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Having recently suggested at work that I was looking to dip into some new authors to expand my reading library, it was suggested that I might enjoy the work of Lee Child. At the time I hadn't realised that all of his books were part of a series starring one central character, Jack Reacher, and as such I bought the first book I came across, Worth Dying For. It turned out that this was the 15th book in the Reacher series and although I hadn't read any of the other books in the series I still found this one to be incredibly enjoyable read.
Following on from the events of 61 Hours, Jack Reacher arrives in a small Nebraskan town in the middle of winter. Having taken an interest in a Doctor not doing his duty for one of his patients, Reacher finds himself in the centre of a village of people scared to death of four individuals, the Duncan family. Taking the law into his own hands Reacher assaults a member of the Duncan family in retaliation for Seth beating his wife. Soon the Duncan's are out for revenge but something seems odd about the whole situation and Reacher is determined to find out what.
It would be fair to say that from the first page, Child manages to create an air of anticipation around his lead character. Whilst this is the 15th book in the series, there is still enough information for a first time reader to pick the book up and learn enough about Reacher to keep them enthralled in the story. That appears to be what Child does well, as even though literally it isn't the world's best book it is absorbing and really keeps you hungry to find out what happens next.
He really brings the character to life and although the actual story is quite farfetched he gives the reader a hero in the lead role to believe in. Despite the clearly farcically situations that Reacher finds himself in, the author creates them well and keeps the reader eagerly turning page after page to see what happens next. This is the perfect example of a novel you really don't have to think about, what I would normally class as a Holiday book. There is no need to concentrate to follow the plot and that's exactly what is needed.
I've read a number of reviews online of this book and the consensus of opinion would appear to be that the publishers rushed Child to release another book 6 months after his previous. If this is a rushed effort then I'm quite looking forward to reading one of his other books. His ability to set the scene, adding tension and a sense of what's about to happen work really well and this is what makes this book so enjoyable. The attention to detail from the guns to the close quarter combat are perfectly described and when added to a decent setting and an interesting, yet at the same time absurd plot, all works well to form an entertaining read.
In creating Jack Reacher he has made a kind of Bruce Willis in Die Hard type character who risks his life for the sake of others, however no matter what is thrown at him he can survive. The writing isn't perfect with timelines skipping about without any notice and such an unbelievable plot, but something about it just clicks into place. It is a great Crime/Action adventure novel that tries to be a thriller, however due to the absurdity of certain situations falls just short.
The book is very enjoyable however if you are looking for a real sense of escapism. I would probably best compare it to a movie like Die Hard, where no matter what happens to Reacher he keeps going. It would be fair to say though that I did really enjoy this book and will be checking out more of Lee Child's novels in due time, despite my criticism. It's an easy, yet addictive read that fans of Clive Cussler, Andy McNab and Dale Brown will love.
Being a big Lee Child / Jack Reacher fan, I eagerly anticipated this one, having read the previous installment, 61 hours, just a few weeks before. Battered and bruised, Jack Reacher walks into a small town and needs a place to sleep. Reacher, being Reacher gets intrigued by a case of domestic violence, decides to get involved and discovers that the town has long been under the tyrannical rule of 3 ruthless brothers and being the "nice" man that he is, he decides to take matters into his own had and put a stop to things. We have seen this kind of thing before in movies like a Fistful of Dollars and Reacher does it in his own style. There are quite a few subplots weaved into the story to flesh the book out involving a mothers search for her missing daughter, Smugglers trying to rip each other off and a drunk doctor. Overall its definetly a decent read and all these interesting characters add emotion to the story. It just feels like something was missing from the story. It kind of paints Reacher as some kind of superhero. 61 hours was brilliant due to its setting and it had thrills and suspense. In this book, the bad guys are revealed from the start and it is really hard to believe that in this day an age, people can "own" towns like the 3 brothers did.
Having read 61 Hours by Lee Child (the previous book in the Jack Reacher series) and enjoying it, I decided to get the latest book in the Jack Reacher series, Worth Dying For. Well, 61 Hours had left us with a cliff hanger too, so I HAD to get Worth Dying for as it promised to tell us how he did it.
On his way through desolate Nebraska to Virginia to see the new CO of the 110th Special Unit, Jack Reacher arrives at a motel and encounters the local alcoholic doctor. The two end up visiting a victim of domestic violence, but Reacher soon learns that she's the least of their troubles. The victim is the wife of Seth Duncan and the Duncan family are running the town. People are afraid of them and what they'll do if they step out of line. Jack Reacher, of course, won't stand for this and sets about vengeance.
I expected the book to start with telling us how Jack seemingly survived the end of 61 Hours, but it didn't and I was a third of the way through the book before I found out. Was it worth it? No, not really. I don't know what I expected, but, for whatever reason, I found it a bit disappointing and not worth the suspense from the end of the previous book.
Furthermore, I became increasingly annoyed at Jack Reacher. While I'm aware that his life was in danger (well, it was after he stuck his nose in), I became increasingly annoyed at the increasing body count (whether injured or murdered). Then man seems to come across as if he's the law and God forbid if you get in his way! Where's the justice in that? I like that he helps people, but I also believe that somebody who has done wrong should stand trial and take their punishment from the law, not from one man. He also seems to think that he'll get away with what he's done.
