My first entry into the world of audio-fiction was a Jack Reacher book - The Hard Way. I was so enthralled I went back and read all the rest of the books in the series and have followed them all since, buying most of them the day they are released. I was a smitten fanboy, rating all Reacher books with 4 and 5 stars.
That is....until reading "A Wanted Man".
If you are a diehard Reacher fan, you'll read this book anyway...you won't be able to help yourself. I couldn't. Even though I moaned and groaned nearly all the way through it I just had to finish it...keeping hope that perhaps it would redeem itself. The redemption almost came, but it was far too shallow, too late and too short.
Here are 10 reasons to skip this poorly-cobbled-together, highly contrived, lackluster Reacher book:
1 - no "Colossal Left Hooks" - or really any fighting at all. Just one small scene.
2 - What little gun action is present is filled with grievous errors
3 - Reacher spends the first 1/3 of the book in a car on the highway doing...nada, zilch.
4 - no "Reacher said nothing"
5 - copied story lines from several previous books (Nothing to lose, etc)
6 - Child puts in more anti-american slights
7 - the "Reacher loves numbers" is way overplayed and overdone
8 - no "major love interest", no action with the ladies - has Reacher been neutered?
9 - Reacher's nose is broken the entire book and Dick Hill overacts it with an annoying nasal voice. About an hour into the recording you will want to scratch your ears out.
10 - no "I messed up/I had it all wrong" Reacher moment - when he figures it all out and takes action.
At best, this is just a "black sheep" placeholder in an engaging series that will be followed up by another action-packed thriller.
At worst, "A Wanted Man" leaves us feeling like Child has run out of ideas and is trying desperately to pull the wool over our eyes since his fame almost guarantees that we will buy the books sight-unseen. It seems like he was trying his hand at a psychological thriller, but if that was case, it came across as very amateurish. It makes one wonder if Child has resorted to using a ghost writer.
Poorly written with terrible audio-acting makes this a Must-Skip read.
But you, like me, will probably read it anyway...and after suffering through it, will come back and read my review and see that I was indeed right on all accounts. Shame on us both for supporting this low-spot in the series. Let us hope it is not a sign of things to come. I can't believe I am saying this but I honestly hoped near the end of the book that Jack Reacher was finally being killed off and that this series might actually come to a painful end. This latest version of the character is by far the most pathetic and castrated yet. Perhaps this series has finally run its course. What a sad turn of events. Was Lee Child depressed while writing this book?
If only there was a major motion picture to save it and set things straight.....*groan*
Yes - I'm clearly an idiot, a sucker for self-abuse.
Not if it sounds like this one.
I would cut the first 3/4 of the book. It all becomes revealed as fodder once you get to the final scene.
Avoid this one if you can. Total waste of time/money. Send a message to Child that we expect more from his Jack Reacher series.
The Path Between the Seas to The Great Bridge ~ Kagan's Peloponnesian War to Gaddis' Cold One ~ Mornings on Horseback to a River of Doubt ~ Tom to Huck ~ Lennie to Charley ~ Cadfael to Cross ~ Rhyme to Reacher ~ Blomkvist and Salander to Wallander and Wallander ~ Moving Cheese or Eating Frogs ~ On the Road and Into Thin Air ~ The End of History to A Short History of Everything to ... well ... everything else.
I am a great fan of Lee Child's Jack Reacher series ~ read or listened to them all, most more than once, usually well satisfied. Not this time. The latest Reacher "thriller" is anything but thrilling. If you decide to give it a listen, you can expect:
~ An exceptionally tedious first 90 minutes that seems to have no purpose other than to establish that Reacher can, in fact, drive a car.
~ An evil plot we do not discover until the end of the novel and still find very difficult to care about.
~ A mastermind who makes two appearances, is completely undistinguished, and almost impossible to actually care about.
~ A secondary villain we meet just one time and have no real reason to hate.
~ An exceedingly ho-hum "call to action" for Reacher. We don't know these people so why should we care.
