29 1 min 9 yrs

I am a fan of Lee Child, and of his enormously successful books starring the 6 foot 5-inch-tall hero Jack Reacher. A foreshortened synopsis of this giant of a man would be to imagine a terrifyingly-fast, instinctive bruiser with reaction times like a Cray computer, the moral outlook of a John Wayne, and of a loner who steps willingly into the path of the bad guys!

I have just completed reading the book pictured, and it lives up to everything I have come to expect from this master writer; I only wish I was anywhere near as successful as he!

So what do ATW readers, or at least the ones who are familiar with the ‘Jack Reacher’ novels, think of the rather strange casting, in the forthcoming film of ‘One Shot’, of  Tom Cruise as the hulking ex-Military M.P.?

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29 thoughts on “Wrong end of the telescope?

  1. Nota bene: anyone who spoils a plot or gives away too much info will be risking injury.

    I picked up “Killing Floor”, the first of the Jack Reacher series, at the weekend. If I like it I’ll have months of reading. If not I’ll give it to a charity shop.

    I hate having plots spoiled.

    Oh, and Tom Cruise – no, never, not in anything. (And isn’t Reacher supposed to be a big man anyway?)

  2. I have read nearly all of Lee Child’s books. I think they’re brilliant, well written and exciting.Reacher is a pretty well drawn character, intelligent and logical and not to be trifled with!
    If you like him you might enjoy Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp series. I think it starts with American Assassin and again has very well developed key characters, but whereas Jack is portrayed as basically a loner, Mitch is a lethal US special agent who works as part of a team, is married and struggles to balance his action packed worklife with a wife who loves him and worries! Again some fantastic plots and really well done.

    My third (equal) favourite is Daniel Silva whose art restoring Mossad agent Gabriel Allon was based on one of the agents tasked with hunting down Black September.
    On balance I think Silva draws his key characters with even greater sensitivity, and the hero is less macho, more introspective but utterly deadly when he’s hunting. He also gets physically hurt and things go wrong too; which I think adds to the realism!

    I also enjoy novels about the Roman Empire and the Legionaries. Harry Sidebottom is good.

  3. Agit8ed –

    I haven’t read any of Harry Sidebottom’s novels, but the problem I have with some Roman books is when they don’t accord with facts as they were. If you want some rip-roaring legionary action which is faithful to history as it happened the I recommend Simon Scarrow’s “Eagle” series.

    And for life, death, politics and great whodunnits in Republican Rome, there’s nothing to beat Steven Saylor’s “Roma Sub Rosa” books.

  4. (And isn’t Reacher supposed to be a big man anyway?)

    Indeed he is, infact the clue is in the name. When Child’s was out of work after he was elbowed out of his job in the media he went with his wife to the supermarket and found that lots of women were asking him o reach something down for him, because he is quite a tall fellow himself, hence ‘Reacher’ was born. He gave a talk in Belfast after being invited here by ‘no alibi’s bookstore, think his father is from here.

    I agree with Agi that Silva is better think mainly because he has an international aspect to his books whereas Reacher depends upon his ex military MP and deals with stuff inside America, but for a British guy living in NY he tends to ignore much of the world outside of the states.

    If you are looking for a good read Brad Thor is excellent for this genre…was disappointed in Child’s 61 hours…very dull.

  5. Pete,
    Yup. I like his stuff too. Doesn’t he write about Ballista? the barbarian (German) Roman.
    Does lots of campaigns with a faithful friend??
    Anyway, (my short term memory is going on the blink again!)very enjoyable stuff.
    Another guy I have recently discovered is Richard Blake. Just finished his “The Sword of Damascus” and earlier “The Terror of Constantinople”. Take longer for me to read as they are slower paced, but reasonably enjoyable. When I find an author I like, I tend to try and read as many as I can lay my hands on. That’s probably why I rate those three authors I mentioned, because they are able to produce stories with enough difference and variety that they don’t get “samey”.

    Do I take it you’re now experiencing the pleasures of being smaller?

  6. Kateyo,
    I agree 61 hours wasn’t one of his best; but there is something about Jack Reacher that we somehow identify with. I do anyway. Perhaps his solitary reflective nature, his logical mind? Vince Flynn is worth a try!

  7. Agit8ed –

    A Ballista was a Roman catapult. The first novel was set Germania, but names escape me now. The only German/Roman leader I can think of was Arminius, but he lived half a century earlier. Yes, Cato and Macro are the faithful friends.

    Another guy I have recently discovered is Richard Blake. Just finished his “The Sword of Damascus” and earlier “The Terror of Constantinople”. Take longer for me to read as they are slower paced, but reasonably enjoyable.

    That’s interesting, I’ve been meaning to check out that series. In real life, “Richard Blake” is Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance and one of Britain’s more astute thinkers.

  8. Pete,
    I’m pretty sure his name was Ballista though.. Yes it was. I just googled it. He was pretty good at siting those catapults!

  9. I have read all the Reacher books and they are good fun. Child, Coben and Connolly are my three top thriller writers. Any other recomendations?

