Newest Review: ... him) drinking espresso. Another man is talking to the waiter and he points to Reacher, so the man comes and sits at his table, and before h... more
It's Been a Hard Day's Kidnapping
The Hard Way - Lee Child
Member Name: samueltyler
The Hard Way - Lee Child
Advantages: Action, thrills, pace
Disadvantages: Silly, main character forced into story
When you watch a film with a person from the UK using an American accent you often find that they do a decent job. No doubt this because we are bombarded with American media and are able to get an ear for it. The same if not often true for American's impersonating the Brits. Too many times they fall on cliché and span the globe from Swindon to Sydney and back. It may be that we notice the anomalies because we are British and that the Americans can also easily tell our fake US accents? The idea of Brits impersonating Americans is also seen in other media. Lee Child is an Englishman who moved to America and quickly began to write US based thrillers as if he was a local. He manages to pull it off with some style, but has he forgotten his roots? With 'The Hard Way' Child's main protagonist Jack Reacher visits England, can Child still write it like he used to?
Having a cup of coffee should be a risk free enterprise, even for a man like Jack Reacher who is always able to find trouble. After breaking his own rule and visiting the same coffee house twice in a row Reacher does find trouble when he sees a mysterious man enter a car. Before he knows it Reacher finds himself the lead witness in a kidnapping case and is hired by the distraught husband to find his wife and child. With his Military Police credentials to fall back on, Reacher begins to think that not everything is as it should be with the kidnappers or the rich victim. Who is the mysterious man with no tongue and what does the husband do for a living that allows him to have so much ready cash and so many enemies?
The Reacher books have over the years become a set of guilty pleasures for me. As a rule they are OTT, silly, action packed, violent and fast paced. Thankfully, 'The Hard Way' is no exception and is in the typical Lee Child style. One of the first things that a reader must get over when reading a Reacher novel is the way that he is sometimes forced into a story. Here he happens to be in a Coffee Shop at the wrong time. This is a very hammy way of getting a character involved in a case, but I can let Child off as it's over quickly so that the full story can begin ASAP.
When the actual story does start, it is a doozy. There are lots of twists and turns that make it great fun. The inability to know who the real bad guy is makes it extra fun as you cannot tell if the kidnappers or the victim are to blame. The story works by slicing in clues to the past of the shady group Reacher is working for. The group represents mercenaries throughout the world and have been linked to some atrocities globally. Even though there is no proof linking them, there is enough evidence to make them a lot of enemies and perhaps not as white as you initially thought. Child is a master at creating dark characters that you loathe. One person in this book is so repugnant that is his death could not come early enough for me.
Like with all the Reacher novels the character of Reacher himself is a big element that makes them fun. Reacher is a nomad who left the army at the top of his game and is living off the grid. Charismatic, principled, strong and brave - Reacher is a clichéd character that you have to like. Here he is in usual high form falling for a woman and getting in too deep with the bad guys. The scene towards the end is classic Reacher as he comes to an impasse and must make the right decisions fast.
If you like your books easy to read, but hard with action, then 'The Hard Way' could be for you. The book has a simple storyline, but it is jam packed with some excellent action sequences and characters rich with ambiguity. Towards the end of the book Child takes the characters to England, here he revels in using clichés that gently poke the island he left behind. If you take this with a pinch of salt you are likely to like the rest of the book as well. There are not many authors as good as Lee Child when it comes to writing fun action thrillers.
Author: Lee Child
Price: amazon uk - £4.83
play.com - £5.99
Summary: Great action thrills with little food for thought