Kathy Davie's Reviews > Die Trying

Die Trying by Lee Child
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's review
May 21, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: thriller

Fifth in the Jack Reacher thriller series about a retired major taking the time to tour America.

My Take
Omigod, Beau is a nutjob! The joy he takes in killing people. And the horrible ways he devises to do it…!

I love "listening" to Reacher deduce. His assessment as to the professionalism (or not) of the kidnappers, his skill with numbers and weaponry, his use of psychology to soften them up, the tactics he uses to learn more about this group of whackos and to free Holly… Then there's Holly's determination to free herself. I do like a woman who doesn't just sit back and whine!

Child creates some realistic characters with some crazy situations with just the right amount of dramatic tension. Combining this with the "lone ranger" who wraps it all up, is under suspicion, and then moves on to the next town before the accolades can fall.

I feel sorry for Loder, except he already knew the jerk he worked for. From childhood.

How could the FBI miss the paint and roller?? It's right there where they found the burned-out car and they don't search the area for clues?? Then Jack going back to that little shack to take Ray's gun?? Duh… He's been reasonably smart and then...this?? Hmmm, interesting technique to avoid brainwashing…

The Story
A walk down the street, a woman with a cane who needs help with her drycleaning and she and Jack Reacher are suddenly kidnapped and driven hundreds of miles suffering extreme discomfort, a soupçon of torture, and really lousy meals. Only to end up in a militia camp in Montana. It's a toss-up as to who will protect who and both Jack and Holly are determined to not give in.

When Special Agent Johnson fails to show up for her meeting, circumstances require that the agency downplay her disappearance and only three agents set out on the trail.

It's simply another right-wing militia hiding out in rough country and planning to take over the country. Borken has an off-the-wall philosophy about why his father went bankrupt and he uses bits and pieces of political philosophy and his own interpretations to create purpose for his own private army. He's also a psychopath with a deep need to hurt people — hey, it works well for keeping people in line.

And somehow, Jack Reacher manages to elude his execution day after day.

The Characters
Jack Reacher has been out of the army for 14 months now, just drifting along seeing America on foot. A former major with a boxful of ribbons. Somehow, he keeps getting caught up in dangerous situations.

FBI Special Agent Holly Johnson has way too many secrets under her skin. And escape is hampered by her damaged knee. Fellow agents include Milosevic, Section Head Brogan, and Agent-in-Charge McGrath. Young Jackson is the mole inserted into the Montana Militia.

FBI Director Harland Webster interfaces with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Johnson, White House Chief of Staff Dexter, and the President. General Garber was Jack's CO for years.

The kidnappers are Loder, Little Stevie, and Peter Wayne Bell. All are eventually connected to Beau Borken, the son of a bankrupt orange farmer. Dell Fowler is chief of staff. Joseph Ray was assigned to guard Reacher, until Jack used his Jedi mind tricks on him.

The Title
The title is exactly what Jack Reacher intends to do, Die Trying to save FBI Special Agent Johnson.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
April 23, 2012 – Finished Reading
May 21, 2012 – Shelved
January 24, 2017 – Shelved as: thriller

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