Book Review: The Midnight Line, by Lee Child

There are few authors whose books I buy almost immediately after the release. Lee Child is one such author. This book, the twenty second novel in the Jack Reacher series, made its way to my shelf thus, and I set about reading it eagerly.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Midnight Line, by Lee Child”

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Book Review: Make Me, by Lee Child

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Books by certain authors automatically find their way into my reading list and stay on my bookshelf after. Lee Child is one such author, and I had been anticipating the release of the latest Jack Reacher book, “Make Me” since the last book “Personal” didn’t quite match my expectations of the series.

The nomadic Reacher arrives at a station seemingly in the middle of nowhere. The only reason why the place appealed to him is the name of the place – “Mother’s Rest”. He wants to know why it was named so. A woman at the station mistakes him for someone else. Reacher assumes that it was her partner, and he is right. He has the chance to walk away from her, but instead, he decides to help her out. He asks around town, not knowing there is danger lurking. And it’s Reacher. Even if danger finds him as it usually does, he’s usually the danger for the danger. The investigations lead the woman, Chang and Reacher to loose ends, ends that can only be tied by the mystery that is – “Mother’s Rest”.

What I love about a good Jack Reacher thriller is that it keeps me guessing till the very end. And this book is no different. Initially, I thought it might just be the mystery of Keever, the man who was missing, but the book traversed to what Keever, a former FBI agent, was trying to solve… to journalists looking for a story and ended in a realm that was quite unexpected. I knew about the existence of such a realm, yes, but I didn’t expect Child to lead the story there. After the plot of the previous book was kind of a flop, this one is back to being one of Lee Child’s best.

I love the character of Jack Reacher. Nomadic, free spirited, uncaring for danger, totally egotistical of his capabilities. This book sees those aspects at their very best. One could even argue that his recklessness heads toward a previously unseen extreme as well. The glass half-full attitude of Chang just matches that sketch well. And Lee Child adds smaller interesting characters like the science journalist Westwood of the LA Times and the client of the missing detective Keever. The bad guys are mostly a mystery in this book, but I think that’s good in a way. There might be too many to name.

The mystery of Mother’s Rest and the missing Keever manages to hold my attention from start to finish with ease. A friend, who had read the book before me, spoke of something brewing, something that startled her a lot. I think that that helped to increase the curiosity factor as well, but when it comes to Jack Reacher, that would be there automatically. I could feel that “brewing” too. As I said before, the existence of the realm was known, so it didn’t startle me as it did the friend, but it made me wish that those who keep that realm active would be stopped.

If “Personal” lacked the Reacher treatment, this book makes up for that in no small amount. I can only hope that Lee Child decides to write more than just a book each year. Till the next one comes, I guess I will have to re-read the books once in a while.


The Bookworm Rates This: 5/5
The Bookworm Rates This: 5/5
Book Details
Title: Make Me Series: Jack Reacher #20
Author(s): Lee Child Genre: Thriller
ISBN/ASIN: 9780857502896 Publisher: Bantam / RHI

Reviewed for RHI, in exchange for a copy of the book. No other payment was taken. The views expressed here are my own, frank and uninfluenced.


(© 23rd October 2015)

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Book Review: The Visitor, by Lee Child

When an author’s work becomes so interesting that you end up becoming a lifelong fan of the author, it tells the quality the author has. I’m a fan of two or three such authors, one of whom is Lee Child. I own all nineteen of the Jack Reacher collection and very few books of the army man has disappointed. The Visitor is the fourth book in the series.

Blogging from A to Z: L for Lee Child
Blogging from A to Z: L for Lee Child

Amy Callan and Carolyn Cooke have a lot in common. They both were in the army, the former a sergeant and the latter a lieutenant, before they were forced to resign from service. And now they’re both dead. The FBI investigates, and is quick to find another common link between the two of them, a connection with Jack Reacher. The profile of the killer that they have matches that of Reacher, a loner and an army man. But when another girl is murdered, and they are sure it couldn’t have been Reacher, they take his help to bring the criminal down. Can they do it before more girls fall victim?

