Friday, June 5, 2015

Die Trying

The second novel in the extended Jack Reacher series by author Lee Child is entitled Die Trying. Folks who read my review of the first book, Killing Floor, might remember that I approached this second book already with a bad feeling in my stomach but with an attempt to stay hopeful. Killing Floor would likely have only gotten a "C" is a community college writing course due to its 2D characters, its weak story telling, its choppy brittle prose, and it overall levels of implausibility and utter contrivance. However, my mindset was that this was a best-selling series and there had to be good reason for that. So, I chalked up the weak first novel as a Child's first tentative steps into the world of writing. I figured that his second book had to be better.

The story involves a plot by a group of Montana militiamen, who had carved out their own small territory in an abandoned mining town, to declare independence from the United States. The men in power within this group are all dim-witted, right-wing conspiracy nuts who are sucked into the charismatic despotism of their leader. Their plan is to kidnap an FBI agent in Chicago who happens to be the daughter of the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs and the godchild of the President. However, just at the moment they make their move to take agent Holly Johnson, Jack Reacher just happens to be walking down the street. The bad guys then grab both Holly and Jack and sweep them off to their remote area in Montana. What happens from that moment until the moment when Reacher has killed off each and every one of the bad guys is just more of the same contrived nonsense in scene after scene. It read like a rejected A Team script.

At this point I am at a complete loss for how there can be so many 4- and 5-star reviews on Amazon for this comic-book cartoon inanity. With so many really good writers producing so many amazing stories, I just cannot imagine how this one gained such traction. The next book in the series, Tripwire, is on my reading list only because I own the first six books in the series and am really curious if there absolutely anything worthwhile here.