Child, Lee - 'Worth Dying For'
Hitching-hiking across America towards Virginia, Jack Reacher finds himself dropped off at an ageing motel in the middle of Nebraska's corn and soya bean belt. He gets a cup of coffee in the almost empty bar and is surprised by the refusal of his only fellow customer, a drunken doctor, to answer a patient's call for help. When Reacher understands that it is not just the doctor's inebriated state that is preventing a response, Reacher himself decides to do something about it.
We are drawn deeper into this isolated community which is held in the extortionate grip of a powerful and corrupt local family, the Duncans. And while Reacher is pursuing the nature of this hold, alongside the decades old mystery of a missing child, he attracts an expanding chain of criminal predators. The flat, empty, winter landscape of Nebraska mirrors Reacher's isolation and exposure, but the ex-military cop with no belongings, no credit cards, and no fixed abode, knows how to work in isolation.
The plot and language of WORTH DYING FOR are as efficient and honed as Reacher himself. We get to know the characters through their actions and words, rather than any description of their interior lives, and the pace is relentless as these same actions and motives lead to violent outcomes that not everyone may find credible. I was a little puzzled over one or two final plot points, but if you like a plot centred on survival and vigilante action, and if you appreciate knowing the exact details of the armaments and vehicles deployed, then you'll enjoy this novel, the fifteenth in the Jack Reacher series.
Reacher is a great protagonist for such a series. I found myself wondering if anyone would take on an adaptation as a graphic novel or comic strip; there is an element of Judge Dread about his character, the outsider samurai dispensing rough justice.
One advantage to such a plot basis is that there is no need to worry about reading the novels out of sequence. In fact, THE AFFAIR, due to be published later this year will itself be a prequel to the chronology of Reacher novels. A taster sample is included in this paperback edition.
Read another review of WORTH DYING FOR.
Lynn Harvey, England