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A lone gunman unleashes pandemonium when he shoots into a crowd of people in a public plaza in Indiana. Five people are killed in cold blood, shot through the head. But he leaves a perfect trail of evidence behind him, and soon the local police chief tracks him down. After his arrest, the shooter's only words are, 'Get Jack Reacher for me.' What could possibly connect this psychopath and the wandering dropout ex army cop?


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  • 4 weeks later...

Lee Child is one of those authors who is rather like a box of chocolates. You eat them all and then wonder at the end if it was really worth it.


The answer is yes but they are becoming increasingly formulaic and Jack Reacher is not developing as a character. In fact one is beginning to lose sympathy with him and rather wants him to get his come-uppance.


Micael Connoly avoided this trap with Heronymus Bosch who is a wonderfully engimatic character that you want to know more about.


Having said all that a great read for the plane or a holiday.

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I've read a couple of the early Jack Reacher novels - and found him an interesting character - I'm disappointed to hear that he doesn't develop much as the series goes on. Really identify with your "box of chocolates" comparison - they are very "morish" till you get to the end!!

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  • 5 weeks later...

I have long been a fan of Jack Reacher and Lee Child. I know the books are rather formuliac, but I don't think Lee Child expects them to be regarded as great workd of literature. They really are my guilty pleasure and yes, like a box of chocolates, I devour them!


One Shot is a terrific read, and for pure reading pleasure I don't think you can do much better than the Jack Reacher series.

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  • 2 years later...

I feel sorry for Lee Child. He has his adoring fans and his millions in the bank and I imagine everyone tells him how great he his, but he keeps churning out the same dreck (I’ve read this one and the Texan one and the post 9/11 one and they’re all the same book.) The poor fellow obviously has no one to tell him what a terrible writer he is. He’s the George W. Bush of the writing world.


Actually, this Reacher book isn’t that bad in places. The best parts are those that don’t have Reacher in them, and I admit he can write a good fight (of which there aren’t enough) and his sub-Clancy descriptions of military hardware are on the mark:


It was a Springfield MIA Super Match autoloader, American walnut stock, heavy premium barrel, ten shot box magazine, chambered for the .308. It was the exact commercial equivalent of the M14 self-loading sniper rifle that the American military had used during his long-ago years in the service. It was a fine weapon. Maybe not quite as accurate with the first cold shot as a top-of-the-line bolt gun, but it would do. It would do just fine. He wasn't going to be looking at extraordinary distances. It was loaded with Lake City M852s. His favourite custom cartridges. Special Lake City Match brass, Federal powder, Sierra Matchking 168-grain hollow point boat tail bullets. The load was better than the gun, probably. A slight mismatch.


In fact everything about the book isn’t bad until that that man Reacher turns up. To paraphrase, he doesn’t have a single redeeming defect. He’s so much better than the baddies that he’s insufferable and prison gangs, Russian gulag survivors and even ex-SAS are no match for this one man. There’s no suspense in all this and it’s even obvious which woman is he’s going to bonk this time.


I read One Shot as an ebook that allows you to mark up and copy pieces of text, so here you are. Mr Lee Child, ladies and gentleman, purveyor of the Queen’s finest English.


Maybe the hardest time to move unobserved through a city. Or, maybe the easiest.
The man with the rifle drove north. Not fast, not slow.
His place was an unremarkable one-storey ranch. Not immaculate, not falling down.
Same guy, pale, quiet, competent, not big, not small.
The air was soft. Not hot, not cold.
‘Was it warm or cold?’


'Not cold. But not hot.’

Chenko turned back and faced front and drove on, not fast, not slow…
'How good a shooter was he?'


'Not the best we ever had, not the worst.'

No way would anybody call this guy small. Not large, but definitely not small, either.
Outside the air was still and it was neither hot nor cold.
She drove like a robot, competently, not fast, not slow…
Reacher walked through the dark in the dirt ten feet south of the driveway. Not fast, not slow.
Reacher walked on. Not fast, not slow.
He touched one hand with the other. Dry. Not warm, but no longer cold.


Write a positive review or don’t write a review at all? I don’t think so. Now, where’s my review copies of his other books?

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That is quite revealing and more than somewhat damning.


I have read and enjoyed (up to a point) 3 of the Reacher novels and have certainly not noticed anything as poor as those extracts!

I can't wait to see the side of the defence once Hazel QC has mounted it...


And thanks, Adrian, that made me laugh out loud. Not quietly, not loudly.

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I can't wait to see the side of the defence once Hazel QC has mounted it...


Alas, there is no defence. They are complete tripe, but I love them. It's pure action/fantasy for me, completely implausible and ridiculous but what the hell. Adrian, your excerpts are indeed damning, and I can offer no defence for my love for this series. And decisions as to my punishment?
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