There is something incredibly comforting about starting a book and knowing there will be absolutely no learning curve. You know the characters, you know their personalities, you know exactly where they are in their lives. It's like hanging out with an old high school friend, knowing time never seems to pass between visits. This is the beauty of a series, of which a few have snagged my heart years ago.
The Jack Reacher series is one that I will always follow, without fail. I may lose some credibility by saying this, but it doesn't really matter at this point what Lee Child writes, I'm always going to be sitting here waiting like a slobbering dog, begging for the next scrap of Reacherness. I've read every one of them, which is now 15 installments, and I'm invested.
I don't want to repeat myself, because I've reviewed a number of books from this series since I started blogging. I always say the same thing (prepare for the standard Reacher profile), and that is that Reacher is a big, bad hottie who is virtually indestructible. He can take on thirty members of a biker gang and leave them all bleeding and broken. He champions women and children. He's not afraid to knock someone off if they are bad people. He has the occasion sweaty tryst, but won't commit because he is a wanderer by nature. I foolishly fantasize that if trouble came my way, he would have my back.
OK, now that I've gotten myself all revved up, here is a look at what Reacher is up to these days.
Synopsis: Obviously, he has survived what seemed to be sure death in the last book "61 Hours". Child had me scared for a few minutes there. Reacher is on his way to Virginia to meet Miss Sexy Voice in person when he stumbles onto what seems to be a case of domestic abuse in a rural area of Nebraska. As you might expect, this isn't even the tip of the iceberg. Reacher finds a community filled with fear of one family of men, the Duncans, a mysterious but lucrative business, and the case of one missing little girl twenty years ago. That is pretty much all Reacher needs to know to get involved.
Before Reacher leaves this town of tormented folks less than two days later, all hell breaks loose. A whole covey of evil guys, all the way up the distribution food chain comes into town to rid themselves of "the big stranger" who is causing all this trouble, and get back to the business of raking in the cash. Trouble is, nobody really knows who is on which side. Reacher helps them figure it all out.
My thoughts: I never tire of Child's brand of ass-kicking and fast-paced action. I can ease right into step with the plot, and I'm amused and titillated by Jack Reacher's raw manly brute force and cunning. As I was listening to this episode though, it occurred to me that most of these books all feel the same. There are always innocent victims, there are evil profiteers, there is fighting and bodies and blood, and often there is a military thread within the plot (although not this time). The series needs an overhaul.
I would love for Child to surprise me. Maybe Jack could get married. Hell, Lucas Davenport did! That didn't stop HIM from finding trouble and being studly. Maybe he could come into some money, find a long lost family member. Something.
I always try to recognize the aspects of each book that make it unique. In "Worth Dying For", it was the mysterious money-making venture that all the antagonists felt was worth dying for. It was particularly heinous, and it chilled my blood. If I forget everything else about this book, it won't be that part of it.
A word about the audio production: As always, this series installment was narrated by Dick Hill, who by now IS the voice of Reacher. He has a hard edge to his voice, and clips off his words when things get hairy. He does a respectable job with accents, and when the action goes into hyper speed, his voice gets loud and fast. It makes for an exciting audio experience. I would be terribly disappointed if they ever used another narrator.
3 out of 5 stars