I can't help myself. The Jack Reacher series by Lee Child is candy floss for the brain and whilst trying to juggle the demands of the Christmas holidays, I find his stories irresistible. They are like breath mints in between courses of heavier literary duty.
I read 3 in the series in December, 61 Hours, Worth Dying For, and The Affair, which are number 14, 15, and 16 respectively. They take little more than a day to power through. Similar to John Grisham books, the plots are very similar in every book, as are the characters.
Jack Reacher is an ex-military, hottie nomad who travels the United States of America, usually by bus but sometimes by hitchhiking or stealing cars. He most likely seduces the one beautiful woman in the story. He always kicks the shit out of the baddies to save the small town/helpless locals from some rampant corruption.
There are no surprises. You always know how it is going to end. The locations change and I do love the fact that Lee Child is a Brit from Coventry, UK but has probably travelled to and stayed for a time in all 50 states just to get the local dialect and culture just right.
He's not going to win any prizes for high brow literature but I don't care. They are fun. They make me believe that some stranger is out there fighting to take out the baddies without a care for the justice system or unrestrained violence. Of course, I wouldn't want my real world to be like this but a fantasy is always useful.
SIDE NOTE: Tom Cruise has been woefully miscast in the role of Jack Reacher. No, I haven't seen the film and I doubt that I will for several reasons:
- Reacher is 6'5". Cruise is 5'7" in heels.
- Reacher has a 50-inch chest and weighs between 210 and 250 pounds (100–115 kg). Cruise does not. Not even close.
- Reacher has ice-blue eyes and dirty blond hair. Cruise does not.
- Reacher has very little body fat, and his muscular physique is completely natural. He is exceptionally strong but is not a good runner. Reacher is strong enough to break a man's neck with one hand and kill a villain with a single punch to the head or chest. In a fight against a 7 foot, 400 lb steroid-using thug, Reacher was able to lift his opponent into the air and drop him on his head. Cruise does not and cannot not. Not even with Hollywood magic.
- Reacher is supposed to be ruggedly good looking. Cruise looks like a baby.
- Reacher is supposed to have been emotionally and physically scarred by his time as an MP in the US Army. Cruise hasn't had a day of hard graft in his life and no amount of makeup is going to make him look like he has.
- There are a million other better casting choices. OK, maybe not a million but I can name a few here: a) Ray Stevenson, b)Viggo Mortenson - my personal favourite, c) Russell Crowe, d) Josh Holloway. I should become a casting agent.
Instead I will let Reacher live on in my imagination. And let the world be a better place with Reacher in it. However, Child's betrayal of millions of fans who have spent roughly £7.99 on each of the 16 installments, and thus, making him a very rich man, will not be tolerated by this fan. I will not buy another book by Lee Child. I will do my best to avoid his pseudonyms. My love affair with Jack Reacher is over. Finished. Finito. Done. Complete. The End.