Reviews are funny. I often read negative reviews and think, "what was this guy expecting?'". After you've read a few of Lee Child's Jack Reached novels, you begin to know what to expect. The man gets out of a bus or a car that picked him up hitchhiking in some remote spot in the midwest or the South, and immediately stumbles into some major crime or conspiracy. There is a vulnerable girl involved, and he has to help her. I've come to like the dialog, the banter. Reacher is a master of facts, as if he memorized the almanac or Wikipedia. And he always kills the bad guy in the end. Personally, I enjoy these stories and Tom Cruise's excellent interpretation on the big screen. Keep them coming...it'll be a sad day when I 've read the last Jack Reacher book!
I've read 17 books in the Jack Reacher series so far. Some were good, others not so good. I realized early in the series that Lee Child was churning these books out according to a formula....Reacher the ex-army man turned vagabond who always gets involved in some dangerous situation where he puts his deadly traIning and enormous size to good use against some bad people. You always had to suspend your disbelief when reading a Reacher story and accept the author's premise, which often was pretty far-fetched. But this book is just ridiculous. Reacher gets involved with two female FBI agents and persuades them to join him in an attack against a large group of terrorists somewhere in Missouri. Besides being a silly story, the book is also boring. Lee Child has a fondness for long, detailed descriptions of buildings and other inanimate objects that have you skimming page after page. I finally put this book aside after wading through 80% of it. It is unbelievable (even by Jack Reacher's standards). It's also boring and just junk writing. Read it if you must, but don't say you haven't been warned.
Let me start by saying I am a HUGE Jack Reacher/Lee Child fan and have been avidly working my way through the entire series from beginning to end. That said, I found this particular book to be far below the usual standards and struggled to get through it. By the end I was skimming through long sections of the book just so I could reach the end, which is extremely unusual for me.
So why didn't I like it? A few reasons: First, I found the plot to be extremely simplistic compared to what I am used to from Lee Child. There is really no depth at all to the plot, it is about as shallow a story as you can have and still claim to have a plot. No twists and turns, no in-depth backstory that drove the actions of the characters and nothing original at all. Same goes for the characters, they had about as much depth as a kiddie pool and really added nothing to the story at all. Lastly, for some odd reason even the Jack Reacher character seemed phoned in. Normally I enjoy the various quirks and oddities that make Jack unique, and Lee certainly tried hard to bring in more of these in this book, however they seemed really forced and frankly boring additions to the character that is Jack Reacher.
Bottom line, I felt this book read like a book that was an after-thought, as if this was the third installment on a 3 book contract and he used up all his time on the first 2. It will help pass the time on an airplane but is no where near the quality of the other Jack Reacher books I have read so far. Hopefully this is just an anomaly and not a sign of what I can expect in the ensuing books or I will be extremely disappointed.
Sixteen stories into the Jack Reacher saga we find the indomitable ex-MP once again immersed in a complex conspiracy. While hitchhiking (Reacher’s preferred mode of travel) he gets picked up by three people in a car and things quickly get complicated from there. The woman passenger appears to be a kidnap victim, then maybe not. Reacher gets pegged by the FBI as an accomplice of the would-be kidnappers and we learn the two males in the car apparently killed a mysterious man earlier for reasons which are unclear. JR eventually is able to team up with a reluctant FBI agent to try and rescue the hostage, figure out who the murdered man is, and ultimately crack a terrorist organization.
Its standard stuff you expect from this series so regular fans won’t be disappointed. Despite being 533 pages in length the ending was kind of anticlimactic and felt sort of rushed to me. The premise of terrorists running a bank of sorts for other terrorists based on fake nuclear waste instead of traditional cash or gold reserves seemed far-fetched. On the other hand, in this era of “Bitcoin” and other crypto currencies maybe it wasn’t so unlikely a plot device. This story is all business and we’re spared any distracting romantic interludes that sometimes slow things down in other novels.
Lee Child manages to avoid any faux pas with military references for a change but once again firearm facts trip him up. He refers to the 9mm Glock 19 pistol and states that it has “seventeen in the magazine and one in the chamber” but that’s incorrect. The Glock 17 has a seventeen round magazine, however the Glock 19 has fifteen round magazines. Of course you can purchase aftermarket magazines that have excess capacity but that’s another matter.
Another thing that annoyed me was that in two situations Reacher needs a knife; once to cut through some plastic door material and another to cut the ropes tying a victim and he resorts to using a key with a sharp edge. Readers have heard that Reacher doesn’t like knives for fighting purposes and that he’s a minimalist when it comes to personal belongings and every day carry but would it kill him to have a cheap pocket knife? He doesn’t need a big ‘Rambo’ knife or anything but a Swiss Army knife maybe. After taking out a number of paramilitary terrorists you mean to tell me that he wasn’t able to find a knife on one of them? Just saying.
Complaints aside “A Wanted Man” is an entertaining read and another worthy addition to the Jack Reacher series. Now I’m on to “Never Go Back”.