Until recently, I was completely uninterested in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child. Oh sure, I would see the books on the Fast Track and New Books displays. I could even bring myself to read the summaries and praise on the book jackets. But nothing ever really compelled me to actually read one until I read this article in Maclean’s recently.
I mean, really? First of all, I completely agree with the Reacher Creatures who are incensed that Tom Cruise might be called upon to play their 6-foot 5-inch hero. But second of all, there are legions of fans out there who are so committed to this character, Jack Reacher, that they call themselves “Reacher Creatures?!” At that moment, I decided that I had to find out what the big deal is.
We have a number of Jack Reacher titles in the digital collection, so I was able to start near to the beginning – with #2, Die Trying. You know me by now, I will not let not starting at the beginning stop me from starting a series. (Whew, that was an exhausting sentence!) So I checked it out, transferred it to my Kobo and got to reading.
The title comes from assurances somewhere mid-book that Reacher will save Holly Johnson, abducted FBI agent, or he will die trying. But who is Jack Reacher, and how did he come to be collateral damage in a federal-level abduction scheme in the first place?
Jack Reacher is a lone wolf, retired Army drifter. With the Military Police until he got out, Reacher has learned basically all he needs to know about protecting himself and others from imminent threat. He also has a courteous streak. It’s this streak that leads him to offer assistance to a woman on a crutch who is trying to make her way out of a dry cleaner’s with nine hangers of clean clothes. Next thing Reacher and the woman know, they are surrounded by armed men and forced into a car. And with that inauspicious start, Jack Reacher gets to know Holly Johnson. Johnson is a newly-minted FBI agent, specializing in high-end corporate crime. but she is also much more than that.
If Reacher is to save them both from the clutches of the the madman that nabbed them both, he is going to have to pry as much information as he can out of the recalcitrant FBI’er. And he is going to have to draw on every single iota of what he learned in his military career.
I will be the first to admit that the plot of Die Trying hangs together pretty loosely. But it hangs on the strength of Jack Reacher and his ability to be infinitely compelling. There might be unanswered questions and insufficient explanations, but none of them is enough to turn me off from reading more! Now, to go pick up Killing Floor and get this party started right – from the beginning!