Killing Floor and Die Trying, I was left utterly perplexed. How could two such poorly written, wholly contrived, and borderline inane stories have ever gotten published? Furthermore, how could these ham-handed, low-brow efforts ever lead to more than 20 novels in a series that yearly tend to hit the best-seller list? I had to keep reading with the hope that maybe Child found a groove, a decent editor, and some technique. The third novel in the series is entitled Tripwire and I ended up rating this one a notch higher than its two predecessors. Although the story was contrived, filled with stilted characters and dialog, and a plot resolution that was wholly obvious half-way through the narrative, it did keep me turning pages. I would even say that I enjoyed my time with this one and have been given enough hope to continue on with the series.
The story begins with a New York business owner who has gotten his company into quite a pinch. Feeling the pressure as the third generation owner of a once proud firm, and teetering on the edge of financial ruin, he believes his only recourse is to turn to a loan shark to fill the gap with the capital he needs. However, he soon finds out that the loan shark is an evil man, bent on taking everything from him. Jack Reacher happens to be working down in the Florida keys digging pools by day and serving as a club bouncer in the evening. He is satisfied in his obscurity and seems to be enjoying a life now two years removed from being a major in the Army Military Police. However, a small-time detective from New York comes looking for him and winds up dead just a short while later. Before you know it Reacher is pulled into another hair-raising adventure. Dames, intrigue, plotting, and plodding are the usual course of these novels. Once something catches Reacher's attention he will not let it go, especially when it seems to involve a Vietnam helicopter pilot, a heroic young man who apparently died when his chopper was hit and crashed, but now seems embedded in high level corporate scams some 30 years later.
The next novel in the series is entitled Running Blind and I am ready to dive in, still hoping that this series can develop into something worthwhile.