OK, I confess, I’ve been on a mindless thriller spree. Somewhere over the winter my brain cells were washed out and I reverted to numbing narratives that quickly resolved and required little expenditure in terms of commitment of an intellectual type.
Lee Child was my drug of choice this time and I fully immersed myself in the trials and travails of Jack Reacher: tall, dark and clearly mysterious. To satisfy my desire for order, I decided to start with the first in the Reacher series – although one can just dive in anywhere. Killing Floor introduces Reacher and provides some basic background. It sets him up as a wonderfully complex character with a need for anonymity and a desire to avoid all sorts of commitment and responsibility. Reacher is a wanderer, aimlessly traversing the American continent and experiencing life on the fly. I found this aspect of his character fascinating and quite enjoyed how Child dealt with it as I read more of the books.
Die Trying and Tripwire were equally intriguing and wonderfully different. Reacher maintains his homelessness and finds himself in all sorts of strange situations, meeting a wide range of people. He is a problem solver, a military genius and despite his distaste for anything that involves long term commitment, he is, ironically, committed to the truth and to justice.
Running Blind introduced a gender issue into Child’s writing and this made for some interesting observations in the context of military life. The same theme was continued in Echo Burning, although this time in a non-military paradigm. I didn’t find Child’s females particularly stereotyped and this made for pleasant reading.
Without Fail was a good enough read, but I thought that Persuader was excellent. It is the 7th of the Reacher books and although I found some details repetitive, this novel certainly picked up the pace when it came to the plot and the unfolding of the ‘thriller’ aspect of the story.
Other books that I read as a part of this brainless exercise were The Enemy, One Shot, and The Hard Way. I still have 6 Reacher books to read, but my brain seems to have rejoined the land of the living, so I will leave them until I next need a vacation!