Lyn's Reviews > Die Trying

Die Trying by Lee Child
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Ex-military MP drifter Jack Reacher gets into trouble again and fights, kicks, breaks and shoots his way out.

So this is the way its going to be … and that’s cool. Lee Child is keeping the plot and credibility fast and easy and choosing the formula that works: hero gets in trouble, fights the bad guys and kicks ass. There could be a pretty woman needing saving along the way and of course she’s going to be attracted to our man.

This time around Reacher is at the wrong place at the wrong time (and I’m guessing this will be a ubiquitous narrative device moving forward) and gets mixed up in some domestic terrorist assholery that also involves high levels of government. There’s plenty of fists and lead flying, blood and gore and big explosions.

Sort of reminded me of John D. MacDonald’s 1979 Travis McGee novel The Green Ripper, and there are similarities between Reacher and McGee, but obliquely and MacDonald is the more thoughtful writer. While Child has Reacher making some astute social and cultural observations, this is nowhere near the level of subtly intellectual commentary MacDonald was able to pull off.

There’s also plenty of writing surrounding marksmanship and Child does some nifty work describing the ballistics in a technical fashion that is fun to read.

What I like most about the Reacher storyline is that (and stay with me here) is it reminds me of one of my all-time favorite TV shows: Kung Fu.

OK, OK, I know what you’re saying, WHAT IN THE HELL??? does Jack Reacher have in common with Kwai Chang Caine???

Besides that they are both drifters? And they both find adventure and kick ass and fight bad guys and solve problems and invariably save the day and then keep drifting into the sunset? Both keep an intractable cool, stay above the fray with a calm, measured, disciplined stoicism. Reacher has an almost Zen like ability to stay in the moment and be situationally aware. While this is certainly due to his life in the military and his extensive training, was that background so different from Caine’s exhaustive and isolated training as a Shaolin monk? Are they not both deliberate outsiders who earn respect with their courage, fighting prowess and extraordinary ability?

Just saying.

So this was another good book, Reacher is a way cool tough guy and charismatic protagonist and this is a very entertaining series.

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Reading Progress

March 20, 2018 – Started Reading
March 20, 2018 – Shelved
March 25, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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message 1: by carol. (new)

carol. This is the closest I've ever come to wanting to read Travis McGee. Nice review.

message 2: by Lyn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lyn They are all more or less stand alone and I would recommend The Green Ripper as a good place to start, and thanks

message 3: by Diane (new)

Diane Wallace Good review, Lyn!

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

Lyn Thanks Diane

message 5: by Igor (new)

Igor Ljubuncic Nice review, Dude.

message 6: by Lyn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lyn Thanks Igor

message 7: by Jim (last edited Mar 27, 2018 10:02AM) (new) - added it

Jim The closest I've come lately to Kung Fu the series is a passing mention in Office Space and the closing scenes of Kill Bill - Vol 2.

(and who wouldn't want to watch Kung Fu with Jennifer Aniston?)

The Caine/Reacher comparison is apt - notwithstanding that Caine is unconcerned with firearms and detective work. Lee Child could take a lesson and do more Reacher military-training, early career novels.

This time around Reacher is at the wrong place at the wrong time (and I’m guessing this will be a ubiquitous narrative device moving forward)

A few other Reacher novels are not quite that formulaic. At least once (twice?) post-mustering-out Reacher is "found" by Frances Neagley - who is a wiry-tough ex-MP whom Reacher commanded - and who is better than him at spycraft and shoots about as well at close-quarters.

A few, set during active-military-days, finds Reacher on a mission. I think all of the above are squarely in the top half


Bad Luck and Trouble

Without Fail


The Affair

The Enemy

message 8: by Lyn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lyn Wow! thanks for the comment Jim, I'll be reading more from him

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