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Make Me: (Jack Reacher 20) Hardcover – 2015
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The Amazon Book Review
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“Lee Child’s Reacher series has hit Book No. 20 with a resounding peal of wisecracking glee. Everything about it, starting with Reacher’s nose for bad news, is as strong as ever. . . . The big guy’s definitely on the upswing. The guy who writes about him is too.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“Lee Child has another winner with Make Me. . . . There’s a reason why Child is considered the best of the best in the thriller genre: He can take all these strange elements and clichés and make them compelling and original.”—Associated Press
“A superb thriller.”—New York Daily News
“Child’s complete command of the story makes this thriller work brilliantly.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“I’ve read all twenty of Lee Child’s novels. Maybe there’s something wrong with me. But I can’t wait for the twenty-first.”—Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker
“[The Reacher series] is the current gold standard in the genre. . . . In Make Me Lee Child delivers another Jack Reacher specialty; the total knockout.”—Dayton Daily News
“Child serves up wingding plots, pithy dialogue, extraordinary background on intriguing topics, and cunningly constructed suspense. But what keeps us coming back—by the millions—is the chance to walk around in the skin of that big guy in the middle of everything.”—The Oregonian
“A dark thriller . . . Lee Child’s Make Me, the twentieth in his wildly popular Jack Reacher series, delivers exactly what readers have come to expect from the perennial bestselling author: interesting characters, tight plots and page-turning action. . . . Readers won’t be disappointed.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Jack Reacher is back. . . . Readers new to this series will find this book a good starting point, and fans will be pleased to see Jack again.”—LibraryReads (Top Ten Pick)
“The reigning champ ups the ante. . . . Yes, there’s breakneck action, but what gives this one its zing is the multilayered plot. . . . The beguiling Chang offers a new treat for series fans as well, and a surprise at the end will keep readers short of breath until the next installment begins.”—Booklist (starred review)
“This series remains as compulsively readable as ever. Child is a master of pacing, stretching out the mystery through short chapters that give rise to bursts of well-choreographed violence. . . . Of course, the biggest strength is Reacher himself: impassive, analytical, secretly romantic, and relentlessly honorable. It’s impossible not to root for him. . . . Reacher is still going strong. Will satisfy fans—and newcomers, too.”—Kirkus Reviews --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Lee Child is the author of twenty New York Times bestselling Jack Reacher thrillers, eleven of which have reached the #1 position. All have been optioned for major motion pictures; the first, Jack Reacher, was based on One Shot. Foreign rights in the Reacher series have sold in almost a hundred territories. A native of England and a former television director, Lee Child lives in New York City. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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It starts in the usual way with Reacher turning up in a small town and immediately running into a woman in need of assistance (in this case Michelle Chang, a former FBI agent turned private investigator who is looking for her missing colleague), but it turns into a cross-country investigation that touches on issues that are current and very nasty.
And that is one of the issues that I had with the book: it's dark. It goes places that are unpleasant and disturbing. The majority of the book is like a regular Jack Reacher novel, but it changes tone towards the end when it becomes evident what it is that Reacher and Chang are investigating. The villains in this instance aren't just bad guys - they are evil. And I can honestly say that this is one Lee Child book I will never re-read. I didn't like putting those images in my head.
Another thing. It struck me halfway through this book that every woman that Reacher teams up with is exactly the same. Even as I write that it occurs to me that Lee Child would probably protest that it's not true because Chang is in her 40s and Chinese American, but that kind of proves my point: only the superficialities change. The banter - and yes, sexual chemistry - between Reacher and Chang is indistinguishable between what he had with Susan Turner or Elizabeth Deveraux or Theresa Lee or Susan Duffy or...you get the picture. There is nothing distinctive about Chang whatsoever.
So not the best Lee Child book - far from it - but it's hard in this genre to maintain a consistently high standard and when you compare him to his contemporaries he still does a better job of it than most.
1) I don't live in Oklahoma but the internet has cell phone coverage maps. It sure looks like almost every square inch of the state has some type of coverage. (Maybe someone from Oklahoma could confirm that.) Yeah, there might be some dead areas but not when driving for three hours. Which brings us to point number 2.
2) Oklahoma City is smack dab in the middle of the state. All of the wheat fields are west and northwest of OC. It is only 100 or so miles from downtown OC to the Texas border. Add another 100 and you're in Amarillo Texas. It's hard to tell exactly where this fictional town is set but even if it is up in the far northwest corner, it is only about 100 miles back down south to Amarillo. The northern border of the state is only 100 miles from OC and I-35 runs up that way, add another 100 and your in Wichita KS. Three hours at 50 mph and you should hit a good size town somewhere. And it probably has cell phone service.
3) Chicago. Our heroes determine that the bad guy has a network behind him because he has a gun. He couldn't take the gun on the airplane so someone must have supplied him with it. They incapacitate the bad guy and start using their cell phone again which they knew had been traced before. Why would you do that if you thought there was some network of bad guys? Go get a burner phone like you did earlier in the book.
4) The library. Our heroes find out their guy phoned from the library. Our heroes know they have been traced by their cell phones. Our heroes are so smart that they can't figure out that maybe the bad guys just might have the library under surveillance.
5) Chang uses an old FBI business card to fool people into thinking she is still with the FBI. No one ever asks to see, I don't know, A BADGE!!! Who on this planet doesn't know that any scam artist can print their own business cards? At home, on their personal printer.
I may have forgiven some of this nonsense if the book was any good but it was just deadly dull. I didn't care anymore. One last observation about my fellow readers. If you don't want a violent book don't read Lee Child or John Sandford. There are plenty of light mystery books out there you can select from.
The story starts with a murder cover up and Jack Reacher stopping off at a town called Mother’s Rest, in the middle of no where. In the next 300 pages, Reacher wanders in and out of stores, trying to discover why Mother’s Rest is called Mother’s Rest, hooks up with an ex FBI agent looking for her partner, interviews a journalist and flies to several US cities, trying to discover the secret of Mother’s Rest.
In the same 300 pages, the reader is left trying to discover what the book is ABOUT. Meanwhile, there have only been three demonstrations of Reacher’s prodigious physical capacities, less then that of his always (at least previously) sharp mental abilities, at least one REALLY stupid mistake the nearly gets innocent people killed and a repetition of the drug/money robbery scenario previously seen in several other books.
Even the woman Reacher hooks up with, Michelle Chang, has less going for her, as far as Child lets us know, then Jodie or Susan (or any other previous woman) and yet (spoiler alert!) he rides off into the sunset with her!
Not until the last fifty pages of Make Me does the pace pick up and Reacher and Child turn back into the hero and writer we know and love. The ending is extraordinary as the secret of Mother’s Rest is finally revealed. I will only say I truly hope Child made all this up from scratch because even the THOUGHT that any of this could happen is heart stoppingly appalling.
If you love Jack Reacher of course you will want to read it anyway, but don’t waste your money buying it new, even discounted. Get it from the library or buy it used.
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