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Posts Tagged ‘Jack Reacher’

Book Review: “Running Blind
Today’s book review is “Running Blind” (2000©) written by Lee Child.  This is the fourth in the Jack Reacher action / mystery series.  In this episode, Reacher is co-opted by the FBI to help them solve a serial murder case.  The case seems to be related to the military, hence the need to involve a former officer in the Military Police.
By “related” I mean the murders involve females who were sexually harassed while in the military.  The initial “perp” profile indicates it “might” be someone like Reacher because blah, blah, blah and he handled a bunch of these cases while he was in the service.   If fact, he is detained by the FBI because he seems to be a likely suspect.  He worked on the cases of a couple of the victims, so he seems to be a common thread.
The story follows what is becoming the standard story for this series: Reacher is dragged into something, he goes from being an unwilling participant to being a willing participant to being the brilliant “Sherlock Holmes” and solving the mystery at the end.  The problem with the series remains: there are already twenty plus books in the series and this is only number four, so there can be no personal tension, no matter how much the author tries to create a build-up.  We know he is going to live to be in the next book.
Having said this, the book is a good, fast read even though it felt longer than the earlier books in the series.  It weighs in at 519 pages in my paperback version.  If there is one difference in this episode, it is that we have a continuation of the story arc from the last book.  That arc is his love interest and the house he inherits from the father of the love interest.  Let’s just say, Reacher is a rolling stone, and leave it at that.  It is interesting because it is the first hint the books are not 100% stand-alone stories.  Does it “matter” in the grand scheme of things?  Not particularly.  Just interesting.
Final recommendation:  moderate to strong.  It is a good story, but I knew who the real perp was before the big resolution at the end of the book.  I didn’t know the how or the why, but I had pretty good ideas.  As an aside, I was expecting a super-twist at the end.  It didn’t happen.  Perhaps that’s why I was a little disappointed.  Anyway, I’m still looking forward to reading more books in the series.
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On This Day In:
2016 There Is A Difference Between Dangerous And Frightening
2015 Always A Goal
2014 Standing Strong
2013 Shaken And Stirred
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2012 Friends In High Places
2011 Objective Independence

