Ian Mapp's Reviews > Running Blind

Running Blind by Lee Child
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Jul 03, 12

Read in December, 2008

** spoiler alert ** I am afraid that this is a complete load of pants.

Lee child has been my guilty pleasure, but this book does not have reacher doing what he does best (killing people!) or the epic scale of the other books. And there are some serious flaws with the logic in the book.

Flaw One - Reacher is pulled in by the FBI because the results of a serial killer profiling exercise have resulted in the fact that it is Reacher. Despite going through his personal history, the FBI never once question him on his involvement with counterfeiting, armed militias, vietnam hoaxs and the rest.

Reacher convincing them he is not their man, but embarassingly for the story line, the FBI threaten his girlfriend if he doesnt help.

Reacher gets involved with the case as a special advisor - and its in more of a private detective mode investigating the case, rather than gung ho and smashing people up.

Then there is the story - several women who have filed complaints against the military for sexual harassment are found dead in a bath of paint. The FBI cannot determine how this is being completed

The answer is the second major flaw but is easily determined. They are being hypnotised into killing themseleves by the woman who is heading up the case.

And why is she doing this - because of an inheritance scam with her sister - one of the casualities. The other murders are simply to cover her tracks. Please dont insult the readers intelligence.

On a personal level - Reacher lets himself down my having a liaison with another invesigator before he closes things down with his previous dream woman, who he leaves cause he doesnt want to settle down.

By far and away, the weakest in the series to date.

I will perservere with the next one however.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Robert Wow this is a simplistic take. I'll agree that the fbi threatening his girlfriend was weak but it offers the first clue that the agents weren't above doing wrong if they felt justified. Next there was no liaison with the agent. Flirting and one kiss initiated by harper, but the second one was actually in the line of helping him solve the case. Besides jodie called it off even though reacher didn't technically want to. As for the plot, it was ingenious in its simplicity. I saw red flags popping up but I didn't figure it out like tripwire where I thought I knew the answer half way in and I'd gotten lucky and been right. You have to wonder how a criminal invesigator would kill for a simple motive like greed. It makes sense that given what she knows about investigations she would be able to leave little to know evidence and given she is a profiler she would know how to throw people off the scent.


Charity Kountz I Agree and have to say that I hated almost everything about this story. Where is the integrity, not only of Reacher but the FBI and Jodie? Why didn't they try harder? The whole thing was a complete letdown.


message 3: by Michael (new)

Michael Green Well said, Ian. I would hate to belabor the point, but I think i can help Robert understand the weakness in this particular story.

To start, I'm not even finished with the book, but I already knew how it would play out before reading Ian's spoilers.

The biggest problem is the lack of a moral compass for the FBI or Jack. It's easy enough to believe that one, or two, agents in the FBI would threaten harm to someone's girlfriend to compel the person to comply, but it is too much of a stretch to believe that two separate divisions (the NY branch was in on the threat) would violate the constitution to such a degree.

The straw that broken this camel's back was when Harper was lecturing Reacher on the importance of following "rules." The absolute ONLY proper response to that was for Reacher to tell Harper that when the FBI is willing to sacrifice the rules to achieve its objectives, that all bets are off on their expectation that regular citizens will.

My final observation is that with the history of "Die Trying," Jack should have so much credibility with the FBI, that it is impossible to believe that his "one phone call" wouldn't have been to the FBI Director makes no sense to me.


message 4: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo Evans I agree with some of your points and especially with the liaison comment; I was disappointed in that angle and felt it was not who Reacher was.


Theshrewedshrew I think your forgetting something when this book is being written, and who by. Lee Childs in a way thinks like Jack Reacher. It's an amusing thing to see the flaw... One the author says the FBI is shifty. The author shows not 1 not 2 but more than 10-15 that I counted before I stopped counting violations against any civilian.

The problem is that as a reader, we know that Reacher isn't every other civilian. But the FBI here knows that somewhat too. They also know that every time they try to talk to the military, and by talk we mean "Bully." (because that is the sense of inter-agency co-operation not only we get in this book, but that the world has accustomed us too) In this sense, we should do a few things to limit our response, we know that Reacher has been under investigation, he is alone and not being supported by the military freinds at the time. He is a loner, with the possibility of being able to be of use to the FBI. They first think about it this way, of course this is after we know that Reacher is innocent.

1. Reacher should be personally threatened.
ways to threaten
- Monetarily
- Jail
- Ruining his name
2. Threaten his girl friend
- Work
- Monetarily
- Jail
3. Threaten with a criminal
(this is awful and they use both Reacher and Jodie)
4. Along the way they use tactics to set him up in further complications of blackmail.
5. Upon him leaving after contributing absolutely nothing, they say again try manipulations....

So in the mind game category. We rate the FBI as possible descendants of J. Edgar Hoover... (Trust me on this it would fit, the bad things and the sentimentality the places on actions by the FBI in this book. Just see this as how the FBI in the authors mind would have handled this particular situation)

So lets get back to my reason for commenting.

I am just past the time when he leaves to go to Washington in the book.

I have surmised 100% of the plot.
I have even guessed as much, far earlier in the book. If you would like to know why I could tell you. But the comment from the killer was odd, but then I remembered something just slightly earlier. The hypnotism thing.

I also know why she was so eager to put Reacher under, and also why she wants to stay in the case, so she can convince them later that they in fact did it.

When you don't like your family, and you don't want it to be an issue in a case. You don't go on to say she is extremely wealthy and that you will both be even more wealthy when your father, excuse me STEP father, dies.

There are clues all over, and its interesting. I love this type of book but hate the FBI type politics while I enjoy reading about Reachers little maneuvers.

But I always like how some of his earliest observations, like she should be taken off this case, and her profile is wrong, make some profound statements later in the books.

The kissing thing of Harper, I won't lie I am not there. But let me just remind you that Reacher just killed 6 men for Jodie. She has changed him, forced him to live in a house he didn't want. Spend all the money he had on this house. And then spends late nights working and keeps an apartment on the side.

She was so ready to settle down at the end of the last book. But at the beginning of this book we see Reacher alone as ever, and miserable.

What is so wrong about wanting to drift, he has given his entire life for a country that every time he stops for a bit seems to judge him poorly and even worse threaten his happiness.

Also the FBI broke them up and manufactured that situation. Almost 100% sure.


Mark Dawson This might be a little harsh but, by and large, I agree with you, Ian. I did get plenty of fun out of the book but there are some enormous leaps of faith that Child requires the reader to take. A couple of leaps too far, perhaps.


Sammy Z I ha the exact same thought after reading this book. Terrible story. Complete unbelievable. Worst of the series this far...reacher sounds like a complete ass in this book. hope book 5 will be better


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