A good thriller should grab you from the very first page. In the past decades Lee Child has become a master of this and the majority of his Jack Reacher books open at a canter. What would you do if when hitchhiking you got into a car with wrong people? Keep your head down and try to find a way out or get stuck in? This being a Reacher book, our man will not only get stuck in, but also apply some meaty justice.
Reacher is once again traveling the US with only the clothes on his back and a credit card to keep him company. With the promise of a sure thing on his mind he decides to do a bit of hitchhiking. He is picked up by three people all dressed as if they have come from a work’s event, but the vibe is just not right. Surely these two well-to-do men and one women are not linked to the body recently found some miles away?
I have read the majority of Jack Reacher books and know many of the beats by now. The series is like a pair of comfy slippers for a crime thriller fan, as long as they like their crime thrills with plenty of violence. Despite the familiarity, A Wanted Man exudes why Child is such a successful author. The opening section in particular is a master class in contained thrills. This section is all about Reacher being trapped in a situation that he is unsure of; are these people criminals, are they all in on it?
Alongside Reacher’s narrative, we also get that of the investigating police and FBI who have found a body. They put out an APB for any suspicious vehicles and don’t know if Reacher himself is the killer. The to and fro between the chased and chasees allows Child to indulge in some classic Reacher mind gymnastics. This is a characters who likes to think through a situation before acting. He is able to use his experiences to determine what is happening around him. At times Reacher is like a modern day Sherlock Holmes, but with more compulsion to break bones.
Whilst the opening of the book is tense and full of thrills, there is still plenty towards the end for fans of action. Once again Reacher finds himself is a situation against the odds and he must wade through Hollywood levels of bad guys to succeed. I found this section fun, but not as impressive as the opening thriller section. There is something about how Child writes tension that is very impressive.
Wanted is classic Jack Reacher entertainment and is one of the better books in the series. It balances criminal investigation with action that will entertain fans of both. The car sequences at the start are amongst some of the best work that Child has done and as this is the 17th outing for the character, that is pretty impressive. The action towards the end feels a little samey, but that does not stop it being entertaining, as long as you don’t mind a little ultraviolence.
Written on 30th May 2019 by Sam Tyler.
SFBook is entirely funded by Ant including hosting, development and any other costs.
If you enjoy the site please consider a small donation towards the cost of the upkeep and development of SFBook.