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Tripwire  (1999©) —  Book Review
Tripwire” is book three in the Jack Reacher novel series which I began reading earlier this year after seeing the movie starring Tom Cruise.  I enjoyed the flic, so I wanted to see what the books were about.  You can never be sure just from watching a movie if the character is “really” the same or simply an interpretation by the director or star actor.  Although this is the third book in the series, it’s actually the fourth book I’ve read.  I was looking at summaries and found one of the books was a throw-back to before the “series” began, so I wanted to “start” the series at the chronological beginning even if it wasn’t the first book in the series.  Since I haven’t read all of them, I’m not sure I have started in the right place, but I feel as if I made the effort anyway.
So, the book (and series) is written by Lee Child.  At this point, the series is beginning to follow a formula: Reacher is out minding his business, something happens, he goes to be a hero – because he’s the only one who can work outside the law and get “it” done, whatever “it” happens to be.  This book finds Reacher in Florida, but quickly moves to New York.  He meets a past acquaintance who becomes a lover.  She gets in danger.  Hero time!
The book is solidly entertaining.  It’s well paced and (of course) has a twist ending.  The author accomplishes this with two tricks, misdirected first person narration and then failing to tell the reader what the main character knows until the author is ready for the “twist” ending.  The problem is, this trick is blatantly obvious when the author does it and as a reader you just stop and say (to yourself) “just tell me what Reacher knows!”  Does it spoil the book?  No.  Does it make it less enjoyable…?  Yeah, for me, it did.
Final recommendation: strong recommendation.  I will continue to read the series and see what happens.  I don’t remember the earlier books having the problem discussed above and hopefully, it’s just a one off in this particular book.  Anyway, as I stated, I still enjoyed it.  Action.  Mystery / detective / procedural.  Heroics.  What’s not to like?
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On This Day In:
2015 I’d Settle For Interesting
2014 Old Math
2013 Adequate Explanation
2012 Superior Discovery
2011 Welcome Home And Thank You!!
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Today’s reviews are of a movie I watched earlier in the week and a book I finished today…
Movie Review: Star Trek:  Beyond (2016)
This is the third movie in the Star Trek reboot series which stars Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Karl Urban (Bones/McCoy) and Simon Pegg (Scotty).  All the main characters are well played as all the actors seem to have settled into their on-going roles.  Sadly, I never saw this movie in its original release.  To be honest, I just never made time.  As good as a 50-inch screen may be from three feet away, it’s still not the same as having to use your peripheral vision to absorb the spectacle of the big screen theater experience.  But, then again, there is much to be said for a pause button, having your own kitchen / food / fridge, and a toilet ten steps away.
Is the movie original, any good, plot, action, does it make sense, etc.?   No, not really.  Yes, very enjoyable.  The plot is okay.  The action is reasonable, but I found the special effects to be only so-so.  Does it make sense?  Does it have to?  It’s Star Trek!  Okay.  Yes!  It makes sense (as long as you don’t try to think about it too hard).  The “best” Star Trek has always been a commentary on its current times, with a sub-textual message that we can get through this if we work together (aka “the future is hopeful”).  I would only say I’m getting tired of the Enterprise getting destroyed.  This is like the fifth time in fifteen movies.  Enough already!  We’ve seen this Fx get worked to death, now.  All in all, I’d say this was the best of the three reboots.  Highly recommended, particularly if you are a Trekkie (like me).
Book ReviewJack Reacher Series #2:  Die Trying  (1998©)
This book is the second in the Jack Reacher series of “male / adventure / action” genre books which I enjoy reading.  The series is authored by Lee Child.  Although it is the second book in the series, it is actually the third book I’ve read.  I got out of sequence because I read the book which corresponds to the Tom Cruise movie which came out several years ago (2012).  I enjoyed the movie, so I read the book.  I enjoyed the book (#8 in the series), so I decided to go back and read the series in order.
In this book, Jack is kidnapped (with a female FBI agent) in Chicago and taken to a posse comitatus (aka right-wing crazies) encampment in Montana where he must foil an attempt to secede from the United States.  All in all, the book is pretty standard faire for this genre and for this series.  Having said that, you will either enjoy it or you won’t.  I did.  Again, nothing earth-shattering here, just a good action / adventure story.  Even though it’s over 500 pages, it’s a fast read.  Strong to highly recommended book recommendation.
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On This Day In:
2015 Tell Me…
2014 Live Forever (To Remember Me)
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2012 Egotist, n.
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Jack Reacher Series #1: Killing Floor  —  book review
Every great book series has to start somewhere, and this is where the Jack Reacher series started…
Roughly two years ago, I reviewed the Tom Cruise movie: “Jack Reacher“.  I enjoyed the movie, found out it was based on a book series and put it down on my list of things to look into later.  Last month I finally got around to reading one of the novels in the series: (“The Enemy“).  That book was actually the eighth book in the series, but I decided to read it first because it was a prequel to his leaving the military and starting out his civilian career.  I was hoping to jump into the series with background from before the series.  As it turns out, this was probably a great idea.
The book I just finished: “Killing Floor” (1997©) written by Lee Child, is the first in the series and begins shortly after Reacher has left the Army and more or less relates the story of his becoming a Paladin (of sorts).  Although Reacher considers himself to be a fairly amoral person who doesn’t want to get involved with other people’s problems, in the end (actually, very early in each story) we see that, in fact, he chooses sides, and it’s usually for “right” as he understands it or for whomever he judges to be the underdog in any given situation.
Without giving too much of the book away, the death of someone close leads to the “decision” to help.  There are “very bad” bad guys.  There is murder.  There is money (the root of all evil).   There is an indifferent local populace and, of course, the beautiful damsel and the righteous hero.  There are twenty books in the series, so the hero always survives (ho-hum).
If I have one complaint (comment), it is the typical criminal mystery / drama / action story tendency to have the hero “intuitively” solve the mystery around 90% of the way through the book and then not tell us what (or how) he figured out the answer.  Instead, the hero spends the remainder of the book unraveling the proof for us so everyone else in the story (and us) are left to recognize how smart Reacher is.  Despite this minor fault, the movie and the two books I’ve read have all been very entertaining.  Final recommendation: strong to high.  A fast read with a good mystery, action, non-graphic sex and the bad guys get their just desserts in the end.  One other side comment, I now understand (and agree with) the folks who complained about Tom Cruise playing Reacher in the movie.  Cruise gets away with the role (adequately if you’ve not read any of the books), but he is NOT Jack Reacher.
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On This Day In:
2015 Avengers Assemble II
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2014 Turning Pages
2013 We Are All Accountable
2012 American Sign Language
2011 Happy Disproof
2010 Book Review – Managing Your Government Career

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