Worth Dying For


The Bookazine store in the Big C Extra center had a stand featuring Lee Child’s Jack Reacher thrillers.  How could I pass that by?  Worth Dying For (ISBN 978-0-553-82549-7, Bantam Books, 2010) is another 500+ page epic and is actually the one published before The Affair, the Jack Reacher book reviewed a few weeks ago.

To heighten the ‘realism’ there is a CV of Jack Reacher in the beginning of the book, letting you see that he is 6’5″ tall, an expert in small weaponry and even a 37″ inside leg measurement.  From that moment on you have become a fan of the man.

This tale is another in the 16 book Jack Reacher series, with the ex-military policeman able to take on multiple adversaries as always.  And win.  In my last fight I was aged eight and I ran away, so Jack Reacher and I have little in common, but author Lee Child lays out Reacher’s strategy so that even craven cowards (like me) can understand.

This time Jack Reacher is in Nebraska, in a red-neck farming community, and comes across a situation that he feels is morally wrong.  He decides to break his trip to Virginia and assist the local farmers, and this is an explanation of the character of the ‘hard as nails’ Reacher.  He is not afraid, he can kill with his bare hands and yet literally helps little old ladies across the street.

Lee Child is a master story teller and his larger than life hero Jack Reacher is the man we would all like to be.  The thinking man’s bare knuckle pugilist.  The infinite small details give the needed touch of reality to the tale, compelling you to continue reading, just to see what will happen next.

Extremely detailed descriptions are also there to add to the realism.  A simple barn door becomes “…a slider made of great baulks of timber banded together with iron, hung off an iron rail by iron wheels, but the gradual tilt of the building had jammed it solid in its tracks.”

His descriptions of how to use weapons make you think about it yourself.  A heavy hand tool such as a wrench or a hammer “…would have to be swung backwards first, then stopped, then brought forward again.  The first part of the move would be a clear telegraph.  All the warnings in the world.  No surprise.  They might as well put a notice in the newspaper, or send a cable by Western Union.”  I must remember that the first time I am menaced by two 300 kg thugs.

The book is a definite thriller/horror story, and one in which the pace does not let up all the way through.  If anything it becomes even more frenetic as the finale is prepared for.  And the finale is not as you might imagine, but I guarantee will leave you breathless.

Even after reading just one of the Reacher novels, you will be looking for the next one, that is after your heart rate returns to normal.  Just find B. 360 in your wallet and get this one.