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Nothing to Lose

(Jack Reacher #12)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  52,728 ratings  ·  2,536 reviews
Two lonely towns in Colorado: Hope and Despair. Between them, twelve miles of empty road. Jack Reacher never turns back. It's not in his nature. All he wants is a cup of coffee. What he gets is big trouble. So in Lee Child’s electrifying new novel, Reacher—a man with no fear, no illusions, and nothing to lose—goes to war against a town that not only wants him gone, it want ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published June 3rd 2008 by Delacorte Press (first published March 24th 2008)
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Mike Marsbergen I would suggest paying more attention before calling the writing amateurish because the plots confused you.

It all boils down to Mr. Thurman, the End T…more
I would suggest paying more attention before calling the writing amateurish because the plots confused you.

It all boils down to Mr. Thurman, the End Times proselytizer, businessman, mayor, etc. He took the flights to the military base to ease his conscience, ensure his passage to Heaven when Armageddon came, and to put on a noble, thoughtful front—that he was doing good for others by ensuring their cremated remains were properly buried. So he thought, as there was nothing identifiable in the remains, and it was revealed the ashes would just end up in a closet in a lab in Hawaii. Thurman was also getting free gas and meals while he was there, so it was a profitable venture.

The underground-railway subplot initially seems to be about helping military deserters get to Canada, but then it's revealed at least two members have connections to an End Times church in California. Thurman was connected to the Californian End Times church, possibly recruited by the pair the last time they were in Despair, and his plan was to trigger an early Armageddon by initiating a false-flag dirty-bomb attack somewhere in North America, placing the blame on Iranian terrorists (hence the Iranian licence plates).(less)

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Average rating 3.91  · 
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Start your review of Nothing to Lose (Jack Reacher, #12)
Jun 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: almost no one
After reading about 8 of Child's Jack Reacher books, I finally found a dud. It started out thrilling, as expected, but quickly became almost boring. I can not believe I am typing those words.

Reacher's repeatedly doing the same thing, over and over (returning to a bad place) was tedious and so unlike our hero's usual behavior. The plot wandered all over the place and the book was too long.

I found it impossible to buy into the far-fetched "conspiracy theory" with its pathetic "villains" and was
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

At the individual level in sweaty gyms the thugs doing the training had pointed out that gentlemen who behaved decently weren't around to train anyone. They were already dead. Therefore: Hit early, hit hard.

Good, almost great.

As always happens when I pick up Lee Child's books, I was completely hooked and once I got into the story, I had real trouble putting it down. The moment I opened the first page, my curiosity was piqued immediately. I couldn't stop guessing and wondering what was reall
Sep 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller
In my mind, Jack Reacher is mine - though arguably the worst commitment-phobe, ever- but whatever!
Bless Paramount for casting Tom Cruise.... who woulda thunk it. Gargantuan Jack and Tinny Tom. Match made only in Hollywood.
Jane Stewart
The least fun Reacher book. Read the others first. Only die hard fans will want to do this one.

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
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: serial-thrillers
Number 12 in the Jack Reacher series.

When there are corruption and cover ups being performed by both the military and the government, cover ups that could have major repercussions in the USA and overseas. Couple this with a group of fanatical ‘End of Times’ zealots that want Armageddon to happen sooner rather than later. Who you gonna call? (Jack Reacher).

On a whim Jack decided to stop in the small country town of Despair. He’s there about five minutes when he is asked, with menace, to leave the
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: only hard core Lee Child fans
I can always depend on Lee Child to keep me up all night to finish Jack Reacher’s latest “mission” to help in a desperate situation. But, not this time! After a thrilling, mysterious prologue, Child has Reacher in Colorado where he finds that there is little distance between the fictional towns of Hope and Despair – both in the physicality and allegorical senses. All Reacher wanted was a cup of coffee. He is ignored, beaten up, thrown in jail, and driven back toward Hope after being convicted of ...more
Jun 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
I shoulda effin' known better.

On the recommendation of quite a few (formerly) reliable folks, I finally cranked through a 500+ Jack Reacher novel.

Short version: Fucking terrible.

Longer and angrier version:
It seems to me that Lee Child really wants to write Robert B. Parker novels, but doesn't have the balls to actually go through with it. There are entire pages that could have been ripped out of a Spenser novel. Shit like this (paraphrasing because I don't want to open the goddamn book ever agai
Book Addict Shaun
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nothing to Lose had quite a lot of negative reviews which almost ruined the book for me before I even went into it. I need to start reading books without reading reviews first because I actually really enjoyed this one. That said, I can see why some people either dislike Reacher or this book but, I still love him.

