Book Review – #1

I don’t know if my lazy, forgetful ass will get around to doing the occasional book review, but if it does, I’ve started off correctly numbered.  Actually, this blogging thing is cutting into my reading time.  Here it is, the first week of March, and I’ve only read ten books so far this year.  Sparklebumps did a post about some of the books she read last year.  I didn’t keep a list, but I’ve started one for this year.  If the blog and I are still around after New Years, I’ll give you a glimpse of the drivel I read.

With the release of a Jack Reacher movie, I became aware of the series of books.  I decided that I’d like to start with book number one, and work my way up through the character development.  The good Scottish lad could buy one at a bookstore – or just check to see what’s free at the library.  There are several copies available, including a large-print version at the nearest branch.  I put in a reservation for it.  The large print is easier for the old eyes, and there are only 5 people ahead of me in line, instead of 27 for the paperback version.

After a bit over a month, I got notified that I could pick it up.  I waited a day, till I finished a book the son took out, in a different series.  I got the Reacher novel home and flipped to the end.  This thing is a tome, 700 pages!  Then I flipped to the front.  Oh yeah, LARGE PRINT.  Forgot that.  There’s about four words to the page, no wonder I knocked off 165 pages the first evening.  After two days of reading, it occurred to me that I should be thinking about reserving the next in the series.  Another large-print version, but this one has 8 people waiting.  I have a shelf of other books to keep me busy till it shows up.

The Author – Lee Child

The Book – Killing Floor

The Review

This is Child’s first book.  I anticipate the quality will improve as the series develops.  It’s an action/adventure story, mostly for men, quite similar to a couple of other series I’m reading.

The protagonist, Jack Reacher, is the accepted type of anti-hero currently popular.  He’s been in the American Army for 13 years and lists almost that many base postings around the world.  Perhaps he hasn’t fit in.  He has received extra training, and been assigned as Army Policeman, bringing in the drunks and AWOLs and other bad guys.

Financial cuts have redundancy-ed him out of the Army with a severance package large enough to wander the U.S. for six months, seeing the sights and wondering what to do with the rest of his life.

The number of Maguffin coincidences Child uses to get him to the start of the story is considerable.  He travelled down the Midwest, from Chicago to New Orleans.  On a whim he decided to explore some of Florida.  On another whim, he decided to visit Atlanta.  A last-second, spur-of-the-moment decision had him persuade an Express-bus driver to let him out at an interstate exchange, so that he can research some Negro jazz-man, 60 years dead.  He walked 14 miles to the small town, passing within 50 feet of two dead bodies, one of which he is immediately accused of killing, because he’s the stranger in town.

The Deus Ex Machina arrives a little early, when he finds that the stiff is his only brother, who he hasn’t seen or talked to in 7 years.

There’s an immediate love-interest, or is it just sex-interest?  He won’t be staying.  He’s in town two days, and already sleeping with the only female police officer, who gets him an illegal gun and access to restricted files.

Child describes the psychology of violence well, hit early, hit hard, live to hit another day.  The fights are well presented, both physically, and within the social structure inside a prison.

While now emigrated, and safely ensconced in New York City, the author was born and raised in England, a country not known for its experience with, or exposure to firearms.  He sadly fails the gun-nuts among his readers, by having a victim killed by being shot twice in the head by a .22 caliber handgun.  He describes the slugs penetrating the skull, something these underpowered little shells often fail to do, and then graphically but incorrectly describes them “bursting from the other side, in an eruption of bone and brain.”  I wait to see how much he learns about guns in future books.

While no Sherlock Holmes, Jack Reacher is shown to have the deductive ability be able to think through the alternatives, sometimes a little after the fact, but able to regain the initiative.

This is not War And Peace, or A Tale Of Two Cities, but it is a good solid story, capable of holding your interest.  The plot is predictable, but with enough little quirks to lead you forward.  The characters are well described, with their strengths and foibles. Suspension of disbelief is not difficult.  Word usage is good, with very little vernacular.  A few eight-dollar words are thrown in, but easily deciphered from context.

I would recommend this book for anyone with the time and interest in this genre.  I hope that the second, and subsequent books, tighten up and flesh out a bit.  This one is good entertainment without requiring too much deep thinking.  If you put a bit in, and get a little extra out, it’s a bonus.

 

 

Advertisements

18 thoughts on “Book Review – #1

  1. Jim Wheeler says:

    I’m envious, you’ve got some good reading ahead. The Jack Reacher series is one of the few fiction trails I have left. I gobble them as soon as available, but unfortunately I find no pleasure in re-reading them. I think the most interesting aspect of the protagonist is being inside the brain of a bright and honest and even at times naive character who invariably wins.

