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4.4 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 10 November 2009
Lee Child is not a bad writer when it comes to airplane novels. Killing Floor and Tripwire are quite good books. However, DIE TRYING I found wanting in many aspects.

Without spoiling it for anyone I will just say that the plot is totally unbelievable - well beyond any possible suspension of disbelief. The coincidences are just too many, the reactions of the White House absolutely uncharacteristic and the response of the FBI against every procedural guideline. And the hero is too damn lucky!

For over 100 pages he manages to walk in, out and around the (alerted!) enemy encampment as he pleases. He explores, loots, escapes again and again, rescues, assassinates and saves the day with no trouble. Sure, he is Jack Reacher - but shouldn't the reader be even a little inclined to follow the story without rolling his eyes?

Finally, if one is not inclined to read the most minutiae details of how every single gun is designed, engineered and fired (from the firing pin hitting the bullet, to its path down the striated barrel and the release of the heated gases!), this is not a book I would recommend.
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on 28 March 2014
Having recently read “Killing Floor” I decided to read Lee Child’s second Jack Reacher novel “Die Trying”. On some levels it’s a very different proposition to the first novel.

For a start “Killing Floor” was written as a singular first person narrative. This gave it an immediacy and an individual viewpoint throughout. However, this writing discipline brings about certain restrictions. All of the action needs to be viewed through the protagonist’s eyes. Anything which occurs “out of shot” has to be eventually discovered by the protagonist to bring it into the plot.

Child has chosen to write “Die Trying” in the third person. This opens up a host of opportunities for a wider plot to take place around and beyond the immediate action involving both Reacher and a kidnapped woman claiming to be an FBI agent. The plot moves through so many complicated somersaults that the third person approach was probably the only way that Child could approach the narrative. However his skill as a writer is evident in the deft way that he handles the third person narration without losing any of the impact of his debut novel.

One key difference is that in “Killing Floor” all of the minor characters interact with Reacher and are obviously seen through his eyes. He becomes a filter for the reader. This constantly keeps him at the centre of the action. In “Die Trying” most of the minor characters do not interact with Reacher until the climax of the book; they have a life of their own, their own sphere of existence. This creates a very different dynamic to the book which is not a criticism, merely an observation.

Child is a master of pace and timing. Just like a sniper he knows when to squeeze the trigger, and he always hits his target with an uncanny accuracy.

As the action in the novel builds to a climax the set-up involves some complicated choreography. Child’s skill as a writer cuts through the complexity and makes the action clear, crisp and tense. For any budding thriller-writers it’s an object lesson in how to write within the genre. I have a feeling that I’ll be reading the other seventeen Reacher novels.
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on 19 February 2002
AT LAST !!!!! A book featuring a real man! I first read The Visitor and liked it, then bought this!!!!!!! is all I can say. Chilld just knows how to write action in a way that will have anyone gripped. I read the four other current books in three days (I have two jobs) so that will give you some idea as to how gripping they are. This book was my favourite by far. Why? I guess the whole gung Ho macho-ness of fighting militia in the woods mixed with some healthy sexual chemistry has got to be explosive. Reacher is the most amazing character, flawed, funny, strong, intelligent but also believable. By far the best books I have ever read for un-put-down-ility. If they don't make these books into films then Hollywood is crazy. If they can get someone who will play Reacher as I imagine him then they will be in with a hit.
I really can't say enough about this book and have read it three times so far. Sad? Nah, see for yourself just how good an MP can'll fall !
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on 16 May 2006
This is the first Lee Child or Jack Reacher I have read and I couldnt put it down, I am now addicted and have bought three more. This novel is suspence from start to finish and you cant help but wonder if there is any real life Jack Reacher. He reminds me of "Joe Pike" in Robert Craiss' "Elvis Cole" novels. Hes' just super cool.
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on 6 September 2007
I have now read 5 or 6 Reacher books, but this is the best I've read and the first I've wanted to write a review for. This is the only one where I felt Reacher was outnumbered, out of his depth, and even though you knew he'd come through by the end there was enough uncertainty to keep it edgey.
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on 17 July 1999
This is such a fantastic book - I was hooked from the first sentence right through to the end. The author is a master at building suspense and the hits just keep on coming with a book I find impossible to fault. The hero of the book, Jack Reacher is in the wrong place at the wrong time and is taken hostage with an FBI agent - but there's more to this than meets the eye and its going to take all their skill and cunning to come out of this in one piece. Please, do yourself a favour - write off a weekend and read this book - you'll be glad you did.
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VINE VOICEon 4 February 2010
Not a cracking read as book 1 - Killing Floor, where the continuous action keeps you on your toes. Here the action is infrequent and the story unfolds rather slowly.

