Jane Stewart's Reviews > Nothing to Lose

Nothing to Lose by Lee Child
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Jan 22, 12

bookshelves: mystery-suspense
Read in January, 2012

The least fun Reacher book. Read the others first. Only die hard fans will want to do this one.

STORY BRIEF:
Reacher is hitchhiking west to California. He happens to be let off in Despair, a small town in Colorado. He stops in the town’s only diner for coffee. The waitress and owner refuse to serve him. The local police arrive and put Reacher in jail. Later he sees the judge who orders him to leave town. The police drive him five miles to the town limit. The nearest town is Hope, another ten miles or so from there.

Throughout the book there are several mysteries going on. Some young women are worried and secretive and staying at the hotel in Hope waiting for word from their boyfriends. The boyfriends went to Despair. One of the boyfriends may be dead. The only industry in Despair is a recycling plant which has a government contract to recycle military vehicles and other. Thurman owns the recycling plant and almost every other business in town. Everyone works for him. He is also the local preacher. Every night he flies his small plane somewhere and returns a few hours later. There is a military base of some sort near the recycling plant. When Reacher drives near the military base he is ordered to leave.

Vaughan is a female cop in Hope. She assists Reacher with some of his activities. There is a mystery about her husband who is not around. No one will tell Reacher anything about her husband.

REVIEWER’S OPINION:
Lots and lots of questions and mysteries for the plot. And then even more questions are created through every day conversation. For example, when Vaughan and Reacher are driving he asks her “where are we going?” She says “you’ll see.” When Reacher is traveling with Thurman he asks the same question. Thurman says “you’ll see.” Toward the end, Reacher has figured things out. When Vaughan asks him what’s going on with the plant. He says “I’ll tell you later.” When she asks what’s going on with the boyfriends. He says “I’ll tell you later.”

So, I’m at the end of the book, and the mysteries have been revealed, and my reaction is “what?...Oh....Not very good.” In all other Reacher books he is frequently up against several bad guys at once and wins. I’m wondering if the author was thinking “what if he was up against a whole town?” Maybe that’s how the story started. Maybe it could have been good. But it didn’t work. Things weren’t supported logically enough. Even at the end, I was asking why would everyone in town be so aggressively against every traveling outsider? I know he answered that, sort of, but it wasn’t a good answer. And then other things were not justified or explained well enough.

I always have to suspend disbelief in Reacher stories, and I don’t mind. But in this book, the reasons were not fun. And the action was not as exciting. There was an occasional fight. But it’s mostly just mystery upon mystery with unsatisfying reveals at the end.

SOMETHING FOR TRIVIA BUFFS:
We learn that Reacher used to smoke Camels. He quit before any of these books.

WHAT I LIKED:
A couple scenes. I liked what he did to the two Despair police cars. That surprised me. I wasn’t expecting it. When told that the Despair police would be coming to Hope to search for Reacher, Reacher went to Despair for the night. Reacher wanted to search all the rooms at the rooming house in Despair. He told the owner to give him the pass key. If not, the owner would have a lot of expense to repair all the broken doors.

NARRATOR:
The narrator Dick Hill was very good.

DATA:
Unabridged audiobook reading time: 13 hrs and 58 mins. Swearing language: mild. Sexual language: none. Number of sex scenes: 5 referred to not shown. Setting: 2007 mostly Colorado. Book copyright: 2008. Genre: mystery suspense. Ending: mysteries are revealed, but I did not feel satisfied.

THE SERIES:
Following is a list of the Jack Reacher books in order with my ratings. All the books could be read as stand-alones, but I suggest reading them in order, saving the lower rated ones for last.

4 ½ stars. Killing Floor (#1)
4 stars. Die Trying (#2)
4 stars. Tripwire (#3)
2 ½ stars. Running Blind (#4)
4 stars. Echo Burning (#5)
3 ½ stars. Without Fail (#6)
4 stars. Persuader (#7)
3 stars. The Enemy (#8)
4 ½ stars. One Shot (#9)
3 stars. The Hard Way (#10)
3 ½ stars. Bad Luck and Trouble (#11)
2 stars. Nothing To Lose (#12)
4 stars. Gone Tomorrow (#13)
3 stars. 61 Hours (#14)
4 ½ stars. Worth Dying For (#15)
4 stars. The Affair (#16)
4 ½ stars. Second Son (short story at the end of the “The Affair”)
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