Interacting with Jack Reacher is like brushing up against a Great White Shark. You’re not exactly sure if you’re going to come out of it alive, wounded, or a corpse. A few years back I picked up Mr. Child’s first Jack Reacher book ‘Killing Floor’ after reading an interview about how the author created the character. It was an intriguing approach. Could Mr. Child build multiple books around such a formidable guy? He’s 6’5”, 220-230 pounds, highly intelligent, logical, deadly with weapons and his body, a highly-decorate Army MP who chucked it away, and lives by his own moral code. Reacher’s arrogance and indifference about most other people’s plights makes for a more complicated hero than a Boy Scout like Captain America. Mostly he wants to be left alone as he drifts around America sampling new ho-hum experiences. The problem is people with power keep disrupting his tranquility.
‘Running Blind’ is the fourth Jack Reacher adventure. The book was published in 2000 and the World Trade Center makes a cameo. It can be read independently of the other books in the series, but I prefer to read such collections in the order they were published. Yet again, Mr. Child has written an engrossing adventure/mystery. The violence done by Reacher is minimal and focuses heavily on the mystery of how the murderer is killing the victims. I felt pretty smug about figuring out the culprit at about half way through the story. However, there are plenty of twists, turns, and excitement to keep the story fresh. There are currently 24 Jack Reacher books at the time I am writing this review. You know the dude isn’t going to die in the installments. The same cannot be said about the people around him including innocent civilians. Another appealing factor in the storylines is the author’s efforts to keep the adventures grounded in reality. There are no super serums or otherworldly attributes in the books. ‘Running Blind’ deals with a serial killer who leaves no evidence or cause of the victims’ death. It also touches on such issues as sexual harassment in the military and turf battles by various government agencies that hinder instead of help in solving murders.
‘Running Blind’ is pure escapism. I’m still amazed Mr. Child continues to create wonderful stories about a hero who seems practically invincible but makes me care so much about the story’s outcome. The author is one of my go-to writers when I’m looking for great entertainment and a break from more serious books. Mr. Child has not disappointed me yet. If I ever find a magic lamp, I’m likely to ask the genie to grant me most of Jack Reacher’s attributes.