What I like in Lee Child books is that it has pace; and lots of it. This one is no different. Right from the time he’s cleared of the crime and begins to investigate, Jack Reacher and his ideas stumble and fall, but his confidence doesn’t seem to get a hit. He’s the reckless army man I’ve read in most books of his and the guy who makes women fall in love with him. He’s almost at the neck of the criminal always, but it’s not easy. The method of the criminal is different and I liked the thought given by Lee Child for the method, though I wondered if it was possible. When the criminal is caught and both the method and the criminal revealed, I was surprised, for it was a twist I had not expected at all.

From start to finish, this book kept me engaged. And I’m happy that it did. Yes, some characteristics of the Reacher’s character and the characters around him tend to become predictable, but I don’t mind that, when the plot and narration is just that good.


The Bookworm Rates This: 5/5
The Bookworm Rates This: 5/5
Book Details
Title: The Visitor Series: Jack Reacher #4
Author(s): Lee Child Genre: Thriller
ISBN/ASIN: 9780857500076 Publisher: Bantam Books
No. of Pages: 512 Price: INR. 399

I own a copy of this book. The views expressed here are my own, frank and uninfluenced.


(© 14th April 2015)

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Book Review: Personal, by Lee Child

When it comes to crime thrillers, one author sits a rung above the rest on the ladder. I’ve read most if not all of the series, and the books are ones I wait for impatiently when I hear of an impending release. Jack Reacher, military cop and the bad good-guy, returns in Lee Child’s latest thriller, “Personal”.

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A sniper has taken a shot at the President of France. From a range only few snipers are capable of achieving. Miles away, in the United States, the hunt is on for Jack Reacher. An ad in the army newspaper left in a bus by two army officers finds its way to Reacher. He can choose to ignore it. But he owes a favor, and he decides to pay it. He’s called upon to find that sniper, who may be American. And one who Reacher had had put away in prison. And a chase begins across continents for John Kott, the sniper. He’s assisted by Casey Nice, and in Britain by one who’s tracking another sniper, an Englishman.

Right… the nitty gritty. For those die-hard Reacher fans like me, this book does offer a snap of the military dude we know and admire. There’s action and a search for vengeance and a motivation that is based on righting a wrong. From the moment Kott angers Reacher, the book begins to look like a Reacher novel. Unfortunately, that moment for me comes way deep into the storyline. Till then, it’s a mixed bag full of “possibly” and “maybe”, with a heavy dose of details. At places, it seems interesting, like when o’Day gently puts the possibility of Kott in front of Reacher. At other places, it seems boring. Like Casey Nice meeting with Reacher. And we don’t see the lover boy part of Reacher either. He goes on two trips with Nice, and no reaction there… a very, almost too professional side to Reacher that I didn’t like. It was like reading a Jack Reacher novel without the essence of Jack Reacher. It was fun, but on some level, there was something missing… something that I can’t quite place my finger on. The pace lacked and for the first time, I found myself distracted from the book when it was a Reacher novel. The ending was a bit of “much ado about nothing”. I could guess the ending about two or three chapters before it.

I honestly hope that this novel was a one-off miss in the series. I’ll await the next one “Make Me” which is expected late next year. This one wasn’t amazing, but I wouldn’t call it a waste of time either.


Rated a 7 on 10!
Rated a 7 on 10!

Book Details:
Title: Personal
Series: Jack Reacher #19
Author: Lee Child
Genre: Crime Thriller
ISBN/ASIN: 9780857502827
Publisher: Bantam / Random House India
Price: INR 399

Random House India gave me a copy of the book for review. The views expressed here are mine, and unbiased.


(16th December 2014)

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Book Review: A Wanted Man (Jack Reacher #17), by Lee Child

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About the author:
Lee Child is an English author, best known for his series of thriller novels, starring Jack Reacher, the ex-cop from the US Army.

Cover and blurb:
A hitchhiker on a mostly empty and dusty road is on the cover. The blurb indicates the hitchhiker, Reacher, gets into the wrong car. And the car’s occupants are possibly the bad guys. That forms the base for the thrill.

My thoughts:
Does trouble follow Reacher, or Reacher follow trouble? Eighteen books into the series, I still don’t know. It is part of the thrill in the thriller I guess. Even when he tries to get a ride out of trouble, he finds himself getting into it. What are the odds on that? With Reacher, it’s definitely likely to happen. He’s a wanderer, with no luggage and an old passport, going where he wants to go. Sometimes he takes a bus, sometimes he hitches rides.

