Monday, 21 April 2014

Killing Floor, Die Trying, Trip Wire and the Hard Way by Lee Child

Killing Floor first, and what an amazing book it is! The plot doesn't need to be explained, as it has you hooked within seconds. Jack Reacher got off a bus and waked fourteen miles to a small town in Georgia on the day the city has it's first homicide in thirty years. Simple, but exceptionally effective. The homicide in question, the death of a private investigator, who was shot through the head, kicked to a pulp then hidden beneath a slab of cardboard. But who committed this murder, and will they strike again?
The story itself tells the investigation into this murder by Jack Reacher, who has been wrongly accused of the crime, his love interest, finger print analyst Roscoe, and chief of detectives, Finlay. Together, they attempt to discover who the murderer was, and what their next move will be. Throughout the story, Reacher has to survive being arrested, the death of a loved one, imprisonment, several assassination attempt, explosions and several double crosses, all of which are familiar to Childs' exceptional writing.
As with all thriller novels, the twist at the end is, to put it plainly, brilliant, and definitely not what I saw coming. It's absolutely genius, and doesn’t really have anything bad about it. Perhaps the worst criticism I can given is about Childs unique style of writing. If you are a long time reader of his work, you get used to the short sentences and dry wit, but for a first time reader it can be a little disorientating. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re a fan of Conan Doyle and Christie style crime, because, whilst appearing near each other on an alphabetically ordered book case, they are quite the opposite, the Reacher thrillers conforming to the Hardboiled genre.
Die Trying next. As I sat down with this I was worried it would be pretty much the same as Killing Floor, but it’s an extremely diverse read. Reacher is kidnapped with an FBI agent and then finds himself in a valley led by conspiracy crazed new worlders led to their insanity by a mad man blinded by grief. The story tells of three sides of the story, Reacher and the FBI agent, the mad man in charge and a team of federal agents attempting to rescue Reacher and stop the mad man before he can take his ultimatum to the world.
The book is the definition of page turner. One moment, Reacher will be imprisoned, the next running for his life. Child’s gift is he can make anything totally and completely thrilling, whether it’s a shooting match or being stuck in a tunnel. To demonstrate his pure brilliance at make anything tense and addictive, Child went so far as to make even Reacher waking up a tense moment.
However, there are some negatives to the story. Because of the way it follows different characters, sometimes the action is split up, which can leave some parts slow. Also the twist isn’t as brilliant as that in Killing Floor, or any of the future books that I’ve read. But that might just be because of the high level of the other books.
Now Tripwire. Tripwire is the strangest of the four Reacher books mentioned here. It starts slow, carefully building up not only the readers curiosity but Reachers too. When he finally decides to investigate, the action is quick and interesting, as he visits different important places and finally finds the illusive ‘Mrs Jacobs’ 
What follows is quite slow, with Reacher working out the clues individually and only occasionally confronting the villains.  The rest f the story is very slow and, unless you are really curious, or have nothing better to read, I imagine you could quite easily give up and read something else. But for the sake of all that’s good in the world, don’t!
The twist at the end of Tripwire is the best twist of all, and you just don’t see it coming. Not at all. My grandfather, who could read six Lee Child books a day if you let him, loved it and didn’t see it coming. Generally, it is worth the slow beginning and middle just for the brilliant end. 
And the final book, the Hard Way, tops all the others. It is the best thing Lee Child has ever written, if you ask me, and there isn’t a slow moment in the book. Like Killing Floor, the book follows Reacher as he is instrumental in solving the kidnap of Kate Lane. Employed by Edward Lane, Kate’s husband and a mercenary, Reacher traces Kate Lane’s kidnapper all the way to England. But could he have made a terrible mistake and are the terrible events of the past repeating themselves?
This book is truly brilliant. Not only does it demonstrate Child’s expertise at writing the hardboiled crime genre, but also it teaches you exactly why I love the Jack Reacher books. One second, Reacher is sitting down, waiting for a kidnapper to call, the next second he’s planning how to stop the villains once and for all. It’s that mixture of red herrings, carefully planned out plot and, the best of all, a surprisingly in-depth knowledge of the Military Police and their weapons. 

There isn’t really anything bad about the Hard Way, just like with Killing Floor. As someone once said of Ian Fleming, the author departs with us such detail, but in a way that if you miss it the first time, you won’t see it again. The same can be said of Lee Child. Unless you pay full attention to the story, there are some parts that you’ll miss which can be crucial to the story. Apart from that, it is a brilliant book and, by far, the most thrilling read I’ve ever known.

In conclusion, even if some parts are slightly slow, and some crucial details can be easily missed, the four Jack Reacher books mentioned here are some of the best books I’ve ever read, even the worst of them having redeeming features. 
I give Killing Floor 9/10
I give Die Trying 8/10
I give Tripwire 7/10

I give the Hard Way 10/10 

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