All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Die Trying – Lee Child

on February 19, 2013

Die TryingDie Trying (Jack Reacher #2)
Lee Child
Bantam Books
1999, 549p
Read from my local library

Jack Reacher is walking down a Chicago street when he sees a young woman exiting a dry cleaners with a load of coathangers whilst trying to walk on crutches. He steps up to help her, taking her burden when all of a sudden, the two of them are stopped by two men. Jack and the woman are bundled into a car, each with a gun wedged up into their stomachs. Jack immediately knows that to try and escape now would be futile. Best to wait until later, when there aren’t so many people around. Whilst they are being driven, he makes a few observations, both on the men who have taken them and on the woman who was taken along with him.

It doesn’t take him long to deduce that Holly is obviously the one they’re after and that he was collateral damage – someone they didn’t expect to be there at the time. It also doesn’t take him long to figure out Holly’s job. They are bundled into a windowless truck and driven 2000 miles across America to the wilds of Montana and a remote community that is almost impossible to get in to – or out of.

Holly and Jack will have to work together as a team. Holly might be very competent but she’s got a badly damaged knee and can barely walk unaided. And Jack was a mistake, so their kidnappers don’t really have much reason to keep him around. And the agents coming for Holly, they don’t know anything about Reacher either. They’ve got no reason to suspect that he isn’t one of the kidnappers, and they’re not going to be looking to save him…

Die Trying is the second novel in the Jack Reacher series. Jack has moved on from Georgia and he’s been doing some sightseeing and just general touristy traveling around. When he sees Holly struggling, like a gentleman, he steps in at precisely the wrong moment and ends up an extra in a neatly executed kidnapping operation. He and Holly are trapped together for days as the van makes its way across the country to America. At first they both struggle with wanting to protect the other – Holly knows that Jack shouldn’t be here, that it’s only her they want. She has connections that make this sort of event not exactly a shock. And Jack knows that Holly doesn’t stand a chance against these guys given how injured her leg is. He has the opportunity to run but he doesn’t take it, because he knows he wouldn’t be able to get Holly out as well. He sticks with her, determined to only leave if they can both get to safety together. When they end up in the wilds of Montana though, he’s not quite sure how exactly they’re going to manage it.

Jack really is proving to have the knack for getting himself into trouble, but mostly it’s okay because there’s always going to be a lovely woman for him to pass the time with and *ahem* pass the time with.  I do wonder how many women Reacher is going to go through in this series but I can see how a long term relationship wouldn’t really work for him, given the way he moves around and is always being accused of murder/kidnapped/etc. I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as the first novel, mostly because I felt the people behind the kidnapping were almost too impossible to be believed. Maybe this is an American thing? I know this book is 14 years old, so everyone probably knows what happened in it anyway, but I’m not really going to spoil it for those that don’t. I’ll just say that if there really are groups of people situated all over America with those sorts of beliefs and weaponry, then that is insane. But what can you expect in a country where it’s suitably fine to go and purchase yourself some lovely M16 weaponry? It’s only natural people are going to want to do things with the M16s that aren’t just shooting at targets and whatnot.

I think that the thing I most had trouble with was that the ringleader of this kidnapping was clever enough or organise everything but not actually clever enough not to just put a bullet in Reacher’s skull the first moment he looked like being trouble. He had no qualms murdering his way cheerfully through a huge amount of other people, the fact that he kept Reacher alive when clearly Reacher was going to run rings around pretty much everyone, was odd. If you’re going to make the villain smart (albeit batshit crazy) then you have to do a little more to convince me as a reader, that keeping Reacher alive and just wandering from place to place and not confined, was a decision made for a specific reason. At the very beginning when the leader first claps eyes on Reacher, he decides to keep him alive for a reason, but then changes things. I know that obviously Reacher has to be alive in order for this book to play out, but I need better reasoning for why the commander made the decisions that he did. I’d have found it more believable if Reacher had taken more punishment, considering the leader so clearly loved to dish it out, even to his followers. It let the book down just a little, although the story still read well, it was interesting and kept my attention. Just not quite as good as the first one.


Book #39 of 2013


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