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Child, Lee - 'A Wanted Man'
Hardback: 432 pages (Aug. 2012) Publisher: Bantam Press ISBN: 0593065735

ATM card - check
Out of date passport - check
Toothbrush - 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 seventeeth 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, 101 useful 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.

JF, England
September 2012

JF blogs at
Raven Crime Reads.

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 2/09/2012 09:07