If you got here because I commented and you were directed to this blog, it is because Blogger will not show both blogs. So you can get to my Pat's Posts, by clicking this miscellany, the first blog while this is just about books.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

4 Jack Reachers by Lee Childs

Published in 2012, The Affair is a prequel to all the other Reacher novels and  relates how he began of his nomadic  life after the Army, but in this novel Reacher is still active Army.  I reflected on the characters who became familiar in the other novels, Graber for one.  The Washington Times  review declares this is one of the tow or three best Reacher novels.  "Mr. Child has written a veritable tour de force, the almost  perfect prequel to his 15 previous books."  It begins March 11, 1997, a Tuesday, "The pentagon is the world's largest office building, six and a half million square feet, thirty thousand people, more than seventeen miles of corridors, but it was build with just three street doors, each one of them opening into a guarded pedestrian lobby."   

This is set between DC and Carter Crossing, Missiissippi Kelham Army base.  Page 11 discusses the common law test for criminal culpability, Latin and law.  Timely for today with lingering brouhaha from the disgraced, fired FBI Director, James Comey  set a new standard for intent in interpretation of why he would not prosecute Hillary Clinton, she didn't intend  to do it.  Hah!  But here is page 11, "Action plus intention is the standard.  They were waiting for me to prove my intention.."  And true to other Reacher novels there is surprising detail about various aspects of Army life, interesting to me, a civilian, page 11, "Army regulations are surprisingly vague about shoes,.  Plain black lace up oxfords or close equivalents, conservative, no designs on them, minimum of 3 pair of eyelets, closed toe, maximum two inch heel."  Reacher is on a mission to be alert outside the base in MS and blend with the civilian population while another  Army major has been assigned inside the base. Local women have been killed, throats cut ear to ear over  months and the locals are certain that a soldier  from Kelham, a home for Army Rangers shipping in and out  on secret missions, is responsible.  Meantime the Army wants to prove it is a civilian responsible.  The town of Carter Crossing depends on the base to exist.  The local sheriff who becomes involved with Reacher is Elizabeth Devereaux, an ex Marine and also a native of the town.   Another intrigue, kept me guessing and another 5 *****.

This paperback edition also included the short story, "The Second Son" about Reacher's childhood and family. It opens August 1974 in Paris with references to an old man, Jack's,  maternal grandfather, only that is not known until subsequently pages later.  His father, Stan, was a Marine and the family moved around a lot.  As early as 13 years of age he had become Jack Reacher.  Interesting that everyone called him Reacher no other nick name, even his brother, it stuck.  His perspective on taking tests  was formed solid by age 13, if 51% is passing, that is good enough, no need to expend extra effort studying for a higher score than passing.  His father's thoughts about him, are that he was not academic like Joe, the older brother,  "but the kid could think too.  ..His IQ was about the same but it was a get the job done, street smart IQ."  The closing paragraph is memorable, about the death of his grandfather.  "Laurent Moutier was gone, at the age of ninety, taking with him like everyone does, a lifetime of unknown private hopes and dreams and fears and experiences and leaving behind him, like most people do, a thin trace of himself in his living descendants.".   Another 5 ***** read.  

I read Gone Tomorrow, in March.  It is the 13th of the Reacher novels  published in 2009, and opens in New York City, 2:00AM, on a subway ride,  discussing suicide bombers and  the Israeli counterintelligence tactics,  which Reacher memorized 20 years ago and still relies on. Page 1, "Suicide bombers are easy to spot.  They give out all kinds of tell tale signs.  Mostly because they're nervous. By definition they're all first timers."  From the front cover flap, " Susan Mark was the fifth passenger.  She had a lonely heart, an estranged son, and a big secret.  Reacher, working with a woman cop and a host of shadowy feds wants to know just how big a hole Susan Mark was in, how many lives had already been twisted before hers, and what danger is looming around him now.....plain little life was critical to dozens of others in Washington, California, Afghanistan..from a former Del;ta force operator now running for the US Senate to a beautiful young woman with a fantastic story to tell--and a host of others who have just one thing in common, they're all lying to Reacher."  Pages 252-3 describe regions of New York City, trains to boroughs and distinctions of each.  More interesting trivia on page 256 about the word, "hello"."..developed as a greeting only after the invention of the telephone.  People felt they needed something to say when they picked up the receiver.  It was a corruption of the old word, halloo. Which was really an expression of temporary shock or surprise.  You would come upon something unexpected and you would go, Halloo!"  Pages 322-327 discusses Reagan's administration and Bin Laden and even Rumsfeld with Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.  In reference to these prior dealings with today's terrorists, pg 329, "Sometimes our friends become our enemies and sometimes our enemies become our friends."  .And  to open Chapter 82, page 400, "Scientists measure time all the way down to the picosecond.  A trillionth of a regular second."   Five stars*****

And the last for this post, Worth Dying For published in 2010..   I have yet to read a Reacher novel that is not 5 ***** in my ratings, so that said, perfect scores so far.  I read this in April.  I will  edit and add to this review tomorrow or later on.  This novel is set in the corn country of Nebraska and a local clan, Duncans who rule the entire town.  Reacher becomes involved determined to solve the unsolved case  of a missing child, already decades old.This novel surprised me again and again. Just when I think I know something it twisted and I was wrong. 

 It opens, " Eldridge Taylor was driving a long straight two lane road in Nebraska when his cell phone rang.  It was very late in the afternoon.  He was taking his granddaughter home after  buying her shoes and the kid was flat on her back on the small rear seat.  She was not asleep."  By page 6 there is a thorough description of the Grand Alaskan rifle,  of interest to   me because I know little about rifles, etc, the author always includes some interesting descriptions in every Reacher novel.   Page 9 describes the setting of the bar/hotel in the area, " "The whole place was bizarre; like a 1960's version of Las Vegas transplanted to outer space."  Now  conjure that image for the  setting.  Page 34, fact about the US Canadian border should have alerted me to the importance it would have in this novel, but I did not realize that until I was almost at the end of the book.  "world's largest land border followed the 49th parallel over mountains and roads and rivers and streams and through towns and fields and woods."  I had formed an opinion that drugs were being smuggled but was very wrong and was astounded that it was human trafficking.  Page 98 explains the phrase, " our ship has come in" from old seafaring days when there was no communication, no radio, no phone, no telegraph.   Page 102 documents information about international shipping containers, corrugated metal boxes. which are easily swapped between different modes of transport.    

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