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Monday, November 5, 2018

The Jack Reacher Novels by Lee Child Running Blind

Read this book, Running Blind, my first one in July and have a new favorite to read through entire series.  Through a friend who sent me this first book, Running Blind and introduced me thereby to author, Lee Child,  and this series of action, thriller, mystery, etc genre featuring the Jack Reacher character.  I have not been this excited to read an entire collection since back long ago in the 1960's when I first discovered Ian Fleming's James Bond novels.   Running Blind is a paperback, but first published in 2000, by Jove Books of New York, 550 pages

Jack Reacher is an ex USArmy Major, Military Police and then some, who is now a civilian and who travels the country very lightly, with toothbrush only, some cash,  going wherever he takes a notion and dealing with bad guys.  In this novel women are being murdered across the country," victims of a disciplined and clevel killer who leaves no trace evidence, no fatal wounds, no signs of struggle and no clues to an apparent motive." 
Back Cover, Running Blind.  
  taken from the back cover, picture to the right.  

From the first page, the novel grabbed me and I could not put it down.  I do not know how I missed this autoor and this character, a tough guy who takes no guff and does things his way.  Page 1--" People say that knowledge is power.  The more knowledge, the more power.Suppose you knew the winning numbers for the lotterry?  All of them?  Not guessed them, not dreamed them but really knew them?  What would you do?" ....Page 2, "Life is full of decisions and judgments and guesses and it gets to the point where you're so accustomed to making them you keep right on making them even when you don't strictly need to.  You get into a what if thing, and you start speculating about what would you do if some problem was yours instead of somebody else's.  It gets to be a habit.  It was a habit Jack Reacher had in spades."  Page 9,  "The dynamics of the city.  The strong terrorize the weak.  They keep on at it, like they always have, until they come up against somebody stronger with some arbitrary humane reason for stopping them.  Somebody like Reacher."  And page 59, the description of Reacher, from hyperyensive,  Agent in charge, Nelson Blake, Quantico, Serial Crimes Unit, with Special Agent Julia  Lamar,  "No there are millions, you conceited son of a bitch, she said.  But then.we started narrowing it down some.  A smart guy, a loner, Army, knew both victims, movements unaccounted for, a brutal vigilante personality.  That narrowed it down from millions to thousandths to hundreds to tens maybe all the way down to you."  Page 69, some background on a house Reacher inherits from his late friend, commander, mentor Leon Garber, Jodie's (his current girlfriend) father.  Leon had been a prince among men, rough and ready and Reacher loved him like a father.  "  It was a half million dollar house, slice of prime real estate standing proudly on the Hudson opposite West Point, and it was a comfortable bldg. but it represented a big problem.  It anchored him in a way which made him profoundly uncomfortable.  .Page 70, ".And the idea of property worried him.  His whole life he had never owned more than would fit into his pockets. ......He had a wristwatch it was Army issue, so it started out theirs and became his when they didn't ask for it back.   And that was it.  Shoes for his feet, clothes on his back, small bills in his pants, big bills in his wallet, a toothbrush in his pocket, and a watch on his wrist."  

Page 79 has the source of the title of this novel, as Blake and Lamar ask Reacher for help catching the killer who preys on ex US Army gals.  "So help us catch her killer.   No.   Without somebody like you, we're just running blind.  No...I'm asking for you help here"  

I got a kick out of the reference to granite kitchen counter tops in a civilized world, Page 236, where Reacher is talking with Jodie. It demonstrates how this author plants interesting diversions in the midst of action.  I related it to our now year old upgrade, remodel of our kitchen with the new granite counter tops and new multi surface back splash that took far too long on back order but does look elegant."He sat on her kitchen stool and leaned his forearms on her counter top.Spread his finger wide and placed his palms down flat.  The counter top was cold.  It was some kind of granite, gray and shiny, milled to reveal tiny quartz speckles, throughout its surface.  The corners and angles were radiused into perfect quarter circles.  It was an inch thick and probably very expensive.  it was a civilized product.  It belonged right there in a world where people agree to labor forty hours or a hundred or two hundred and then exchange the remuneration they get for installations they hope will make their kitchens look nice inside their expensive remodeled buildings high above Broadway. "

And besides the action and intrigue, the author adds tidbits here and there of historical interest, like page 371 references about why Eisenhower built the US Interstates.  " "Why do you think interstates were built?  Not so the Harper family could drive from Aspen to Yellowstone Park on vacation.  So the Army could move troops and weapons around, fast and easy.>     They were?  Reacher nodded, "Sure they were.  Eisenhower built them in the fifties, height of the Cold War thing, and Eisenhower was a West Pointer, first and last."

I give this book  5 ***** and recommend Jack Reacher novels to anyone who relishes action, intrigue, suspence.  I have accumulated several others now and will be reading them all. 

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