Review – The Hard Way

The Hard Way

By Lee Child

Bantam Dell

ISBN:978-0-440-24103-4

4 stars

I’ve read a number of Lee Child’s books and there is one overriding thing I need to remind myself to do each time I start one — forget reality.  Please don’t take this to mean that I don’t like the books, because I do, it’s just that his characters, Jack Reacher in particular, always end up in the craziest situations that a person, a sane person, would have walked away from or never become involved in to begin with.  But, that is what also makes them interesting, so now I just go with the forget all reality tactic and I find enjoy the books much better.

Jack Reacher is back in New York City and spending time in a café drinking coffee, a favorite pastime of his.  One evening, he sees a man get into a car and drive away.  The next day, he’s approached about the small but rather forgettable event and ends up drawn into a kidnapping case that also involves a handful of rouge mercenaries on call for the U.S. government.  Unsure of how to walk away from the group he’s found himself oddly tied to because he can’t be certain that the kidnapped mother and daughter will be safe, he gets drawn deeper into the case and goes out of his way to help rescue two people he’s never met.

Oh, Reacher, how do you manage to rescue so many people in so short a time?  Also, how is it you manage to always be in the right place when trouble happens?  I want to be annoyed with these books because there is a huge disconnect between what happens and general reality (You know, reality for normal people.) but I can’t be.  Once I let go and fall into these books, I can’t help it, I’m stuck until I find out that Reacher has managed to save someone, stop something from blowing up, or just save the world in general.  I’m not a thriller reader either but these books put me into some sort of catatonic reading mode and I have to finish and find out that everything has worked out fine in the end.  I say that because everything always works out fine in the end.  At least that’s been the case for the books I’ve read in the Reacher series.

A co-worker of mine lends these books to me and I’ll admit there have been a few bombs along the way but for the most part, I enjoy them.  They’re one off books which can be read in one sitting and you don’t have to have read them in any sort of order to understand the plot.  By the way, the plot is pretty much always the same — something bad happens, Reacher shows up, saves the day.  These are books you pull out on a rainy or slow day and you just read.  You’ll be entertained by the end and glad that a co-worker loaned you that book.  You’ll also be tempted to write something nice about their sharing abilities so they loan you more.

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Deliver Us From Evil

Deliver Us From Evil

Deliver Us From Evil

By David Baldacci

Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Books

ISBN: 978-0-446-56408-3

3.5 stars

Evan Waller is a monster. A sadistic and ruthless killer, he cares for nothing and no one. His business practices are cold and methodical; money being his only goal. He traffics in women, children, and nuclear weapons and people in the world believe he should be brought to justice. One such person is Reggie Campion, a member of a secret vigilante group. Her group has an agenda and that is to hunt down Waller, show him his deeds, and bring justice. She intends to kill him. Unfortunately, she is not the only person hunting Waller. Shaw, a mysterious operative from an unknown government agency, is also out for Waller. When Waller, Reggie, and Shaw all end up in Provence, the hunt begins.

There is one thing I need to say right off the start with this book — Waller is a great bad guy. He’s cruel, disgusting, scary, cold, calculating, and just so good at being bad that you honestly want him to be dead. And you don’t want his death to be a pleasant or easy one, the guy should suffer. So when two people do try to kill him, you find yourself cheering them on. OK, so I was a bit disturbed by the fact that I was cheering on two characters to take the life of a third but he was that bad!

While it’s an engrossing and fast read, there are a few corny lines and some “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me,” moments in this book. And it’s a, “I’ve got your back do you have mine?” line that is the culprit I’m hinting about here. Some of the dialog felt odd, old, and a bit bumbling, but this didn’t ruin it. While those hokey lines take you out of the story for a breather, there is enough to pull you back in quickly. This is a story about people out to murder a murderer, and there are a few torture scenes that I could have gone without reading, but they did fit so I can’t say they were too much.

The ending, I feel I must address it. No, don’t worry, I won’t be ruining it by telling you any more than this — for me it felt predictable. I think I was expecting more from the bad guy. Up to this point in the book he had been much more creative and while it’s a fast paced ending, I felt as if it had been done before. There is one more thing that bothered me about the ending but in the spirit of not giving it all away I will say no more than it was just too easy.

Now, you will be entertained by this book, if you like thrillers like this, but once the book is done, you’ll move on to the next easily without lingering. I don’t think this is a bad thing as there are a lot of books out there that I don’t find myself thinking about after I turn the last page. It’s just a warning from me and how I felt, you might have a completely different reaction so feel free to ignore this. If you’re looking for something to keep you busy on a plane or at the beach, it’s not a bad pick.

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. The idea is to give everyone a look inside the book you’re reading.

Play along: Grab your current read; Open to a random page; Share two teaser sentences from that page; Share the title and author so that other participants know what you’re reading.

This week, I’m reading Deliver Us From Evil by David Baldacci.

“The ninety-six year old man sat in his comfy armchair enjoying a book on Joseph Stalin. No mainstream publisher would touch the delusion-filled manuscript since the author had been unfailingly complimentary about the sadistic Soviet leader.” (1)

What are you teasing us with this week?

Deliver Us From Evil

Persuader

 

Persuader

Persuader

Persuader

By Lee Child

A Dell Book

ISBN: 9780440241003

4 stars

Jack Reacher is a man of many talents, chiefly among them seems to be rescuing others in dire circumstances. His former career as a military police officer seems to be a constant fall back — as much as he does try to distance himself from it.

Persuader opens with a shoot out on a college campus and Reacher just happens to be there to save student Richard Beck from being kidnapped. With the dramatic rescue accomplished, he worms his way into the family’s house and finds a job as a body guard.

As it turns out, Reacher isn’t really there to protect anyone but himself. He’s been sent in off the books by Susan Duffy, an agent from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), to rescue another DEA agent who went silent. He’s also there for another more personal reason — he plans to settle an old score with a man named Quinn who is supposed to be dead.

As with all Lee Child books I have read, this one starts out at a brisk pace and keeps going. There are a lot of characters and numerous twists but he some how manages to keep it easy to follow. The suspense is high and readers stand to learn a lot about guns and other ways to kill. While it might not be an interesting point for every reader, imagining Reacher inspecting each gun he is either given or stolen is an intriguing insight into the character and his background.

There is one thing to note with Lee Child novels — you need to suspend all belief to get the most out of it. Reacher is a drifter who was downsized out of the army and spends his days hitching rides across the U.S. He carries no bags and has no family, the way he likes it. Yet, he somehow always manages to be in the right place at the right time and some government agency is always salivating to hire him for an off the books job after a peek at his service record.

This doesn’t make the books bad. It’s the exact opposite. You keep reading because you want to find out how he’s going to get out of a hostage situation, fight his way out of a locked room, and get the girl; which in almost every single book I’ve read this year (and there were seven of them) he has.

Enjoy this book for what it is — a fast paced thriller that will keep you engaged to the very end.