My main issue with Nothing to Lose wasn’t the story itself, but how long it took to get going. I never want these books to end and so I like the way Lee Child sometimes drags the story
Mungo James
Jan 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
apparently when you edit a review everything is deleted first.

As Reacher would say, OK.

And that is the problem, Child writes in short sentences with small words. Frequently just in phrases.

Apparently Child frequently/always puts Reacher into impossible situations that he fights out of. Child includes many details, most of which are wrong.

1) there is no such thing as a 4 cyl el Camino
2) it isn't a truck & you can't take it offroad anymore than
the Chevelle it is based on
3) quit calling an el Ca
Mike (the Paladin)
Jul 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
I've read several books in this series. I like some more than others. There are several reasons for that I suppose. From the fact that the books usually have some logical inconsistencies to the fact that that Reacher isn't always exactly the same guy and sometimes Reacher holds forth on topics...of which he obviously is, shall we say...under-informed????

That last one is sort of the case here. As we get the story of these two small towns and the (seeming) conspiracy surrounding one the plot isn'
May 01, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The worst in the series, so far.
Scott Rhee
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: action-adventure
Jack Reacher, the ex-Army MP protagonist in Lee Child's long-running series, knows what duty means. He understands a soldier's duty to his country, but he also knows that duty runs two ways. One's country---and its leaders, politicians, and citizens---has a duty to its soldier. More often than not, Reacher believes, that duty is forgotten, and when that happens---when a soldier feels that he has nothing to gain from serving a corrupt country with a corrupt ideology---he starts to feel that he ha ...more
Kathy Davie
Oct 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller, horror
Fourteenth chronologically in the Jack Reacher thriller series (and twelfth publication-wise) about an ex-M.P. roaming the world on his own terms and protecting the innocent.

It's been ten years since he left the army.

My Take
I think this was one of the scarier Reacher novels. To think that a town would exist that was so far out of the norm. And how easy it was for its "rulers" to govern! Part of that "easiness" depended upon how the majority of us were brought up: Keep out of your neighbors' busi
Not the best of Reacher's books. I thought the "villains" were not in his league at all and the action wasn't as exciting. He kicked their asses right and left and it was amazing how much he got by with. I never got the explanation of why the whole town was into the craziness. Nothing was a big surprise to me.

The best part of the book was getting an inkling of the reasons why Reacher left a job he was so good at. There had been some allusions in past books but I think this was the strongest: Rea
May 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
My 2nd Jack Reacher book. I don't like his vigilante attitude. Funny when the same "take no prisoners" attitude is on the big screen, I'm cheering for the cowboy but in the slower medium of the printed word, I find it distasteful. And really, what woman would really fall into bed with a man who has no job and rarely changes his clothes?
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nothing to Lose I wouldn't put up there with the best Reacher installment, but it was good nonetheless.

It just happens to be another typical day for Jack Reacher, that is, until he reaches the town of Despair! Despair, a small, desolate town in the middle of nowhere, twelve miles across from it lies the nearest town Hope, between them, an empty road. Reacher arrives in Despair, wanting nothing but a cup of coffee. What he gets is more than he bargained for, he's not there 5 minutes when 4 hosti
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: school yard bullies
My first and maybe last Jack Reacher novel. My main problem is that Jack Reacher is basically a school yard bully. I guess I expected threats, intimidation and brute force as his chosen tools; but it would have been nice to see him backed into a corner, instead of "getting your retaliation in first." Maybe I'm just an old western romantic in that sense. Seems like the good guy in the story should show some restraint until there's no other choice.

Beyond that, I'm guessing you only need to read on
Patrick Gray
Feb 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
Okay, I have been reading the Jack Reach series in order. My intent was to read the entire series and then see the movie based on "One Shot". I have just finished "Nothing to Lose" and I must say I'm becoming more and more disappointed with each subsequent book.

I served in the US Military as both enlisted, and then a commissioned officer. It is painfully obvious that Jim Grant (Lee Child)built a persona of a military officer based on fairy tales. Jack Reacher in no way way resembles any militar
Rupali Rotti
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book maybe my last in the Lee Child series, but my decision isn't solely based on this book alone. The main reasons are that the gory scenes are too gory for my taste, and there is too much of detail in every book which makes me skip many sentences at a time.
This book didn't appeal to me because of the following reasons:
[1] I don't see a 'drive' or reason for Reacher to go back to a town time and again where he isn't welcome.
[2] Reacher pokes his nose in all the private places, and yet, the
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though this moved slower than some of the other installments in the Jack Reacher series, I still enjoyed it. I think what I like most is witnessing how Reacher's mind works. He's super quirky (Asperger's?) but super intelligent and always gets the job done. It's always satisfying to see the bad guys get what is coming to them as well. On to the next one!
Aug 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
Holy conspiracy theories, Batman! Did somebody take James Lee Burke and tuck his liberal rants between the covers of a Lee Child novel?