Jack Reacher unwittingly is involved in the kidnapping of an FBI agent with a dodgy knee, and this makes escape with her, difficult.

Arriving at their final destination the boss reveals his new kingdom to Reacher, rather than merely execute him. And his guards are easily swayed with mind tricks that allows Jack to wonder around the compound.

All the real action takes place in the final few chapters, but there is little in the way of surprises that create a gripping climax.

I am already on to Book 3 (Tripwire) and this is proving to be much more exciting. Maybe domestic terrorism in the US just did not interest me that much.
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on 9 September 2011
This is the 2nd Jack Reacher book by Lee Child. I started off with The Killing Floor and loved it. I love Jack and Child really is great at creating believable characters. Once I finished Killing Floor I immediately picked up Die Trying. As in the first novel, it has an explosive start and I was looking forward to a great read. However without giving away the story, once they reach their destination the story goes downhill. There is a lot of description and is mainly based around Reacher's army training. Every single gun mentioned is described in great detail and to be honest I found that very boring and I started to skip pages just to get to the good stuff.

The end, although predictable, was pretty good. I will read the next Reacher book but it may be after I read a few other authors first.

Disappointing but still pretty entertaining.
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on 6 August 2015
Phew. So... hmm... *taps fingers on desk*... I don't know.
After reading the first Jack Reacher novel (Killing Floor. It's incredible, check it out) I thought that no harm could come from reading the follow-up. And I guess it didn't, only I found myself totally indecisive as to whether I liked it this time round.

The first half of Die Trying is really, really good. I floored that first half within a day. It was clever, funny, gripping, and was heading in a direction that seemed all too brilliant to be true. And it was. Let's just say the second half took me a fortnight to wade through as I struggled to find interest in 200 pages of military conspiracy and weapon descriptions.

Trouble is, I've already bought the third book. I bought the first three in one heap. Will I read it? For sure, but based only on the strength of the first book, and not on this one. That's not to say that this is a bad story! It's okay (at best) but where I expected another detective-based story, I found myself bored by a military one. It wasn't a total surprise, given Reacher's background, but I hope that it's in the past now.

If you like stories about terrorists then go ahead and give this a read, but it's not for me.
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on 26 February 2013
I admit I made a mistake. I should have realised that the first book was a warning rather than an appetiser.

Jack Reacher is the most amazingly lucky, highly regarded unknown person in the entire world. He is of no fixed abode. He is 6ft 5' and built to kill. He was in military police for 13 years. He gets more sexy women than James Bond, yet he has none of the charm.

There you go: I've told you everything you get to know about Jack.

You would at least expect it to be exciting though surely? Nope. It's brain-numbingly dull and incomprehensibly stupid.

People in Jack Reacher's universe suffer from some kind of social dysfunction that sees them shrug their way through EVERY encounter. This morning I decided to search for the word 'shrugged' on my Kindle; it pulled up 133 instances. There are only around 400 pages! Jack would shrug at a tree if it moved. He'd probably shrug if it didn't: it makes him indifferent, therefore a cool guy...

Child does not bother to tell us about emotion, gestures, body language. He doesn't tell us how a character feels about something or someone, they normally just nod, shake their head, shrug. Characters literally don't give a damn about anything or anyone.

[Update] Ok so I finally finished reading this book. I hoped it would improve towards a finale... but it just gets more laborious, more ridiculous and more of the same lack of emotion from every character. The action sequences are terrible - every time Jack pulls the trigger of his gun, we get an extensive 'slo-mo' description of everything; from gravitational pull, wind direction, the mechanisms of the gun, the materials used to make the gun, the hand-polished bullets... Fine, if this happened once it would have been poignant and cool, but it happens again and again. This made me do something I hate doing: I skipped a huge section - pages upon pages of gun description when Jack pulled the trigger for the umpteenth time.

I've revised my score down from 2 stars to one. I really was so happy to finish this book, it was such a chore. I hated that for the second time in as many books, Jack childishly falls deeply in love with someone (a complete psycho woman this time) within a couple days of meeting her and in the last page breaks it off, walks away content with himself like everything we've ('we' as in the reader, Jack and Psycho) gone through was for nothing. All that near-death stuff and what should for most people be life-changing experiences meant seemingly nothing to Jack or this crazy woman. So why should the reader care?

I've already moved onto a new book, The Snowman, (Harry Hole) by Jo Nesbo. Within one chapter, I feel I understand Harry's character, or at least his motivations. After two whole books about Jack Reacher, I still have no idea what drives him forward, and I no longer want to know. In fact I'm abandoning the series right here. Lee Child must be the most overrated author out there and he's not getting another penny from me.
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