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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    2,596
  • 4 Stars
    1,888
  • 3 Stars
    511
  • 2 Stars
    93
  • 1 Stars
    46

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    2,314
  • 4 Stars
    1,585
  • 3 Stars
    534
  • 2 Stars
    135
  • 1 Stars
    81

Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    2,433
  • 4 Stars
    1,576
  • 3 Stars
    507
  • 2 Stars
    93
  • 1 Stars
    34
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  • Brian
  • Dallas, TX, USA
  • 09-17-14

Too many holes in the story

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

If Lee Child had put half as much research into the US military as he did on the weapons this would have been a much better story. Anyone who watches the news knows the head of the US military is the "Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff". Child calls him the "Joint Chairman" throughout the book. He makes numerous other mistakes that could have easily been avoided. I'm willing to give an author artistic license for the sake of the story, but Child's gaffs actually get in the way of the story for me.

Has Die Trying turned you off from other books in this genre?

I've read the first two books in this series, but I won't read any more of them. Child hasn't turned me off on the genre, but he has turned me off on this series.

Which character – as performed by Jonathan McClain – was your favorite?

Bo, the leader of the bad guys. The voice he used was just plain creepy.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Child writes good fight scenes and did a good job of conveying the stress Reacher experiences in the old mine.

Any additional comments?

As an Army veteran I notice mistakes that might not matter to a reader with no military experience, but every time I heard the title "Joint Chairman" I had to laugh. It sounds like the guy in charge of Colorado's marijuana program.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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True to the character of Jack Reacher...

I enjoyed this book. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was that it was not exceptional. Jack Reacher is a character that I got to know in the first book, Killing Floor. I bought this one right after I read the first. I probably should have gone back to another series first, then purchase the book. It is definitely its own story. The backround from the first book was not as important as I thought it should have been. If you aren't familiar with Jack, go ahead and buy this. I'm sure I will buy more in the future. But I need a little break from the Reacher series.

But I really like the style of Lee Child. His writing is very compelling and wants you to read more and more.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A "Harlequin Romance" For Men

This second installment of the Jack Reacher series continues where the first left off. It continues to be a shallow, formulaic, tough-guy story, reminiscent of a Steven Seagal movie. Jack Reacher is an unstoppable force who has a special gift for attracting women whose libidos rise with the body count. It's not that it isn't entertaining, but spending time with this story felt as deeply satisfying as channel surfing. "Die Trying" also has a new narrator who lacks the charisma of the narrator from "The Killing Floor" (Book 1). This was merely a 3-star audio book for me, and that's probably being generous by a star.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Suspension of disbelief dies a horrible death

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Child Fails Reacher In This One

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Very disappointing

What could Lee Child have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

The plot was not very entertaining and I often felt the writer made things happen even when they made no sense or fit into the story. The feeling was the ending was the goal and the trip there did not matter.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Jonathan McClain?

Yes

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

disappointment

Any additional comments?

I like the first book so I guess my expectations were just to high.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Mediocre story, awful narration

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

1. Shorter, tighter plot. 2. Good narrator

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Overall premise ok, but it is way too long for the plotline so there are many passages that are just filler, with no value to the plot.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Accents were terrible, female voices ridiculous and overall delivery very flat

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

first few hours are OK, by the end I couldn't wait for it to be over.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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hard time buying into the story.

Would you try another book from Lee Child and/or Jonathan McClain?

Not sure, probably try another.

If you’ve listened to books by Lee Child before, how does this one compare?

If you read this after the Killing floor, and appreciated the plot and how the story unfolded then this one, in my opinion does do it as well. The whole story thing seems unlikely.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

I never noticed in The Killing Floor, how often the character's conversations end with someone saying "Right?" Almost all the characters say this at the end of sentence,. In this book, with this narrator it's immediately jarring and continues throughout. I found it pretty distracting on top of a mediocre performance. If I listen to another of Child's books, I'll probably listen to a Dick Hill one.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Nope.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Eric
  • LYNCHBURG, VA, United States
  • 05-21-13

1,3,4,5...yes, skip this pile of 2.

This is the second book in the Jack Reacher series and a bad place to visit. This should be called the Holly Johnson series as she takes up too much of the story and offers little in return, at least to the reader. A very exciting open with all kinds of potential descends quickly into a harlequin romance with brief interruptions of gun play. Back up to the Killing Floor and enjoy what Jack Reacher is supposed to be. We will pretend like Rambo Meets the Militia" never happened.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Getting to know Reacher better

Another action packed Reacher that has a part of the setting in the back of a van and the majority of the action is based in a remote commune. Even so Lee Child has lots of description describing limited background. Into the story is woven the plight of a well connected, silver spoon young woman and overdoing her desire to seem normal and be judged on her own. This was not my favorite Reacher.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful