Saturday, June 30, 2012
Jack Reacher: Kicking the Crap out of People so We Don't Have To
I have drunk the Kool-Aid. Everything everyone says about Lee Child is true. He is simply the best in the biz--the Jimi Hendrix of thriller writers.
I recently had the pleasure of listening to the audiobook of Bad Luck and Trouble, the 11th novel in the Reacher series. The book begins with a man named Franz getting hurled out of a helicopter at the behest of another man who keeps compulsively tamping down his necktie so it won't blow around in the wind. What a genius way to start off; I can't imagine any reader with a pulse not wanting to see things through to the end after that. It quickly comes to light that Franz was very close with Jack Reacher, Childs' modern take on the masterless samurai archetype and one of the toughest characters to ever make his home on the printed page. We, the readers (or in my case, listeners) spend the rest of the story feverishly contemplating the nature and scope of whup-ass that is to be unleashed upon the ignorant fools who dared mess with Reacher's crew. This is pure, unadulterated revenge porn; bloodlust between two book covers; so, so wrong; so debased and unenlightened; so visceral. And so absolutely fantastic. It's a testament to Childs' considerable literary talent that, despite the fact that Reacher is described as a big, brutal giant with few redeeming social graces, the character draws as many female readers as male ones. I urge anyone and everyone to gobble these books up before the imminent Tom Cruise movie destroys this glorious world Lee Child has so brilliantly imagined for us.