Review: The Jack Reacher Series by Lee Child

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Lee Child is a best selling author in crime drama, his most lucrative character is Jack Reacher; A 220 pound muscled ex-miltary cop who applies his own rule of justice and carries out his own sentences. He lives without an address and with no possessions. One bank account helps fund his travelling lifestyle. He is a ghost, and often untraceable. Child has reached a total of 19 books, with Jack Reacher carrying the stories. If that’s not a collection, I don’t know what is.

Child gives his books an air of militarism with new takes on military issues (e.g. terrorism), institutionalism and savage crimes. He believes his justice is correct, and often gives satisfying sentences to the villains. He delivers a refreshing analytical mind-set from a man coasting through life, never settling and always moving, much like his mind, which ceases to rest.

Die Trying is my favourite which sees the kidnapping of a general’s daughter. Reacher becomes an innocent bystander as he aids the woman who is on crutches, just before she is savagely snatched by organised criminals. Be warned, this book is not for the faint hearted as a military cult is revealed in the deserted extremities of the USA. A place where male castration and crucifixion are common penalties. He uses his military savvy to analyse their location through small bullet shatter holes in the van’s roof and the height of ventilation technology as he and a mysterious woman are transferred across 2,000miles of the USA in a beat up van. His military training transfers to the audience as he ticks of his thought processing procedures. This book nicely mixes two sides of the story of the live action, with Reacher and the analytical office trying to recover the daughter. This gives action and intrigue at once, causing the reader to engage in even faster page turning. The best chapter sees our hero Jack Reacher armed with a galvanised chain looming over his victim. He is a relatable character with an air of superhero about him.

Unfortunately many of his books are very formulaic, which can be expected with a 19 book continued story.  However, the books each take a different perspective and show versatilility of the character and author combined. They are linked but can be read out of sequence if required, which gives readers the chance to catch up with Reacher’s constantly changing lifestyle.

Another good book is One Shot, which sees the unravelling of a ‘by the book’ crime which is a clear setup, with the accused comatose and therefore unable to answer questions. This is the book upon which the film release, Jack Reacher is based.

Jack Reacher the film couldn’t be cast any more badly. To help represent a 6ft 5, 220 pound ex-marine with blonde hair and ice blue eyes, they cast, none other than the 5ft 6, brown haired, Tom Cruise, whose performance in the film was weak. This was disappointing as this character could have helped represent 19 books, which could have snowballed into 19 films, outrunning the blockbuster Harry Potter franchise. This would have not only been lucrative but would have brought the books to life. This casting has ruined the entire franchise that is Jack Reacher. It uninspires further books as we all visualise Tom Cruise failing, as we turn the pages. Someone on-par with Liam Neeson would be much better cast, to launch as strong a character as Daniel Craig (James Bond) or Matt Damon (Jason Bourne), who are legendary testosterone abundant hard men. I couldn’t get past the first 10 minutes as an avid Jack Reacher fan, without becoming more and more frustrated at the weak performance of the protagonist.

All in all, Child is an action filled yet analytical author who uses Jack Reacher to star in his continued 19 book series, and it doesn’t seem like either of them have lost their appetite for justice, drama or heroism. Bring it on. Hey, there’s a good title Lee!

A full book list can be found on Lee Child’s website: http://www.leechild.com.

His newest releases include short story Not a Drill which is out on the 29th of July and Personal which is out on the 28th of August. But don’t panic! With so many books, it is easy to pick them up in second hand shops or at the library.

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