Books: Lee Child “One Shot”

October 25, 2011

As mentioned in the previous blog entry, One Shot, the 9th novel by Lee Child is currently being made into a movie.  So I decided to go back and read this one again.  It is an excellent choice for the first time the Jack Reacher character will appear on screen as it is such a compact story with action and intrigue right from the start.

The opening scene shows the well practiced moves of an expert sniper setting up his position then taking out 5 innocent people in a city plaza.  The investigation swiftly shows up a number of clues and within hours the police have tracked down their suspect and begin to build a fairly solid case.  The only thing that the suspect says is “Get Jack Reacher”.  Reacher is not easy to find as he lives completely off the grid with no id, using only cash and leaving no paper trail simply as an ongoing challenge to himself as much as for any other reason.  However, Reacher hears the name of the suspect on a news show and immediately starts making his way towards the crime scene (a two day journey by several buses), but not for the reason everyone thinks.

Jack Reacher is a fantastically simple character.  He is 6’5″ tall, 220-250 lbs, with a 50″ chest has dirty blond hair and ice blue eyes.  His father was a Marine so he grew up in bases all over the world, graduated from West Point then performed 13 years of Army service, as a Military Police Officer and Investigator and was mustered out with the rank of Major in 1997.   He is an expert marksman, dirty fighter and intuitive investigator.

This means that there is a great deal to look forward to in a big screen adaptation of this book and any actor will have a lot to live up to to fill Reacher’s shoes.  Which is why it is surprising that the big screen talent who will play the “6’5″ tall, 220-250 lbs, with a 50″ chest” character will be Tom Cruise (who basically just plays the same ‘Tom Cruise’ character in all his films).  Oh well, I’ll go to see it anyway, but not holding out for a franchise to grow from it.



Books: Lee Child “The Affair”

October 13, 2011

The Affair” takes us right back to the start of the Jack Reacher story.  In the first novel “Killing Floor“, published back in 1997, we meet Reacher trying to find his way in the alien world outside the army he has always known.  We know that Reacher left the army with the rank of Major in the Military Police and that something caused him to leave.  In this book we finally find out what happened on his final mission.

In this book Jack is a little stiffer than we have come to know him, he trusts the army way and is out to save the army’s reputation.  We know that in his future this will not always be the case.  There are also some nice moments in this story which because it is his first mission undercover pretending to be a civilian he needs to discover certain civilian ways of doing things – like how to dress, where to get clothes, how to get money from a bank and of course how much luggage you really need…. a toothbrush.

Child is a writer who puts in nothing that doesn’t need to be there.  The plot follows a strict chronological order and moves directly from one scene to the next with hardly a breath.  Everything is from Reacher’s point of view and characters are only as developed as they become through his eyes.  There is no back story for each person or what they are thinking other than what Reacher thinks they are thinking.  All of which makes these books a very easy and good read.

This is the 16th Jack Reacher book and the second prequel which makes it a little more difficult to recommend where someone new to these stories should start.  There is of course the published order, which would start with “Killing Floor”  or you could start with “The Enemy“, which is a prequel set at some point while Jack Reacher was still a serving MP, and now this book “The Affair” which is set just prior to what happens in “Killing Floor”  whichever order you choose I would highly recommend reading this character!

PS there is one more option, you could just read “One Shot” (book 9) since it is currently being made into a movie due for release in 2013 with the remarkably miss-cast Tom Cruse taking the role of Jack Reacher.

book: David Baldacci “Last Man Standing”

October 2, 2011

I enjoyed “Absolute Power” enough to move straight onto another book by David Baldacci, “Last Man Standing”.  Like the last book this story has a fantastic setup which immediately starts you asking questions of how it will be resolved but then in the middle gets a bit of a slog with too many characters and diverging story lines.  However that said I did enjoy the read.

It opens with our main character Web London (cool name) who is the point man of the elite FBI Hostage Rescue Team.  The team are moving down an alley towards a drug dealer’s lair, when Web freezes on the command to move in, the rest of his team carry on and are met by a high-tech, custom-designed ambush.  The entire team are wiped out apart from Web.

So what happened, he has never frozen before in the line of duty.  His colleagues start to doubt him, was he in on the ambush or has he just lost it?  Web is on his own, the last man standing from Charlie Team, how can he find out what happened and how will it resolve.