Wednesday, September 28, 2011

CBR-III: Book #44-51

Killing Floor
Die Trying
Running Blind
Echo Burning
The Hard Way
Nothing to Lose
Worth Dying For

In doing the CBR this year I’ve learned that the potential for a series to be incredibly boring is rather high. Sure, there are some series that manage to provide something new and engaging with each book. I think more along the lines of Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire, the Dark Tower, and the Inheritance Cycle. However, after reading the Jason Bourne, Women’s Murder Club, Alex Cross, Nina Wilde/Eddie Chase, and now Jack Reacher series my boredom level has gone through the roof.

Their biggest problem is that they regurgitate. Each book is just a regurgitation of the other. With the good series that I described they all combine to tell one linear story. With these they more or less follow the basis that each book can be stand alone. So, what they end up doing is writing the exact same book over and over again…and again. What they really do is only change some things around, tweak the plot, add something here and there, but it’s essentially the same goddamn story.

Enter this review of the Jack Reacher series.

Jack Reacher is 6’5” and ranges anywhere from 200-250lbs (go figure Tom Cruise is supposed to play him in the theatrical version of One Shot). He’s a former Major with the military police in the U.S. Army and belonged to a unit that was considered the toughest and the best. When he gets out of the Army with an honorable discharge he becomes a drifter. Simply traveling the country by walking, hitchhiking, or bus. On some occasions things come up and he makes money, typically a lot of money, so he’s not a bum.

Here’s how the books go.

He travels to some town, usually arriving on foot, and he comes across something odd. Either something happens to him directly or he witnesses something happening. His old detective nose kicks in and he starts investigating. Usually a crossroads will appear. He can either decide to continue the investigation (which can result is his own personal bodily harm or demise), or he can leave (considering he doesn’t know the people). I…don’t think he ever walked away. At some point he will beat the living shit out of someone, and that someone may or may not actually be bigger than he is. Take the case of Worth Dying For. In that one he beats the shit out of, practically, an entire team of ex-college football players over 6’4” and pushing 300lbs. He’ll probably kill some more folks. He’s very Judge Dredd. An unmasked vigilante that spreads his name around like confetti. He also, almost always, strikes first. Typically with a head butt, an elbow, a knee, or a straight up shot to the nuts. Oh, and he likes uppercuts. Shit, he kills a guy in one punch without even knowing if the guy was an actual bad guy. Thankfully, he was. If this guy existed in real life he would have been in prison a long time ago…on death row…probably dead already. I understand the guy is off the grid, but most of these happen in small towns. I’m pretty sure with a wanted poster that reads the name of Jack Reacher and a description, even his picture that could be obtained from the Army, the cop would figure it out quick. Especially when he walks up to him, or her, and introduces himself. He’s also a bit like James Bond. Only whereas Bond seduces women, they more or less give up and have sex with him. This may be the reason why he has been approached to write for the James Bond series.

You don’t have to read the entire series. In fact I jumped around a bit. In fact most forums will even tell you that you don’t have to read them in order. My favorite though was Nothing to Lose. I don’t really know why, because it was just like all of the others. Maybe it’s the ending.