Publication Date: September 11, 2012
In A Wanted Man by Lee Child, Jack Reacher, continuing on his journey to Virginia, is picked up while hitchhiking by two men and a woman. It soon becomes clear to Reacher that the men are bad guys and the woman is their hostage. Can he make all of the right moves and save her in time? Reacher once again finds himself caught up in a complicated conspiracy involving murder and kidnapping. Can he find the truth in time? A Wanted Man is the seventeenth novel in the series.
I’m starting a new feature today. Whenever my father and I read the same book at the same time, I will add his opinion of the work as well. I’m hoping that, with time, he’ll post his own reviews on this blog. I cannot yet be sure how often we’ll do this, but I’m hoping for at least once a month.
A short bio of my father:
David is a 66-year-old retired auto worker, who enjoys reading in his spare time. A native of northern Ohio, he suffered from sight issues throughout his life (even attending a sight-saving boarding school as a child), and those issues led to his dropping out of school in the ninth grade. David moved in 1970 to Michigan with his wife to find work. David is a big fan of James Patterson and Lisa Scottoline but, like his daughter reads anything. He is spending his retirement in southern Tennessee and keeping busy by volunteering at his church. David also is an avid attendee of his granddaughter’s high school soccer games.
Child has been telling us for a while that he likes Tom Cruise in the role of Reacher. He’s happy with the actor, and he’d like for his readers to accept him as well. Why then, is so much made of Reacher’s size in this book? He’s described as gorilla-like, huge, massive. His arm can reach across the car and hit the other window. He’s smushing the guy in the backseat because when it’s his turn to drive, he’s so tall that the seat is all the way back. There’s one scene in which Reacher is sitting in a lawn chair and the chair is bowing, his arms are lying long that just emphasizes his massive 6’5” frame. Was this intentional? Was this, “You can make your movie in any way you’d like, but my character is who he is?” While I found this fascinating, it really did not impact the greatness of the book itself in any way.
David had not heard that a movie was being made or that Tom Cruise had been given the role. He thinks that if he was the author, he’d be pretty upset that star power was considered over the description in the book because he believes that Dolph Lundgren would have been an excellent choice for the role — and it doesn’t seem like he’s busy.
This was overall a fabulous book. More cerebral than most of the preceding 16 books. We get to see Reacher in action, and that despite what he says about himself, he was most likely a good cop in the military. He thinks strategically and acts while measuring the good with the bad. He takes on a case never meant to be solved with the attitude that he will expose the truth if only because it’s the right thing that someone knows the truth. David was very bothered by the fact that we’re now three trips into the trek to Virginia and yet again Reacher goes backward. Has he ever called the woman? He tells her vaguely some books back that he’ll see there and then; maybe she’s been deployed or moved posts and convinced he’s never showing up. He also found many of the scenes repetitive. We’re digging deeper into a mystery that is reveling tighter as we go. There is a lot of driving at the start which I believe builds the tension. We know fairly soon after Reacher gets into the car that he’s in potential danger. The tension builds and mounts. We know that he’ll get out of it alive — this is the Reacher series, after all — but define “alive.”
David and I agreed on one point: the dialogue in this book is phenomenal. Lee Child has a talent for banter. In one scene, Reacher is at a hotel waiting for the F.B.I. agent to show and going back and forth with the manager about the hole in the wall. The banter feels quick and is hilarious so that the mood, once an attempt is made on Reacher’s life, is lightened to move to the next phase of the story. I find Child’s talent that sort of casual, very American, exchange surprising — given that he is a British author, and yet with each book, he impresses me more with his ability to convey the people and culture of the United States.
I thought this was one of the better books in the series. David liked the novel and liked the action at the end, but thought that it would probably hit the middle of his personal list. He wants Reacher to either drop the quest to Virginia or get there.
Jack Reacher is coming to the big screen on December 21, 2012, in the form of actor, Tom Cruise. David would like the producers to know that if they choose to do future Reacher movies with Dolph Lundgren, he won’t mind.
You can read an excerpt and buy A Wanted Man by Lee Child on