Also, Jack Reacher is quite obviously hurting from what happened at the end of the previous book, 61 Hours. This is made plainly obvious in the first half of the book, but then it's as it those injuries have been forgotten in the latter half of the book.
So while I enjoyed 61 Hours, I wasn't so thrilled with this book. It was far too violent and a bit far far fetched for me. Why I be reading any other Jack Reacher books? Probably not.
'Worth Dying For' is the 15th outing for Lee Child's wandering hero Jack Reacher. The 14th book '61 hours' was released six months ago and had a cliff hanger ending with the final 3 words 'to be continued' so I was keen to find out how that story resolved itself. Although to be honest the previous story had resolved itself with the exception of how Reacher was going to escape from a perilous situation. There were no other plot threads to be picked up so I was a little bemused at the ending of that book.
So it was with little surprise, but a fair amount of disappointment, that this 15th book is a standalone entry in the series, with the exception of about 3 lines of dialogue, hidden away one-third of the way into the book, which explains how the previous situation was resolved. This seemed a really lazy way of bringing the reader up to date; and not for the first time it felt like Child had conned his reader. In fact part of me hoped that he would kill off Reacher at the start of this one and pick things up with the female character (who does Reacher's old military job) introduced in '61 Hours'. That's how much I felt this series needed to be freshened up.
However, we pick up Reacher wandering around as usual with the only difference being he has some unexplained injuries which you assume relate to how he escaped from the previous situation. The story is as standard as it gets. Reacher arrives at a small town where all is not as it seems. A minor incident with a local means he stumbles upon a larger plot where he begins to uncover some fairly major crimes. At least three-quarters of this series follows that formula.
Child often introduces elements to Reacher's character which are inconsistent with how he has been previously. This book presents a dumber and much more sadistic Reacher than any of the previous books would indicate. This was a real shame as the story, although predictable in format, introduced a few elements at the beginning that made me hope that this would be more of a detective story than a run of the mill beat 'em up. Annoyingly the detective element is pushed to one side and it is just a tale of Reacher finding and maiming or killing the 20 or so people whom he is up against. In fact Reacher is dumbed down so much that his initial decision to get involved seems a ridiculous one in itself. He is described as struggling to hold a coffee cup due to the injuries suffered. However, he happily starts fighting numerous people within hours of that description. Whilst you could argue that this is as a result of his integrity; the initial incident which sets things in motion here is based on a hunch and is one most people would steer away from or report to the police. It just makes him appear to be a man set on getting involved in fights rather than attempting to right wrongs.
The sadistic element came from nowhere. I can't recall much in any of the previous books which even hinted at this. On one occasion Reacher had knocked two men out, he then went and got a wrench and broke all of their wrists, comparing this with rendering an enemy's weapons useless. He is also not averse to a large body count in this book. In the past he would have gone out of his way to avoid this. Here it is a case of you may have tried to kill me so that's enough for me to kill you. No thought to the rights and wrongs of his actions, just some token comparison with a military situation as justification. This may be an intentional decision from Child as Reacher becomes increasingly desensitised to violence and killing but given his background it has taken him a very long time to change.
The opening third of the book was quite strong and I was making time to read this which is something I have not done with this series for a while, but from this point on things rapidly go downhill. Child reverts to his usual tactic of having Reacher wander around a lot (or drive around a lot in this case) for little benefit in terms of story progression. This really just allows him to pad out the story a bit. Iranians, Italian and Syrian gangsters are introduced to add to the number of enemies. These people are total caricatures of what a cartoon gangster would be. Child can't even be bothered naming half of them, in fact that's something which features throughout this book. Of the 25-30 characters you read about over half are not named. They are 'the doctor', 'the doctor's wife', 'one of the football players', 'Messano's Man' etc. It is like he doesn't think the average reader can remember that the guy giving Reacher painkillers is called anything other than 'the doctor'.
I have to say these books have become so bland that it is increasingly difficult to remember the more recent ones. I can recall the plot of the earlier entries in far more detail than I can the last half dozen or so. In fact the detail of the last book largely escapes me and that was only six months ago. I expect this one to be similar. The twist in this one is that you don't know what the cargo being transported is. Once it is finally revealed it turns out to be one of the only two things it could be.
On the plus side Child doesn't appear quite as infatuated with Reacher as usual. He gets the odd thing wrong. Most of the characters he encounters are bigger than him and he sustains injuries both in the book and in the period since we were last with him. Although, the description of him resetting his nose was stomach churning and unnecessary.
However he can't help himself on the odd occasion, we find out Reacher is the opposite of a haemophiliac as his blood clots so quickly, which is odd but handy for the situation he is in. The clock in his head (which is ridiculous enough) thankfully doesn't work when following being knocked out he finds himself in a dark room. However this is just because he hasn't reset his nose (as above). Once that's done the clock works again despite not having any indication of what day it is never mind the time of day. Total nonsense.
I have threatened to stop reading this series in the past but always get sucked back in. This time I am definitely finished with it in terms of hardback prices.
Currently available on Amazon for £7.59 hardback or £6.64 for the kindle edition. It was the kindle edition I read and it was a good conversion, just the very odd paragraph spacing which didn't quite work.