Maybe it’s the way a Reacher plot goes, but you could know the car that stops would be the car with the bad guys in it. The bad guys who have been reported to have executed a yet-to-be-identified victim, the professional hit style escalating it from local police to FBI territory and even bringing the CIA into play. FBI special agent Julia Sorenson is assigned to the case. She later becomes Reacher’s ally. To escape the roadblocks the authorities place to stop them, the bad guys pick up Reacher as a smoke screen, and also, as we later find out, a woman. However, Reacher does find out soon, and after that, it’s the usual Reacher v/s the Villains plotline that’s been tried and tested over the series.

Call it the aftereffect of reading a lot of the series, but I could think along with the actions and the predictability was a little more than I wanted at first. I could guess what’s going to happen, or what has happened. But Lee Child, the writer that he is, does bring in an unexpected turn or two as the story progresses. The lusty one-night stand is missing in this novel, though indications to one was there. The Reacher character has his usual quirks, the obsession with having one set of clothes, or number riddles (this one was a good one though), and smart mouthing but it lacked zest a little. Again, possibly it was the predictability after going through a lot of the series. I liked the character of the little girl, brought in to confuse and to keep the thrill going, and also the woman in the car, but the villains, portrayed from the eyes of the cops and law upholders as terrorists or such, their characters in the end didn’t live up to the billing.

Overall, an interesting story. The thrill is there, yet not there. It waxes and wanes, but still, being a fan of Jack Reacher, I think to the most extent it works. Not the best, but not the worst either.


A rating of 8/10
A rating of 8/10

Book Details:
Title: A Wanted Man
Author: Lee Child
ISBN: 9780593065723
Genre: Thriller
Publishers: Bantam Press
Price: INR 650

 


This book is a personal copy. No payment was taken for this review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


(2nd Oct 2013)

Book Review: Never Go Back (Jack Reacher #18), by Lee Child

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About the author:
Lee Child is the nom-de-plume of British thriller writer Jim Grant. Child’s novels follow the adventures of an American military cop Jack Reacher who is a wanderer.

Cover and blurb:
A guy, possibly Reacher, at a checkpost, entering some high security area, that’s what the cover impression was. When I find that that indeed is the case, and he’s actually back in his old department, and he’s accused of a sixteen year old homicide, the tone is set for Lee Child to make his thriller.

My thoughts on the book:
If you have read Jack Reacher, and know his character, then you’d know he is a wanderer and usually has a fling with one woman in his books. You’d also know that he doesn’t go back to the same place. So when the premise of one Jack Reacher thriller is set with him going back to the headquarters of his old unit, you know something is up. Sure enough, he’s there to meet the current commanding officer Susan Turner. Unfortunately, he finds that she’s not there. Instead, it’s a burly looking Colonel who tells him that he’s being accused of a sixteen year old murder, and there is another case also. To add to the thrill factor, Reacher is pulled back into the army, made a Major again. Susan Turner meanwhile has been arrested for some other case, and is being held in high security.

Reacher, being Reacher, feels the injustice meted out and wants to right the wrong (as always). He finds an ally in a nice sergeant, and puts his thinking cap on. He breaks out of prison, breaks Turner out too, and from there on, it’s the good guys (Turner and Reacher) against the villains (commanded by voices known only as Romeo and Juliet).

I don’t know if this is the best Jack Reacher thriller yet, but it most certainly ranks right up there with his best. You want to turn the pages, want to know what lies ahead, and want to know what the unpredictable Reacher will get up to next. The book is a large one compared to his other books, but the size doesn’t affect the pace or the curiosity. His character is as interesting with him in the army, as it is when he is out of it. His arrogant and confident character is shown brilliantly, and yes, there’s that romancer part as well. Even the emotional angle shown to Reacher felt nice. I think only the ending felt oddly out of place. It felt uncharacteristic. I wish it had ended in some other way, and kept the pace it had before.

I wait for the next instalment of the series now, and go back and read the ones I’ve missed.


Rated a 9/10
Rated a 9/10

Book Details:
Title: Never Go Back
Author: Lee Child
Series: Jack Reacher #18
ISBN: 978-0-593-06575-4
Genre: Crime Thriller
Publishers: Bantam Press
Price: INR. 599

 


This book was given to me for review by Random House India. This is not a paid review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


(Sept 9th, 2013)