The Hard Way: (Jack Reacher 10) Paperback – 6 Jan 2011
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The surprise factor when reading the thrillers of Lee Child has, it must be admitted, vanished. Most readers who pick up the new book, The Hard Way, will be well aware that this extremely American narrative is, in fact, written by an Englishman. The days when early readers of Child (notably his American fans) would exclaim how amazing it was that Child got all the cultural reference points correct are long gone. And, in a way, that's not a bad thing--now we can judge the novels purely on their own terms. And if The Hard Way doesn't initially appear to be quite as impressive as its predecessors, that's not to say that it isn't a supremely assured piece of work.
Child's durable hero is, of course, ex-soldier Jack Reacher. Child's publishers claim 'men want to be him--women want to have him', and there's no denying thats a considerable part of Reachers appeal. His footloose lifestyle and handy way with the trouble that hes always encountering are handled by Child with great panache. In some ways, Reacher is the perfect existential hero: he owns nothing or no-one, and he is, in his turn, owned by nothing or no one. He is defined by the actions he undertakes--and that definition only lasts as long as the problem he is involved with. This one has an even wider range than usual, starting on a busy New York thoroughfare and moving to a violent finale across the Atlantic in the sylvan depths of the English countryside, with Jack up against some very dangerous opponents. Interestingly, Childs publishers describe Jack Reacher in this novel as invincible, and (ironically) they put their finger on an interesting point in this latest entry. While Jack has always been supremely capable, earlier books have always had a genuine sense of danger--how the hell would Jack get himself out of the latest lethal situation? Here, the outcome seems less in doubt. But this is a minor quibble--Child could not write a bad book if he tried, and all the narrative momentum that propelled the earlier Reacher adventures is satisfyingly in evidence in his latest outing.
--Barry Forshaw --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
"Reacher, who has long since gained mythical status, is human after all ... This is storytelling of the highest order: lean, laconic, laced with tension" (Evening Standard)
"The invincible Reacher is as irresistible as ever" (Sunday Telegraph)
"Child is a consummate thriller writer: his prose is trim but descriptive, his plots believable, fresh and positively airtight, and shows himself a master of misdirection" (Time Out)
"Lee Child is often mistaken for a US writer, so skilfully and enthusiastically has he embraced the idiom of the American thriller ... One of the genre's finest practitioners" (Independent)
"Another cracking teeth-chatterer" (Daily Mail)
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Top Customer Reviews
The novel's opening gambit, a hook upon which the rest of the novel hangs is unfortunately quite flimsy. Not to give too much away, but in order to get the ball rolling Child has Reacher act in a way that will have regular readers scratching their heads; an action which is so out of character, the reader assumes it will be explained in some clever plot twist later on. But it isn't, and as such is an unusually weak opening.
Once over this little hiccup however, the novel trundles along nicely leading to a customarily understated finale. Other reviews have pointed to this being one of the more violent of Reacher's novels. I have to say I thought it was pretty tame compared to say, 'Persuader' or 'Without Fail', but no less powerful for that. Other reviews have also noted Child's now formulaic style as becoming stale. Again, I have to say this may have been true leading up to this novel, 'One Shot' for instance was disappointing in its format and predictable pace, but I found the Hard Way refreshingly different.
Indeed, Child shows a rare descriptive elegance, stepping outside his comfort zone of dusty rural Americana to deal with a shiny, frantic New York, satiric London and the comatose Norfolk countryside with consummate flair and no little amount of humour. Being a Brit who has mastered the American novel, it was a real pleasure to see him turn his eye to his native country, picking up subtle idiosyncrasies that are all the more amusing for knowing this is his real home-town.
Not his best, but still a great read from a very talented writer.
I have to agree with certain other reviewers that "the Hard way" lacks the sense of danger thats been so strong in the early books. The best by far was "Killing floor" especially the scene where 4 masked killers dressed entirely in white disposable jumpsuits hunted Reacher through the driving rain. A bit more of this in this book would have been very welcome.
All in all this latest installment in Reacher's adventures is well worth reading- hopefully Lee Child can bring back some of the excitement of his first books for his next Reacher!
Yes - its still excellently written. Yes - Reacher is still righting wrongs as only he can. Yes - you'll smile at Reacher's observations of the odd behaviour of brits.
BUT - the trouble for Lee Child is that he's set himself some very high standards and this is a tad below his best. He's still better than most which is why this gets 4 stars from me but I wouldn't pay up for it in hardback, put it that way...
The story is well developed but after about 3/4 of the way through it all became implausible and slightly laughable, mainly because I would have reached the point of truth way before Reacher himself did. Sorry to be pedantic but his investigation was awful and Child carefully leads the reader up the garden path of his own making. all I could remember thinking was I could have solved this much quicker than Jack Reacher. No action until the end of the book and even then it seemed largely superfluous.
all in all the book starts well but fails to live up to its initial promise and ultimately disappoints. Not an awful book, just not that good
I have since learned that as far as thriller authors are concerned Lee Child is flavour of the month, so it was with some interest that I sat down to read the book. The book is well structured. It has a beginning a middle and an end (you would be surprised how many books don't). Well written by an author who has researched his subject thoroughly and in Jack Reacher the leading character in the book he has portrayed an endearing modern day hero, who grows on the reader as the book progresses. For anyone who loves thrillers particularly American based thrillers. This would be manna from heaven. For those who love the authors writing, I am preaching to the converted. For those who have not read his books, they are well worth reading. Try this one and perhaps then you will want to read his other books too.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
as before invincible hero in dire situations boring repetitious stories.Published 27 days ago by Mr. J. D. Roach
Classic Jack Reacher, fast moving, perceptive all-American fighting machinePublished 1 month ago by EW
I bought this book for the passage about the enforced amputations in an African prison. Memorable.Published 1 month ago by ian.mcvean