When you’re as big and rough as Jack Reacher – and you have a badly-set, freshly-busted nose, patched with silver duct tape – it isn’t easy to hitch a ride. But Reacher has some unfinished business in Virginia, so he doesn’t quit. And at last, he’s picked up by three strangers – two men and a woman. But within minutes it becomes clear they’re all lying about everything – and then they run into a police roadblock on the highway. There has been an incident, and the cops are looking for the bad guys…Will they get through because the three are innocent? Or because the three are now four? Is Reacher just a decoy?
ATM card- check
Out of date passport- check
Public information leaflet on the inherent perils of hitchhiking- you have got to be kidding- this is Jack Reacher!
Yes, Jack is back in the 17th outing for everyone’s favourite tough guy and picks up straight from the close of ‘Worth Dying For’. Navigating his way from Nebraska to an assignation in Virginia , Reacher again finds himself embroiled in trouble after innocuously hitching a ride that then manifests itself into a violent trip comprising of kidnap and terrorism. Naturally Jack is forced into a position of working with American governmental agencies to track down the bad guys whilst retaining his familiar role as a lone ranger fighting to restore right in the face of some pretty serious wrong with his inherent suspicion of said agencies. Joining forces with a pair of pretty feisty females who for differing reasons don’t inherently trust him at first, there is a nice interplay between the three during the course of the book and always good to see a couple of kick-ass female characters to counterbalance the oozing of testosterone (that admittedly Reacher’s female fans tend to appreciate) synonymous with the character of Reacher himself.
All the keynote characteristics of the typical Jack Reacher thriller are here- bad guys biting the dust, plenty of militaristic detail in relation to weaponry and army procedures, Reacher’s numerical brain- puzzlers, 101useful facts about every American state, clipped dialogue, and plenty of high-adrenaline action. As is standard in the series, there is no real deeper exploration of Reacher in terms of character development and overall the plot is pretty formulaic in terms of the motivations of the bad guys but as regular readers appreciate this is not really what we expect as this series is essentially built on Reacher’s tough guy antics and sense of justice. The ending did feel a little rushed in comparison to the roving and backtracking nature of the build-up and overall the book read as a mere tangential adventure before Reacher actually manages to meet his assignation in Virginia with whatever action and excitement that may hold.
As a consistent reader of the Reacher series I did enjoy this one more than ’61 Hours’ and ‘Worth Dying For’ but personally speaking I think it still lacks the intensity of some of the earlier books and sincerely hope that this previous originality will be recaptured in the future….
‘A Wanted Man’ is published 30th August 2012
(Thanks to Alun at Random House for the advance reading copy)
Check out the movie trailer for ‘One Shot’ here- on release December 2012