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Gone Tomorrow is another book in the Jack Reacher series written by Lee Child. Jack Reacher is an ex Military Policeman with a skill for detecting and fighting, with a huge physique and a sharp mind he tends to get himself involved in things that don't really concern him, regardless of how many times he is asked not to, or threatened not to should I say. He is also a drifter, not quite a homeless hobo but someone who wanders aimlessly with no fixed abode through choice, so he stumbles into many situations along the way.
This time he is in New York, on the subway, when he notices one of his fellow travellers ticks all the boxes on the terrorist list. She seems to be about to blow up the subway, which would also mean blowing up Reacher with it so he has to decide whether to act or not. He decides he should and what unravels from there is a really interesting and completely unexpected storyline.
Jack Reacher appeals to all, he's big and brawny and sharp as a pin with a no nonsense kind of attitude and a rebellious streak. He usually has a fling in each of the books but this one was seriously lacking in the lust department. You could never use the term "romance" for Reacher and for that I applaud the author. Reacher isn't the kind of character that anything beyond lust would suit. Normally he has a fling with someone and it runs alongside the general story but although there is a bit of that in Gone Tomorrow it's miniscule and that works better actually because it doesn't detract from the main plot.
There is barely any background on Reacher in this book either, no explanation as to why he is wandering aimlessly or how that came about which in a way I like because I read the earlier ones where this was first happening but for someone just getting into the Reacher novels this could prove a bit confusing. Perhaps a little mention of the reasons here and there would be better however it is a great novel if you don't mind not knowing these details.
The plot in this is superb and you actually have no idea who's who or what they are really trying to do, thank god for Reacher and his questioning mind and quick reasoning because I couldn't have worked it out without him! It's packed with little details that mean so much but only if you grasp their meaning and that's what Lee Child does well. Something very minor will eventually play a huge part in the conclusion.
Jack Reacher novels always have quite a bit of fighting in them too and I love that aspect of these books. The fighting isn't just brawling it's always seen and described from the eyes of Reacher, who being ex military can anticipate the moves from others as they are about to happen. Some very slick fights can be found in this book.
There's a little bit of humour smattered here and there too, a dry witty kind of humour that suits the character very well. He has very little assistance in this book which is fairly normal for Reacher so he has a lot of work to do to sort out the problem but it's believable even though an average everyday Joe couldn't pull it off.
The whole novel is completely enthralling and I couldn't put it down, I read it in two days and couldn't wait for the inevitable showdown. I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes an intriguing mystery, lots of fights, a great hero and no way you can work out the plot before you're supposed to.
Gone Tomorrow is available to buy from Amazon for £3.99 new and slightly less used. A brilliant offering from Lee Child and is it wrong I've got a crush on Jack Reacher? I can't recommend it highly enough.
'Gone Tomorrow' is the thirteenth book in the Jack Reacher series which is written by Lee Child. Reacher is an ex-Military Policeman who now roams the United States with little more possessions than the shirt on his back and the foldable toothbrush in his pocket. Each story picks him up in a different location, within the US and there is seldom any other character who appears in more than one of the books, which allows Child a lot of freedom in his writing.
It is probably worth stating at this point that I vowed never to buy another hardback from this author having been seriously disappointed with the last four or five books. However, armed with a voucher from the good people at Dooyoo I found myself being sucked in and relenting. As Reacher would say that was my first mistake.
The problem with Lee Child is he is an absolute expert at hooking you in. The first few pages in this book are as good as any I have ever read and were used heavily in the advertising of it.
'Suicide bombers are easy to spot. They give out all kinds of tell-tale signs. Mostly because they're nervous. By definition they're all first timers.
There are twelve things to look for. No one who has worked in law enforcement will ever forget them.
New York City. The subway, two o'clock in the morning. Jack Reacher studies his fellow passengers. Four are OK. The fifth isn't'
And so we begin.
To be fair the opening 50 pages or so were highly enjoyable and reminded me of the early books. Reacher runs through the list in detail and crosses off the twelve before making a decision, does he bail at the next station or does he challenge the person? Doesn't take a genius to figure which way he will go...
The story at this point was intriguing. Child used to do this all the time. Pick up on something which is topical and give a huge amount of detail on it, fascinating stuff. There were also a few things in this opening where the standard assumptions were challenged and all was not as it appeared and I had real high hopes for this book.
Sadly from this point on it turns into the usual nonsense which Child has been producing for the last five years or so. In the last book Reacher spent most of the time wandering from one town to another. This time it's from one hotel to another. Parts of the plot are slowly leaked (and I mean slowly). In fact I reckon if you wanted to this book could have been written in just over one hundred pages there is so little substance to the story after the excellent opening.
Another issue is that Reacher has gone from a tough, intimidating MP in the early books to some kind of Superman type character. One example was after being drugged twice and coming to he tells someone in the room (who has a watch) the time to the minute 'from the clock in his head'. Then later he repeats this feat when he wouldn't even know the day of the week. Child keeps this clock in the head nonsense up as he used it as a serious plot twist in an earlier book. It spoiled that book and now he seems to continue using it even when it is pointless in terms of the current story.
Reacher used to use logic a lot and would occasionally avoid trouble but as the series has progressed he has regressed into more and more of a thug. The bodycount in this book is absolutely ridiculous and most of it happens in fairly well populated areas. Of course come the end of the book he is free to wander away with so little consequences that Jack Bauer would be scratching his head.
There were many more issues I had with this book. A big secret is dangled in front of the reader and the recovery of this item, with its unknown contents, is the main object in the plot. Similar to the briefcase in Pulp Fiction I suppose. At the end I assumed that Child would reveal the contents and tie up all the loose ends but we never find out what the whole thing was about. Now if we had I would be moaning that this would never happen in real life. But in a book that is as far removed from real life as you can imagine I thought it was very lazy of Child to take this easy way out. I know his standards have fallen but to me this came across as not really even bothering to come up with a proper ending. In fact the book closes with Reacher musing about what the fuss may have all been about. I was in full agreement with him for once.
Reacher always has a love interest, generally the first female police officer he bumps into. How this was dealt with was staggering. It was like Child reached page 300 and remembered about this aspect. Whilst it's not a part of the story usually worth bothering about you would hope that the author would do more than cover it in half a page. Why bother with it at all?
The final complaint I will have is that you can tell as you approach the end of a book roughly how many pages are left. With less than 40 pages left I knew this was going to a massive disappointment. In terms of a full story I thought another 100 pages were needed as a minimum and the ending seems rushed, lazy and predictable which is unforgivable given the amount of padding in the story earlier on.
As usual Child appeared to do his research extensively which added a fair amount of technical authenticity to the story. However, he does have a tendency to get bogged down in the detail of exactly where a train goes, exactly where Reacher is in the city. Maybe if I lived in the US I could relate to the places a bit more and it wouldn't stand out as overkill but as a foreigner it does.
So ultimately another disappointment. I have no idea where Child goes from here if he wants to retain a decent following. A major rethink is required though. Unlike most authors who are in double figure books with the same character he seems to still have fresh ideas but they are not being used well at all.
I recently re-read 'The Killing Floor' which is the first book in this series. It's one of the finest books I have ever read and only serves to illustrate how poor this is in comparison. I would recommend it from play.com or amazon for £3 rather than wasting close to £10 on this book.