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Die Trying (A Jack Reacher Novel) Hardcover – Large Print, September 15, 2010
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- Publisher : Thorndike Press; Large Print ed. edition (September 15, 2010)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 677 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1410429385
- ISBN-13 : 978-1410429384
- Item Weight : 1.58 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.7 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #594,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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In “Die Trying” which is the second book in this long running series we pick up with Jack Reacher the highly decorated former army Military Police major who has voluntarily separated from the service and essentially has become a rootless drifter. He gets caught up in a kidnapping of a woman picking up her dry cleaning on a busy city street and is abducted as well.
Wrong place, wrong time Reacher now has to use his considerable skills to try to get them out alive. Who is the woman, why was she taken? More is revealed when they arrive at their destination in a remote Montana camp and they discover that they’re prisoners of a deranged militia leader and his devoted army of followers. It doesn’t sound very promising but in Child’s hands the 500+ pages fly by and the cliché “can’t put it down” definitely applies.
Some of the plot’s more than a bit farfetched but you really get sucked in. Child does make a few technical errors when describing firearms which are surprising given his detailed descriptions of ballistics and the physics of how ammunition works. For instance early on when the couple are kidnapped one of the bad guys points a Glock 17 pistol at him. We than learn Reacher is very familiar with the Glock since while on active duty he was supposedly part of the evaluation team for the Army in selecting a new handgun. First he repeatedly calls semi-automatic pistols “automatics” which is a common mistake authors make. Then he mentions the Glock having the safety off which is wrong as the Glock has no external safety mechanism to be switched off or on. Later on when describing a Barrett Model 90 sniper rifle Child says it is a “50-inch” when he means .50 caliber. A battleship has a 16 inch gun so a 50 inch gun would be really a handful, even for a stud like Reacher.
Nitpicking aside “Die Trying” is a great read; 4.5 stars and highly recommended. I just picked up another 5 more and will read the entire series.
Die Trying is proof that the series does get better. At least I hope it gets better after this. While this book advances the Jack Reacher character and Lee Child demonstrates a lot more depth as an author, ultimately I just gave up 3/4 of the way through the book as the implausible just became laughable. The villains are treated as masterminds, outwitting authorities and Reacher at every turn and while each new twist and turn is supposed to keep you guessing and on edge, it feels like it's more an attempt to fill pages.
There are some moments when this book shines. Jack Reacher battling claustrophobia was written so well that I even found my own heart beating rapidly imagining the moment myself. The rest was mostly engaging until the absurdity became too much.
I don't want to give away too much. If you still want to read the book, stop here. If you want to save a few bucks and start later in the series, I will let you know what you missed with the following:
WARNING: SPOILER ALERTS
So, our two protagonists have just buried a body and are tired, desperate, seemingly without hope, and...horny? Yes, apparently in some "how to be an author" handbook on Lee Child's shelf, you try to work in at least one sexual encounter no matter the situation. It comes up at such a bizarre time and without any precursor that I was wondering if Mr. Child's adolescent son snuck in to write this page and neither the author nor the editor caught the passage.
The militant group seeking to break off and declare independence from the United States has stolen four truckloads of stinger missiles, killing the 20 National Guardsman transporting them and the response (military, federal, or local law enforcement) is....nothing. A small group within the military and FBI is defying presidential orders by ordering its own half-baked rescue/assault effort, which is out-maneuvered at every turn by the crafty separatists.
It's pretty common to make the conventional heroes (military, police, etc.) ineffective in one way or another so the novel's hero rise is even more substantial. In this story, the military and FBI do nothing because, well, just because. The already weak story line that the separatists represent a large enough percentage of the population that a military response would unite that segment is coupled with a "what's the worse that could happen" mentality. Okay. I kind of bought into that until they stole stinger missiles and held a small group of marines hostage...and a General and FBI guy...and everybody just sort of acquiesced like, "what else can we do?"
Reacher is caught and re-caught in so many instances, I was almost thinking this might be some obscure Army training that dictates when you're not sure what to do, surrender so you have some time to think. Fortunately, there are enough characters with limited intelligence that he will easily be able to escape once again.
I don't mind admitting that I've read literally hundreds of books since I got a Kindle-mainly because living in the Czech Republic does limit the choice available in English language .I've got plenty of favourites and Lee Child's books are near the top of my ' to buy' list. Cost does come into the equation-sometimes one has to wait for the cost to subside. This was around eight dollars-ok by me. It's quite a lengthy read, so value for pleasure!
Top reviews from other countries
I read a lot of whodunits and crime stories, so I thought I'd like the Jack Reacher stuff (only very recently picked up on it)
I had to push myself to get through book 1. Even so, I thought there was a lot to like about the story telling. It was quite gripping stuff, so I thought I'd try book 2 to see if Lee Child had got certain stuff out of his system and could now settle down to utilise his obvious story telling skills.
But apparently not.
Mr Childs' has a compulsion to go in for macho BS - in my opinion.
And as a Brit, he has clearly embraced the American gun culture, because he is obsessed with the things. I don't mind them being part of the story, but they become the story at times. Not pleasant.
This second book had at its core a storyline that was worth following - but - it was overlaid with even more of the macho BS than book 1.
Also, in my view, the plot development contained too many flaws, too many times when I was shouting in my head - why did he do that? or why didn't he do this?
I nearly gave up on it, but that's a bad thing to do with any book once you're a certain way in, so I kept going. Honestly, I was glad to get to the end - for the wrong reasons.
I doubt I'll read another one - trouble is, I've already purchased a signed copy of his book 23!
Sorry Mr Childs' - I guess I'm just not the right demographic. The gun worship is just too much - and don't get me wrong; my father was a gamekeeper and I've used guns and I'm a reasonable shot, but . . . .
Descriptions a page or two long of how a bullet is discharged from a rile and waffle about the gasses emitted and the speed the bullet goes. WHO CARES! Cut to the chase. Child's books could be a 100 pages shorter without the guff.
Pace: occasional frenzy of sharks feeding but most of the time it's a sea cucumber rolling across the ocean floor. Too much padding, to much doing very little. I had to force myself to continue.
Action: graphically violent, gratuitously violent. Very nasty in ways which are suitable for slasher voyeurs rather than fans of action novels. Do you really need to know a young man was raped in prison until he died, and found to have a pint of semen in his stomach? Me neither.
Characters: none that I really took to. Jack Reacher comes across very one-dimensionally and the supporting characters have similar depth. I didn't dislike the criminals enough to care much when they were brought to book. They were just sick people.
Overall, I was disappointed with the book. It reminded me of the Jason Bourne. Excellent, fast paced films with a strong back-story, but the books were tedious. I endured two and a half before giving up on them.
Not recommended, but that's just my opinion based on reading books for over 50 years. I know what I like.
Reacher is sexy, but he is a man's man too. The ultimate bad boy hero. He doesn't play by the rules, he plays by HIS rules, which are often a lot smarter.. He always holds the moral high ground, even when it isn't exactly legal. You just can't argue with his logic..
Action packed, with violence and graphic details, but also a gripping story line and tenderness, I could not put this book down..
Anyway, I like Lee Child's prose and pace and imagination. In the two books I have read so far it has been possible to forget the world we live in and enter that of Jack Reacher's.
I never got bored or struggled to return to the book. There was always something just round the next paragraph and the possibility of new twists at any moment.
I can't say that for every thriller I've read, and I've read a few. I have the third in the series on order.
I can't quite give five stars yet, for me five stars represents the complete article, Jack Reacher leaves one or two big holes in the story that even suspension of reality is difficult to fill. Leave that aside and you will be able to enjoy this book as I most certainly have.