Friday, December 17, 2010

Worth Dying For, a Jack Reacher Novel

"Worth Dying For" by Lee Child

4-1/2 stars

Reviewed by Tracy L. Karol

"Worth Dying For" begins shortly after the end of "61 Hours," and it's no spoiler to tell you that, yes, Jack Reacher survives the end of that novel. Why so many people were convinced he died at the end of "61 Hours" was a bit of a mystery to me, since Child clearly left the ending open and the books have been optioned for movies, which as I understand should start filming soon (though who will play Reacher is still beyond me).

Anyway, Reacher is making his way, painfully (I won't spoil how he got out of the tunnel at the end of the previous novel for you regular readers) across the country to Virginia. If you read the book you can guess why. He gets stranded in rural Nebraska where, as usual, he becomes embroiled rather quickly in the local town's problems -- and they are much worse than he first anticipates. Never one to leave the weak at the mercy of the cruel, he pays a visit to a prominent citizen who regularly beats his wife, and breaks the man 's nose. This starts off a chain of events as the man he hit is much more than simply a man who beats his wife. His family runs a criminal enterprise and terrifies the entire town, employing thug ex-football players to regularly keep the citizenry in line. But that's not all. There's also a 25-year-old murder mystery, a group of townsfolk who quickly depend on Reacher, and mafia men from Las Vegas hunting him while the Duncan family (local thugs) hold up a mysterious shipment and blame it on Reacher. Convoluted, yes; fascinating, also yes.

Child makes Reacher more "human" in this book, in the sense that he feels more pain. At the same time, he is tough as nails. Child is methodical in his writing, and Reacher is the same way in reaching his decisions. He never plans to be Superman, but he is stubborn and insistent at getting at the truth, as well as ensuring that the bad guys aren't left around to hurt the innocent, even though he himself never sticks around.

This is a very good addition to the Reacher series, and one of my favorites, such as "Die Trying." I highly recommend it. There is no love interest, yet you don't even realize that as you are caught up in the action.


Tracy L. Karol