When a woman is kidnapped off a Chicago street in broad daylight, Jack Reacher's in the wrong place at the wrong time. He's kidnapped with her. Chained together and racing across America toward an unknown destination, they're at the mercy of a group of men demanding an impossible ransom. Because Reacher's female companion is worth more than he imagines. Now he has to save them both - from the inside out - or die trying....
©2005 Lee Child (P)2012 Penguin Audiobooks
Yes, but a different narrator. McClain actually is a good reader, but his impersonations of the characters are awful - and very distracting.
No. Because of the reader.
If McClain had just read the book and left off the character impersonations.
To not listen to any more books read by Jonathan McClain.
David L Hall "Get the Best & Forget the Rest"
I highly recommend this book. Reference to military days gone bye, and a sense of high integrity appeal to me. I appreciate how smoothly the story flows, and the constant anticipation for the next line. Lee Child is truly a remarkable author. Narrator, Jonathan McClain is easy listening. His voice adds strength to the character, Jack Reacher.
I am not very good, writing reviews. Even so, I can say I really like it or it sucks. I really like the entire series of Jack Reacher.
country music nurse
Brings it to life.
Yes, yes, yes.
Yes. Unfortunately, I had to turn it off to go in to work.
Truthfully, I'm not sure if this is a good story or not - given how popular this series is, it's probably not bad, but I couldn't get very far with this narrator. If all he had to do was read text, no dialogue, then it maybe could pass as moderately ok. When the dialogue kicks in, I almost cringe at his interpretation of the characters' voices (oddly, Jack Reacher's isn't terrible). Bad, bad, bad! Jonathan McClain goes on my "automatic pass on this book" list.
It's not a bad story, and I didn't mind the narration at all
Researched the US military more, much more
No, but I didn't think there was that great of a difference from Dick Hill
I wish Lee Child would do more research on American military culture. As a retired Marine, I was grinding my teeth at the constant errors in this story as it pertained to the military. Without giving out any plot lines, just suffice it to say, PLEASE do you research on the American military. Another gripe was the character of the head of the FBI, Child wrote his a total buffoon!
get another reader
I liked the storyline, it flowed well and kept me listening.
Only if he did the voices and skipped the "he said" "she said" parts. Most readers do the voices and leave this part of the dialog out as it is unnecessary.
Live Free or Die Trying
The new Audible site allowed me to pay for and download this title for a second time. The older version would notify you that you already had the title in your library. This is disappointing.
You can't help but like Jack Reacher. He's tough, private, carefree, and sexy without trying. As with his other books I struggle with loving the story and hating the brutality. This author clearly enjoys detailing horror. I'll consider reading more in the series, but just fast forward past those parts. For me they don't add to the story.
Note: There are spoilers in what follows.
First, the narrator of the book is basically adequate, though the decision to use a vaguely southern accent for a California native is decidedly odd. I suspect he was hampered by the very weak source material, so I wouldn't be inclined to skip work merely on the basis that he is reading it.
The real problem here is the writing.
I walked into this book having listened to the previous book in the series, so I was willing to accept the conceit of a larger-than-life protagonist caught up by events. The book started well enough, but soon started to go off the rails:
The primary victim of the story is the daughter of the "Joint Chairman", the title bestowed for no discernible reason by the author on the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Despite this being a position that is fundamentally both political and powerful, this character is portrayed as ineffectual and incapable of calling in any significant favors. (At one point, the character is to be found sitting with the Director of the FBI and eight marines on a broken bridge in the middle of Montana, facing a hundred militia members, with no other significant backup.)
Similarly, the Director of the FBI finds himself with three agents and no local assistance attempting to rescue a kidnap victim held by a hundred armed men, even though there have been days to organize a team. There's a deeply unconvincing hand-wave at a justification which serves primarily as an insult to the intelligence of the reader.
The intermountain west is dotted with military bases of one sort and another, but for some reason the major locus of the military part of the story is at Peterson AFB in Colorado when the bad guys are known to be in northwestern Montana. There's even a helicopter search and rescue mission sent from Pete. At the time the book was written, Mountain Home AFB in Idaho had a full Air Combat Command Wing, with fighters, bombers, AWACS, and refueling aircraft. There's a short mention of Malmstrom AFB (a missile base) in Montana, but largely as a place that sends a Marine (!) helicopter late in the story. (And that doesn't even consider Hill AFB, FE Warren AFB, and Ellsworth AFB, not to mention Guard and Reserve units that are all closer.
The actions of the protagonist are curiously inconsistent. Early on, there are many occasions for Reacher to make a serious attempt to short-circuit the kidnapping, but he chooses to be passive for 2/3 of the book. When the writer decides that it's time for the action to start, much larger risks than those earlier are taken nonchalantly.
It takes days (reasonably) and many pages to travel from Chicago to NW Montana, but when the last gasp of the bad guys has been on the road for four hours or so on the way to San Francisco, the characters begin to despair. I suppose that if you're going to try to search a 400 mile radius with a single helicopter, despair isn't unreasonable. But since the targets of said bad guys are more than 1000 miles from their starting point, it's not as though time is especially critical. They don't bother to call in Highway Patrol assets, of course.
A ton of dynamite is dangerous enough to kill everything within a quarter mile when it's convenient for the writer, but is blown up from 70 yards away by a character in a helicopter without comment when that's convenient. And speaking of dynamite, I find it "fascinating" that a star FBI agent has no real idea of what it might be other than an explosive.
In fact there's a drumbeat of unconvincing writing throughout the book. For the sort of reader that likes this genre, the ridiculous characterization and fundamental misunderstanding of the military, law enforcement, western geography, ordnance, politicians ... in fact nearly everything mentioned in the book, is likely to be fatal to enjoyment.
If I had listened to this early Reacher before later installments I probably would not have continued the series. That is my way of saying, "hang in there folks, it gets better." While the story is helpful in that it fills in continuity blanks suffered by reading ahead in the series, the poor plot and character development by Child damages the story significantly. This time the bad guys weren't bad enough, smart enough, or tough enough. The story signaled the end at every turn but never dug into the details of the plot (which would have at least added depth), leading to a no surprise ending with no punch.
If you are a stalwart Reacher fan and missed this installment as I did because it was not previously available on Audible.com and want to fill in a couple of gaps then Die Trying may be worth the time. If those gaps don't bother you then move on and enjoy later installments with the Reacher we've come to love.
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