Random posts on all sorts of things designed to inform and provoke.
The new Jack Reacher mystery, A Wanted Man, is out and continues the character’s journey towards … something. In this latest book, Reacher is journeying towards Virginia – the state not a woman although he is going there for a woman – and encounters a murder/kidnapping related to an international mystery involving the State Department, the CIA, the FBI, and possibly, Pakistan or the Middle East. (Spoiler Alert: I am loathe to write more specifics about the plot because I hate reviews that give everything away so this is all I will write about the book’s plot.) Reacher’s appeal has always been his lack of responsibilities – the man owns pretty much nothing and goes wherever he wants – and his sense of justice. In a world where everyone is inundated with “stuff,” and bogged down with responsibilities that seemingly came out of nowhere, a character that doesn’t have these responsibilities is endlessly appealing.
Or is it? The Reacher mysteries – once so appealing – have devolved into a set of standard beats and Child’s writing style – terse and to the point – has become repetitive. This opinion, by the way, is that of a longtime reader so anyone new to the Reacher books will obviously disagree – as they should because for a newcomer, this is an amazing series. There is one positive note in the recent books though: Reacher seems to be heading towards something. So, while the individual books have the standard one-off mysteries, running through the books is a thread that seems to be leading towards some sort of conclusion. As a fan of the author and the character, this is encouraging because I want the character to go out in a blaze of creative glory as opposed to a slow and agonizing death – which is what has happened to the once-brilliant Dirk Pitt mysteries.
Finally, no discussion of the Reacher books would be complete without a mention of the upcoming Tom Cruise movie – Jack Reacher. There has been a lot of criticism about this movie, centered primarily on the fact that Cruise looks nothing like the Reacher as described by Child. So, even though the author has approved Cruise’s casting, the fans have been vitriolic in their reaction. I, personally, don’t have an opinion on this as I would rather wait and see the movie before passing judgment. I will say two things about this though: 1. Casting someone who looks like the character doesn’t mean anything – Matthew McConaughey looked like the perfect Pitt but he made a terrible Pitt and Sahara was the pitts. 2. Cruise is a God!