Don't get me wrong - Burke and Child are two of my favorite authors - but the venerable Burke started a fast descent when his politics began to irrationally overpower the gripping atmospheric prose of the Mississippi delta and Dave Robicheaux's hard-hitting tales of southern noir. But if one were to judge Child solely on the basis of "Nothing to Lose", they migh
Jun 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Jack Reacher finds himself between Hope and Despair, actually two cities. Despair is a desolate place where everyone wants to see him out of town. Everything is owned by one man which immediately makes Reacher suspicious. He enlists the aid of a cop in Hope and having a knack for finding trouble, Reacher gets plenty of it. I have always liked Reacher but for some reason this year it seems as though publishers told their writers, "give me a plot involving trashing the government, the military, th ...more
Feb 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-series
Disappointing but effective installment in Child's Jack Reacher series. This but seemed long for a Reacher thriller and might have been strengthed by cutting one of the three main plot strands. I felt that Child made it more confusing than necessary and could have shored up the suspense with tipping his hand a little more. Starts off great, but we've seen some of the same elements in Killing Floor, Die Trying and Echo Burning. But still, nobody does hardcore, bad-ass loner fiction like Child. Th ...more
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent book that takes a bit more of a political stance than I'm used to from Child. Published in 2008, so I guess it's not a surprise there would be some pointed Iraq war commentary in here.

Also a slight annoyance is that you can always tell whether Reacher is going to hook up with the female protagonist depending on how he describes her from Reacher's point of view. It was a bit more obvious in this one than other books.

Still, Child is one of my favourite authors and it's nice to go back
Derrick Stormblessed
Jun 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not as good as some of the others I read
Jan 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
It all began with a false accusation. Reacher is back West, sipping coffee at a diner in Despair, Colorado. He's asked to leave by local police, cited for vagrancy, but the argument is weak at best and Reacher has done nothing but enjoy his caffeinated beverage. Crossing into the next town, aptly named Hope, Reacher tries to decipher what reason the Despair PD could have for wanting him gone and so quickly after he's entered the town limits. When he teams up with Hope's limited police force and ...more
Yeah, we can be sure my Lee Child spree in the Jack Reacher series ends with this one. I was curious to his writing and I'm happy I got to borrow the three books in this series, in order to see what it's all about. The main character doesn't impress me at all, he could very well be the Van Damme of literature, working the same scheme, employing the same tricks, being as static as it's possible, from a developmental point of view. Once in a while, reading this kind of books, I remember why I have ...more
May 13, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery, thriller
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jack-reacher
Taking place on the eastern plains, of the state I reside in.....Jack is doing only what Jack can do. Helping out the locals and kicking A$$. Reacher is good for a little testosterone jolt.
William Lehman
Sep 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
Mr. Child is normally an entertaining enough read, though you usually can't read more than a couple in a row or they start becoming too predictable.

Sadly this isn't his usual work.

It's occasionally obvious that Mr. Child is not "from around these parts" for all variations of that statement. He's British (or was, he may be nationalized now) but his turn of phrase is sometimes slightly off, though it's just once in a great while. It's also sometimes obvious that Mr. Child is not now, nor has he
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add cover & data for Nothing to Lose audio book 3 13 Nov 01, 2018 09:14PM  
Jack Reacher does it again 14 141 Apr 02, 2014 06:02AM  

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Lee Child was born October 29th, 1954 in Coventry, England, but spent his formative years in the nearby city of Birmingham. By coincidence he won a scholarship to the same high school that JRR Tolkien had attended. He went to law school in Sheffield, England, and after part-time work in the theater he joined Granada Television in Manchester for what turned out to be an eighteen-year career as a pr ...more

Other books in the series

Jack Reacher (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • Killing Floor (Jack Reacher, #1)
  • Die Trying (Jack Reacher, #2)
  • Tripwire  (Jack Reacher, #3)
  • Running Blind (Jack Reacher, #4)
  • Echo Burning (Jack Reacher, #5)
  • Without Fail (Jack Reacher, #6)
  • Persuader (Jack Reacher, #7)
  • The Enemy (Jack Reacher, #8)
  • One Shot (Jack Reacher, #9)
  • The Hard Way (Jack Reacher, #10)

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