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Personal: A Jack Reacher Novel Paperback – Large Print, September 2, 2014
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Pub Date: 2014-09-02 Pages: 544 Language: English Publisher: Random House Large Print P ... # 1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Jack Reacher returns in the latest fast-moving. action-packed. suspenseful book from Lee Child. You can leave the army. but the army doesnt leave you Not always Not completely. notes Jack Reacher -.. and sure enough. the retired military cop is soon pulled back into service This time. for the State Department and the CIA.. Someone has taken a shot at the president of France in the City of Light. The bullet was American. The distance between the gunman and the target was exceptional. How many snipers can shoot from three-quarters of a mile with total confidence Very few. but John Kott - an American marksman gone bad -. is one of them And after fifteen years in prison. hes out. unaccounted for. and likely drawing a bead on a G8 summit packed with enough wor...
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The premise for this latest effort is only finally revealed on the last few pages, and you can't help but groan "Oooooh come on! Reeeeeeally?" While most Reacher books, and indeed most thrillers, require a leap of faith somewhere, this is just awful. For a start, the two - sniper scenario is lifted straight from Ian Fleming's very first James Bond book "Casino Royale".
Then there're the guns. Child has never been good at ballistics, but how hard would it be for him to do some fact checking? This is after all, a book about snipers. We are repeatedly told that a 50 cal. BMG bullet will take 3 seconds to travel 1,400 yards. But it doesn't. Bullet velocity is usually referred to in feet per second. For a bullet to take three seconds to travel 1,400 yards, it would have to average 1,400 feet per second for the whole distance. The trouble is that with a normal load, from a rifle such as Child describes, a ballistically efficient bullet would leave the muzzle at around 2,800 feet per second, and still be doing over 1,700 feet per second at 1,400 yards. That's an average of over 2,200 feet per second, and means the bullet would take just under two seconds to arrive. Splitting hairs? Not when Child goes into such repeated detail as central to the plot.
Still on guns, he writes in detail about testing various calibres on bullet proof glass. Among the cartridges he says were tested is the 7.62 mm NATO. He then goes on to say that the .308 Winchester specifically wasn't tested. They are for all intents the same cartridge; one is military, and the other is the commercial version. Can't he run this by someone before he goes into print?
Even more. In the climactic fight scene, Reacher and two sidekicks are confronted with an unarmed 6'11" man mountain "bigger than a gorilla". They are all carrying 9mm pistols, but are afraid to shoot him, not because they might miss, but because they think the bullets would go clean through him and kill some poor neighbour in their London suburban home. Damn! Looks like Reacher will just have to fight him hand to hand. Look, these are 9mm slugs shot at pretty low velocity, not some cannon. After penetrating that much flesh and bone, they're going nowhere. Just shoot him!
Then there's the mind numbing scene in the giant's house, where Reacher loses his perspective. It's just too awful. Regretfully, the only way I'll read a new Reacher now is if I know in advance that Reacher dies. It really is time for Child to kill him off. Until then, if I need a Reacher fix, I'll have to content myself with re-reading the old ones again.
Until “Personal.” The author betrays Reacher in this novel, casting him in a pointlessly complicated story that sees him travel by private jet from Seattle to Paris and points in between, stay in four-star hotels, and becoming part of a plot that makes this giant look small.
There is nothing about this novel that makes it a “Reacher” novel. Any action movie persona, from Shia LeBuff to The Rock, could be inserted without changing the story at all. For Reacher and his fans, there is nothing “personal” about this novel. Save your money and re-read “Killing Floor” or nearly any Reacher novel.
Child knows how to wring every ounce of meaning and action out of every word. He is a true master.
Not this time.
I won’t begin to speculate as to why this one landed with such a thud. If I knew the answer to that, I’d be the guy with the well earned world wide reputation, instead of the guy writing review number 32 million to carry the reluctant message, “Where did Jack Reacher Go?”
Jack Reacher is world class smart and funny. The guy in this book came off like a bored math teacher reciting from a geometry textbook. The “girl” had all sorts of potential, but NOTHING ever happened. (If you catch my drift) the plot had something to do with snipers, the G8, friends spying on each other and a crusty old general. There was also a pill popping giant. Truth told? I didn’t really even know what was going on through a good part of this train wreck.
I really hate to deliver a bad review to Lee Child (and yeah I know he won’t read it, but I still hate doing it.)
But I am compelled to do so in the hope that it will prompt Mr. Child, one of the true masters of our time, to do what Jack Reacher would do: Get out there and win the next fight! Learn from this and make the next one better!
Cause I will be waiting there to plunk down my money and buy the next one too.