  10. Thrillers?

    If you’re into their kind of thing (which I am, luckily), you have to go a long way to beat Frederick Forsyth, Jack Higgins and Robert Ludlum.

  11. Henry94,
    I agree with Pete, Forsyth and Ludlum. But I didn’t enjoy Higgins. If you like US marine/ Special Ops/sea type action, Patrick Robinson does some good stuff.
    “Seawolf” “Kilo Class” “HMS Unseen” are IMO good reads. I like the fact that he explains terms and acronyms.
    If you like crime Jeffrey Deaver is again in my view hard to beat. Very well constructed stories. Lots of twists, well drawn believable characters.
    I don’t know what it is, but I don’t much care for British military action stuff like Andy McNab’s stuff. I admire them, but I find that they don’t draw their characters with much complexity. Too military and matter of fact for me.
    I read a lot of hidden mystery/riddles/ancient manuscript type stories, but there are so many authors in that genre.

  12. Agi

    No still taller but as I am 44 the dreaded middle age shrink will begin!

    plus diabetes is playing hell with my feet so I might start getting shorter, literally 1 foot at a time

  13. Sorry to hear you have diabetes. My sister had type 2, but from my observations diabetes can really cause problems with the healing process?

    I started to spread at 49. I actually still had a 30″ waist then, weighed 10.5 stones and was as handsome as Cary Grant! 😉

    Don’t know what you can do about the diabetes. I suppose you trawl the help websites? I do for the asthma COPD. Sometimes helpful.
    I offer you my sympathy and respect.

  14. ‘Child, Coben and Connolly are my three top thriller writers. Any other recomendations?

    is that michael connelly? loved the harry bosch series, met connelly when he came to belfast via ni alibis book store. Not so fond of his new character in the lincoln lawyer, but for a good read try lawrence block, he has a big NY/Irish connection. One of his best is a walk among the tombstones, and ‘all the flowers are dying’ from his matthew scudder series. Just finished his latest ‘a drop of the hard stuff’ not much action but the story is supberb.

    The kite runner is excellent for a brilliant plot, but the movie of it was rubbish.

  15. “Wheezer Geezer.”

    You’ve heard me before I reached the corner and dodged me. THAT’s why we’ve never met.
    AND I use a silencer in polite company :).

    BTW Did you see my further explanation re Downton Abbey? I saw your last comment and wrote back.
    I thought it was a rather good answer actually.
    The Breast of Britain I think.

  16. Agi

    Meh most of my problems have been self inflicted so no sympathy, plus I never wanted to live forever, just hoped for a swift end instead of a creeping one.

    But if any one else out there, now that we are getting older, if your feet begin to tingle a lot and you get a lot of foot cramps go for a diabetes test. I would have been a lot better off it my diagnosis had been done 3 years earlier and I wasn’t a stubborn fool

  17. I’m not generally a fan of this type of book, but I might try a few of the suggestions mentioned.

    As for my own personal reading;

    The Shardlake series, by C.J. Sansom is superb. Set during the reign of Henry VIII, and featuring Matthew Shardlake, a hunchback lawyer. Absolutely brilliant.

    The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick de Witt was very good too. A Western, which was shortlisted for (I think) the Booker Prize last year.

    The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, is still one of the best books I’ve read in the past few years.

    And, any of the following books by Robert McCammon:

    Mystery Walk
    Boy’s Life
    The Wolf’s Hour
    Swan Song

  18. While I haven’t read A Wanted Man I have no hesitation in declaring Lee Child to be a rubbish writer. The books I have read have all been – without exception – overlong, implausible, repetitive and tedious.
    Don’t believe the hype!

  19. Half-Mexican, half-English – now living in the Yucatan having fled the UK in disgust at the way it was going. I’ve been reading the site for years but haven’t posted for ages. My politics are very similar to Mr Moore’s.

  20. Emerald,
    EVERYBODY deserves sympathy, even if their condition was partly life style choices (but I’m not sure I would include drug addiction in that).
    The thing is that when we are young we feel invincible. You don’t wreck your body overnight. It takes time and serious commitment.
    For example though I had severe eczema at three weeks old which disappeared at 16 to be replaced by asthma, I started smoking at 17 and didn’t stop ’til 22 and I smoked heavy. Your body is a wonderful thing (Especially mine, Mmm Hmmm!) but it can only take so much.
    So please allow me to express sympathy and you keep on looking for things/life style /dietary changes that might help.
    Keep gripping your perch son; we need all the commentators we can get on ATW… 😉

  21. Mexicano
    While I haven’t read A Wanted Man I have no hesitation in declaring Lee Child to be a rubbish writer.”

    Sez you! It’s more a matter of taste. If you like that kind of stuff you like it. I still read books from childhood days. “John Halifax, Gentleman” by Mrs Craik. A real old fashioned Victorian classic, but influential in shaping my values. Richmal Crompton, Robert Louis Stevenson, HG Wells, CS Lewis. It’s individual taste, so I have no hestitation in declaring your opinion rubbish.
    ” My politics are very similar to Mr Moore’s.”

    Well he ain’t going to like that! Pete thinks he’s unique….
    Welcome to the madhouse! 🙂

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