There are MANY more shortcomings here. All in all, A Wanted Man reads/listens as if Lee Child had better things to do and just phoned-in a story, and a weak one at that. Child never develops the characters so that we can even begin to care about them; he does not develop the challenge so we can hardly care about it; and he doesn't even have Reacher hit anyone until more than half way through the novel (which is, of course, what Reacher does best). Even Dick Hill seems bored reading this thing.
Come on! Lee Child can do better than this; he always has. And we, as readers, deserve MUCH better. Skip this one.
If you decide to skip this, here is all you really need to know to bridge the gap from Worth Dying For to the next (better, please) Reacher novel. Small spoilers follow:
Reacher is still hitch-hiking toward Virginia. He still has a broken nose. He gets tangled up with a minor terrorist-related scheme (albeit a largely non-violent one), kills everyone, and is back on the road as the novel ends. You won't care about the details and, if you listen through the 14 hours, you still won't remember them, anyway). The book is THAT bad.
Retired former magazine editor who is working harder than ever as Mr. Dad to his 13-year-old daughter.
Did Lee Child decide to write a bad Jack Reacher novel to see if anybody noticed? Well I noticed. We were more than halfway through this story before our hero even pushed anyone. And why did narrator, Dick Hill, whom I usually love, feel the need to use the annoying and distracting broken nose, nasal voice throughout the novel for Reacher? Some where around 20 percent of the novel took place with Reacher sitting in a car. There were no powerful protagonist characters for Reacher to come up against and defeat. There was a dearth of hand-to-hand combat. There was not even a hint of the token romance that Child usually includes. I found little to like about this novel. Child rebounded after the forgettable Nothing to Lose and I hope he does so again after this poor offering. Only purchase this novel if you want to be among those who can say they have read/listened to every book in the series. And then prepare to be disappointed.
Not thrilling....tedious first 2 hrs...long boring descriptions of just about everything---clothing,weather, cars, briefcases, etc.,etc.,etc.,
The plot was slow to evolve and the villians difficult to identify, the ending ho hum....it gave me no incentive to care about the villian.....Wanted Man is not typical of Lee Child's talent.!
I am a 50+ book a year listener and a Lee Child groupy but do not understand this book. I listened to the end and Reacher wins as usual, but how did he get there? Sorry, but this one was stupid. Did they leave out some chapters in the read????
I am a big fan of the Jack Reacher books ... but man, is this one boring or what. Virtually nothing happens for the majority of the book. Anyone giving this a 5 star must be a relative of Mr. Child, or must work for the publisher. Or perhaps they just like the Reacher series enough to forgive so a slow book.
I would only because I like the Reacher books. But come on, Mr. Child, don't dial in the next one.
Reacher has a broken nose ... so much of the narration sounds like it done with the narrator holding his nose.
Seriously? You could cut out most of them and it wouldn't make any difference. Slow, slow, slow.
Seeking the Truth
Our ex-military genius and stud, Jack Reacher, and Lee Child's clever plots, are no more. The story begins where Lee Child's "Worth Dying For" left off, with our hero battered and bruised. But that's okay at first, because we know Reacher is tough and always gets battered and bruised somewhere along the story. But the reader quickly realizes that THIS Jack Reacher is somebody different -- someone we don't know -- a man who has succumbed to his years of loneliness, thumbing for hours or days or weeks on end in brutal environments, criss-crossing the US in cheap and soiled clothing, and reeking from days or weeks on end without a bath -- unless you count the time in this story where he spits into his hands and then cleans the blood off his face with his own saliva and slicks back his hair with the same spittle. Then we're painted the portrait of our man, standing on a dark highway at night in subzero weather, trying to hitch to Nebraska, with silver duct-tape across his face to protect his broken nose. Worse, although Dick Hill does the best he can with what he's been given by Lee Child, is that Reacher's once-commanding voice has been replaced with a weak and nasally sniveling because, as Lee Child writes, the soft tissues inside Reacher's broken nose are dangerously swollen, dried blood blocking any available remaining airway in his nasal passages, leaving him unable to breath through his nose, and Dick Hill is forced to narrate the entire story with the pitiful meow of a mouth-breather. Whatever sex appeal and powerful command of presence our hero once had have left the building. And I'm not sure we want him to return.