    Like

    • Archon's Den says:

      Did you read the Mike Hammer, Shell Scott, or Travis Magee series, back in the day? Only the first one read so far, but it reminded me of all of those. Not “Great” literature, but fun. I very seldom reread any book. I’ve got too many ahead of me. Apparently “Lee Child”‘s real name is Jim Grant. 🙂

      Like

      • Jim Wheeler says:

        I was a huge Travis Magee fan. Strange to say I actually still have many of the paperbacks still in my bookcase – I just looked. The pages are quite yellow but I never had the heart to chuck ’em. 😉

        Like

  2. I loved your first line! I think you should write a book.

    Like

    • Archon's Den says:

      Why thank you kind lady. I’ve got a lot of good lines. They’re just spread out over such a wide area, that if I brought them together as a book, they’d make no sense. It would read like Jabberwocky. 😕

      Like

  3. Sightsnbytes says:

    I’ve been reading Reacher for a few years now, good ‘guy’ reading. I was horrified to find that they chose Tom Cruise to play the guy. You may also like the Repairman Jack series, by F. Paul Wilson. its like Reacher with a twist. Enjoy your journey through the adventure!

    Like

    • Archon's Den says:

      Haven’t seen the movie. I’m told that Cruise conveys menace without the size, but I don’t see him tucking a woman under each arm to save them from a fire, as Reacher did in Killing Floor. Thanx for the Repairman Jack suggestion. I must research that series. Maybe I’ll just be too busy reading, to pass away. 😛

      Like

  4. Smaktakula says:

    I’ve never read Lee Child, although my father-in-law swears by him. 10 books this year? Jeez. I am reading a book I started in 2012. In fairness, I listen to most of my books. Given that, I’ve “read” about a dozen so far.

    Like

    • Archon's Den says:

      My first *like* for this post was a young lady who’s aiming at 83 books – AND posted book-reviews this year. She’s gotta hustle. She’s only at nine so far. For absorbing good (and not-so-good) literature, listening counts as much as reading. Twelve so far this year is a good total. Might I ask why audio-books over print?

      Like

      • Smaktakula says:

        That’s a great question, and there are a bunch of answers, really. But I guess it boils down to ease & convenience. I enjoy reading, but I have a hard time making myself do it, unless I’m confined (e.g., on some form of public transportation). I can listen to books while I do just about any menial task or exercise. It’s no exaggeration to say that audiobooks have been life-changing for me.
        However, I recognize the unfortunate truth that with audiobooks, unless read by the author (and author’s don’t always make the best readers), there’s another barrier between you and the original work. I’ve heard narrators who didn’t understand what they were reading, and it detracts from the work. Fortunately, there are a lot of talented voice professionals out there.

        Like

      • Archon's Den says:

        I have to concentrate when I read, and usually do it in silence. If the wife talks about shopping or tomorrow’s dinner, I have to go back and reread the paragraph. I don’t think I could perform tasks and give an audio book its due attention. I agree on meaning-slip from readers. I often hear TV ads that get twisted because the voice-over accented the wrong syllable, or word.

        Like

  5. Matter of fact, .22s are a favourite of mob hitmen. The bullet does go into the skull (when the muzzle is pressed against the skull), but doesn’t come back out, instead ricocheting around to scramble the grey matter. The idea of a mob execution with a 9mm or .45cal is a complete fabrication.
    And I learned that from TV! (I knew about the calibre being a favourite, just never why until several years ago.) ‘Course, I always preferred an aluminum (sorry, aluminium) baseball bat, a couple bags of ready-mix concrete, and a 1am Lake Michigan boat ride, personally. Not that I’ve ever DONE anything like that – that they’ve convicted me on…. 😉

    Like

    • Archon's Den says:

      You and Rants and I would form a nasty corporation. I’m also very up on why and how of .22s for execution. Pick a soft spot, temple, ear, eye, nose, mouth or neck nape. Skin-touch range for bone, long-rifle shells. The book didn’t show a knowledgable assassination, just a redneck murder. Stay with aluminum. Most Canadians can spell. It’s just French and Brit who can’t read a telegram. 😮

      Like

      • Hey, if it weren’t for aluminium and conTROversies, there’d be nothing special about the BBC News. Well, except for Aaron Heslehurst actually conveying USEFUL business information, but that’s an Aussie of a different colour. 😉

        Like

  6. benzeknees says:

    You & I think a lot alike because I was thinking the same thing about starting to read this series since there is a movie being released about it. It sounds like a lot of stretching at the beginning to get things in line. Will have to give it a go when I have time. Thanks for the review!

    Like

    • Archon's Den says:

      If you read a lot, there’s almost 20 books in the series. I guess to have him arrive in a small Georgia town, just in time for his brother’s murder, there’s got to be a lot of back-story. It will probably carry forward to subsequent books.

      Like

  7. whiteladyinthehood says:

    I’ve not read this series. I did buy my older brother one of these books for a Christmas gift (I think it was the one Cruise made into a movie)…I love.love.love to read! I’ve read 6 books on the Kindle and have started a paperback (gotta have my real page turner) in the last few months.

    Like

    • Archon's Den says:

      I’ve read several books on the son’s Sony reader. He’s since upgraded to a Kobo. They’re nice for a trip, where you have a hundred books in the space and weight of one paperback, but I still like the page-turning tactile of print too.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s