Book Review - All Lee Child's books

Lee Child Covers

For this month’s company newsletter I was asked to review a book I have read recently. I decided to review all of the wonderful Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child together as I honestly can’t separate out all the characters and plots.

I hope you enjoy.

from a Scholastic UK company newsletter

Book Talk by Peter Mahnke

Well, I was asked sort of last minute to do this and I cannot lie, I haven’t read a bit of proper literature since my degree back in the early 90’s. So I didn’t have time to read something uplifting or serious before I had to turn this in. My other problem is I tend to read every book my chosen author has written, sequentially and quickly. This means that about two weeks after completing the series, I cannot mentally separate the plots or similar characters. So, if you are still reading this, I am going to attempt to review the entire Jack Reacher series by Lee Child.

So over Christmas and January I read: Killing Floor, Die Trying, Tripwire, Echo Burning, Without Fail, Persuader, The Enemy, The Hard Way, On Shot and Bad Luck and Trouble, all by Lee Child and all with the hero Jack Reacher. All these novels follow a similar progression. Jack Reacher is a tall, strong, blonde, early 40 something, ex-Military Policeman who is travelling across America on randomly chosen Greyhound buses. He travels extremely lightly, just a folding toothbrush, not even toothpaste to weigh him down. He gets money wired to him occasionally and just buys new clothes every five days or so rather than having a small duffle or rolly suitcase. His goal is to drop out of society after spending a life in the military.

Every town he ends up in he is a) singled out as the only stranger in town immediately after something horrible happens b) gets chased down by someone related to this Army days to help out c) is randomly picked out as a potential knight in shinning armour. Naturally, because he must smell really bad or something, the police treat him poorly, thugs go after him or he is dropped into generally insane, well armed conflicts. These all happen with a mix of good and bad police, federal agencies and or military people so it is impossible to figure out who is good or bad. There are always attractive women around. They are always tall like Jack, with flat stomachs and are unmarried, except in Echo Burning where the tall attractive lawyer was a lesbian — but Jack was ok with that.

After the initial set-up of the situation, Jack decides the best course of action will be to solve the problem himself, even if he has the entire Secret Service, FBI or police at his disposal. This way the bad guys will not get away and Jack can kill dozens with no legal reprisals — like in real life.

The fight scenes, escapes from capture, etc are all really cool because Jack is good at maths and can explain that his extra long arm travels at 200,000 kph, faster than a speeding bullet or something. He also knows all the best places and ways to hit people to maximise damage. He is also a very good investigator and does quiet a bit of normal detective work. But he really understands how people think. In several books he not only could find people in a city he never been to, but even can guess what fake name they used to register at a hotel based on their musical preferences — its true — it happened like three times.

By the end of the book, not only are all the bad guys dead (no one EVER goes to jail) and most of the good guys free but nearly 100% of the bad guys property is destroyed, wiped off the map. Its excellent. Oh, and he never has to talk to the good people again, he just sleeps off his bullet wounds for one night and is off on a bus the next.

Now in reading this, you might think that I didn’t enjoy these book, but I did, a lot. The formula works. The books are a great escape.