Add to this once-powerful character the weak plot, flat and trite characters, a very long and boring car ride (hard to get much action happening with four people riding in a small vehicle on a nearly deserted highway), a totally unrealistlc scene in which one of the passengers -- actually, a young kidnapped woman -- blinks out complex messages with her eyes to Reacher, each staring at one another without the other passengers figuring out something is up, and you've got one mess of a story.
This book is not worth a credit or money. It's hardly worth driving to your local library for. Better still, go outside, take a walk, play with your children, get to know your significant other again -- and hope that the real Lee Child shows up to write his next book.
With almost 800 books in my library, I am an experienced listener. I appreciate a well written good story. I am pretty critical of trash.
I have read four or five iin the series. I like the character Jack R, and I find Lee Child's plots usually intriguing and unique. This one became tedious and stretched the limits of believablity too far. I liked the beginning and it became a bit confusing and quite implausible. I don't mind Dick Hill. I don't understand why women don't read for the women characters. He can't pull that off. I am going to try some of the earliest ones. He might be having to stretch to far???? as he gets this far into the series.
Of course. I have read all of the Lee Child, Jack Reacher books. Dick Hill is consistently excellent as a performer. His women tend to sound a little whiny at times though.
The narrator was fine, but in this case he needed much better material.
I am not going to repeat what most of the other reviewers have said, except to say, I am a big fan. Downloaded the Kidndle app just to read the Deep Down short. Loved second son. The reason I point this out is that the shorts seem to be as far as Lee can go lately. Maybe it is dealing with the absurd idea of Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. Hey it worked out for Anne Rice, but Lestat isn't 6'5" 250 lbs. I don't know. Child has definitely lost his fast ball.
I have been to the mid west several times and I cannot believe this is the best place to center the last three novels. As the other reviewers said, too much time in the car. Too much hang around and sound like a mathematician time (too much math talk). No resounding ending with capturing or confronting the bad guy. I did not get a good idea of the bad guys lair from the descriptions. This just simply was not plausible. Yes the FBI are a bunch of backside covering buffoons at times, but even they would not be so incompetent as portrayed here.
I want Reacher to jump off of the page against bad people who did not expect the train wreck that was coming. The last few novels have only had them realize this in the last 1/2 to 1/4 of the book. I listened to this from a download on Audible, which is the only thing that save me from canning the whole thing. I don't think I could of read the whole book in one day as I have most of the others in the series.
But, like a lot of authors who just start running this stuff through the mill, (Clancy, Patterson, Grisham) this character seems to have met the downward spiral of his arc. Sad. Lee Child, wake up! Either kill Reacher off, or re-energize yourself and the franchise.
I is 'difficult' to keep such a compelling premise going. Might say 'impossible' if this dog is an indication. Based on the cut and dried character we know has Reacher, this series started to wane after a half dozen titles or so. Vital signs surged occasionally in the intervening issues, but this attempt at resuscitation failed badly. Many of the above reviews have touched on the tedious plot, the weak characters and missing "Reacherisms", but A Wanted Man certainly left me wanting, in a big way. With a 'bar' so impossibly high, this lemon went subterranean.
Like most Reacher addicts, I gobbled it down moments after release. Now, months later, I cannot tell you much if anything about this vacuum-packed embarrassment. Try as I may, I cannot recall reading the thing, let alone enjoying it. If this was Child's premiere episode in the legend that hoped to be "Reacher", Lee Child would be back writing TV scripts instead of owning homes on many of the world's rivieras.
Instead of struggling not to be repetitive (of others) in my critique, I will hitch my wagon on the literary hearse that is hauling this cadaver to its final resting place. Child has had quite a run, but we should have known that he'd left the track when he authorized Tom "Scientology-bot" Cruise to play the lead in the movie. A little like Wally Cox as Spenser for Hire. More than a simple 'omen'. The worst sort of arrogance delivered like a slap in the face.
I propose a boycott until we get Reached back in long pants surrounded by a story with some quality and muscle.