacher is a mathematical savant. That ability is never mentioned once in the previous ten books, but in this one it is featured prominently. Another strange thing is that all of the sudden, Reacher is very tight with his former MP investigative unit. It seems like the author is making big changes in the character to fit some silly storyline.
Sometimes I wonder why I continue reading this series. I have read the first eleven in order and most of them are average, at best. This author is certainly no Brad Thor or Vince Flynn.
It is ok, but do not expect great with this.
I also like how he follows the one main character, perhaps it's lacking finesse or perhaps overly simple, but I don't get that feeling at all. It's riveting. He switches to other characters for a few pages then it's back to Jack Reacher.
His choice of wording is what I think other people are trying to emulate in this genre but now that I've read this guy. Well he has talent.
Worth buying, and I'm going to read them all.
PLOT: I enjoyed the plot, a rogue militia intent on rekindling the American Revolution with a crazy man leading the way. At first I felt the way Jack Reacher became involved in the adventure was a little bit contrived, but I eventually moved past those thoughts as the story unfolded. I am sure a nitpicker would challenge the verisimilitude of the plot, but as with most political and/or military thrillers, a reader must be willing to suspend disbelief and except the story world as the author presents it. If you are willing and/or capable of suspending your disbelief, then I think you will enjoy the plot and the nuances the author brings to it.
PROTAGONIST: Jack Reacher is an enjoyable lead character. He borders on superhero capabilities, but the author never quite crosses into that totally unbelievable territory. Reacher is very capable — seemingly more capable than 99.99 percent of the population — but still given a modicum of human frailty… just enough to keep him from being an over the top super hero.
THE VILLAIN: I thought Beau Borden was an excellent villain. Smart, ruthless, and crazy. Just the right mix of personality traits that creates an excellent adversary.
SUPPORTING CAST: Some reviewers felt that there were too many other characters in the story, but I didn’t feel that way. The femme fatale, Holly Johnson, never quite materialized in my mind’s eye. For whatever reasons, I never felt she had much depth. Since I intuitively knew Jack Reacher would not be involved with her past the end of this story, I guess I just considered her a throw-away character from page one and never paid close attention to the nuances of her personality. Dissimilar to James Bond movies, where you also know the women are only temporary, in this book you don’t have the ability to ogle and appreciate the physical attraction of the femme fatale, or at least the author didn’t write the character in that manner. Holly Johnson would be a distant also-ran if compared to Honey Rider, Pussy Galore, Domino, Plenty O’Toole, Tiffany Case, or just about any other Bond woman.
THE WRITING: The writing is very good, easy to read, easy to follow. My only complaint would be too much detailed description. When it comes to describing characters, the author gives the reader a few traits and then lets the reader’s imagination take it from there… Which is what I tend to enjoy. However, when the author’s starts describing rooms or geography or something technical, he goes into long and laborious descriptions that stretch into multiple long paragraphs. I know that some readers would probably enjoy this type of in-depth description, but I found many of them to be tedious and I learned to skim past them.
SUMMARY: I enjoyed this story. I enjoyed Jack Reacher as the protagonist. I enjoyed Beau Borden as the villain. I found most of the supporting cast to be believable. And I enjoyed the plot and its resolution. As I said upfront, I will definitely be adding the third installment in the Jack Reacher series to my reading queue.