How come no one told me about Lee Child?

He’s pretty good!  Which is refreshing, after my experience with Dan Brown.

My friend Doug lent me One Shot. (I’m mistrustful of Doug’s taste in non-Shakespearean Elizabethan drama, but that’s another post.)  The style was clean and serviceable, the characters were sufficiently well developed for a thriller, and the plot was bullet-proof, if you were willing to get into the spirit of the thing.

Jack Reacher is a bit of a stretch.  I expected not to like the superhuman above-the-law vigilante aspect of the character; I prefer heroes with flaws, or at least foibles.  But there was just enough of a sense of humor about the character that I could put up with him.

Here’s what I didn’t like:

  • Amnesia was a major plot device.  Child handled it much better than Dan Brown did, but it’s still a cheap cop-out.
  • The plot seemed a bit too focused on letting Jack Reacher hurt or kill as many bad guys as possible without legal repercussions.  I could do without that, but it seems to be Reacher’s thing.
  • Ultimately, the stakes were too low for all the mayhem.  Spoiler alert: the whole story revolves around kickbacks for paving contracts in a medium-sized Midwestern city. Again, the mystery behind this was handled well, but when it was finally revealed, my attitude was: “People are getting killed left and right for this?”

Still, on the basis of this one novel I’d put Lee Child on a par with Michael Connelly.  Which means I’d happily read or listen to more of his books, without having terrifically high expectations.

8 thoughts on “How come no one told me about Lee Child?

      • You clearly ignored me. I told you about the Reacher books several times. I’ve listened to all of the audiobooks except the two most recent, which aren’t yet in the library. I recommend the audio editions. The reader, Dick Hill, is one of the best in the business.

        That said, I think One Shot is probably the weakest of all the Reacher books, and I thought it was an odd choice to base the first film on. (I haven’t seen the film yet, but it’s next on Netflix for me.) I’d go back and start with the early books, if you’re going to read more. They definitely follow a formula, and the formula includes all the bad guys dead by the end. I find the violence a little gratuitous sometimes, but the characters are interesting, and I find the stories to be engrossing and well told. I’ve never actually read one on the page, only listened to them. I find them addicting.


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