A Wanted Man (Jack Reacher series), by Lee Child

A Wanted Man (Jack Reacher), by Lee Child


Because I love the Reacher novels, I cannot write a trashing review. I agree with most of the comments by the disappointed readers. I agree there was too much narrative, not enough action. I agree that the bad guys weren’t bad enough. The plot seemed put together just to slam certain ethnics, and while we may all be sympathetic with anti-terrorism and some people might be anti-Middle East, this portrayal of this group did not compel me to hate them more. I felt a shrugging boredom during Jack’s long ponderings over the source and abilities of the bad guys. The only good thing Reacher proclaimed was that they were well organized and clean. True opponents are equal in degree of power or resources or something so that there is really a fight at hand. In the final scene, Reacher had 24 opponents, but it may as well have been one, a very poor one at that.

Prior to his entering the bunker, one of the good guys died and it was no big deal. Reacher’s expression of vengeance was not believable. I pictured Rambo rising from the mud when Reacher took out the two guys in the truck who had come to claim the dead body. Machine-like, passionless. Speaking of passion. There was NONE!!! No sexual tension, no recollection by Reacher about his past loves. He is traveling to Virginia to meet a woman whose voice appealed to him. As Reacher broke into the bunker, I felt the excitement mount, but there was no real payoff. With all the descriptions and guessing and lecturing (Lee Child’s lecturing to the reader), the book went on far too long. I would rather have seen Reacher being reacher for an extra hour than to wait out the long car rides and stupid storming of the empty house.

Like someone else said, maybe Tom Cruise HAS influenced Lee Child. Maybe Tom’s stiff acting style has infiltrated Child’s writing style. I can picture Tom in this role (NOT PHYSICALLY). Cool, clean, all power and no heart; a little man trying to be big and bad.

Anyway, I’ve watched some Lee Child interview videos and he himself seems cool and calm. He lately seems possessed of a notion that he is on top and doesn’t have to prove anything. That is just an observation.. I could be wrong about this.

I am disappointed in the book mostly because I really waited for this one. Needed a break from assigned reading and looked forward to some substantial fluff. There were moments that I laughed out loud, because I knew what Reacher would do. I could actually speak the lines before I heard them… we know what he and his kind of people are going to do. I was optimistic after the tedious car ride to the bunker, when finally the action began, but it was just more silly. Rambo again. And, Rambo has its place. But these books, up till now, have been better than that.

The idea of the FBI agent being outside the bunker driving back and forth three times and flashing car lights – well that’s just ludicrous since the bad guys had perches and long range rifles and would have noted the car and blown it up. That is just one of the ridiculous things.

The invasion of the terrorists’ house, the looking for McDonald’s and the approach by three people to take over the terrorist cell is simply stupid. Then, Reacher says, “deal with it” when one agent is shot but he risks his life to rescue another.

But I will await the next one.. consider this one a blip, though I wish I had waited until the price dropped and didn’t waste a credit.

Regarding the women in the book. I think LC is trying to do too much. Even though the women were his “superiors” as they were active in their jobs and Reacher was not, they deferred to him automatically. Strong women, if that is what he is trying to champion, would have kicked his “a…” and taken over. I don’t think he needed to add women just for “political correctness” if the women were powerless and weak because it is sort of an underhanded way of announcing that women are powerless and weak! – they need a man, etc. I am not going to belabor that, because, frankly, I don’t care if the women in these books are “correctly” portrayed. This is fantasy. There should have been some kind of sexual something. Did Reacher lose his “stuff?” He acknowledged the women were attractive. He saw one of them in some state of undress and still nothing sprang to mind? Bah!

In summary, I liked parts of it very much. An aspect of Lee Child’s work that I do like is the history/geography lessons he weaves into his stories. And this book had plenty – a tad too much for my taste, but I won’t abandon the series unless this is becomes a trend.

I, too, am looking forward, albeit with a very jaded sense of humor, to watching Tom play Jack. I will go to the movie to laugh and to look at the audience’s reaction. I wish I could know how many people are readers of the series vs. the number of people who are going to the movie without prior expectations. If he does it right, Tom might have a bankable franchise on his hands – and good for Lee Child. If Tom bombs, I hope he doesn’t take Lee with him.

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