Sunday, 9 September 2012

A Wanted Man By Lee Child BOOK REVIEW

Lee Child at Nottingham Waterstones © Nottingham Confidential
If you're looking for trouble, you came to the right place. Starring Jack Reacher, the now iconic maverick loner, drifter and rough, tough hulking hunk of a man's man who's also a big hit with the ladies, A Wanted Man by Lee Child is a rootin' tootin' shootin' rollicking road-trip of a read, immediately careering from one story thread to the next and back again in short and choppy, intriguing and hair-raisingly unpredictable chapters.

As Jack hitches a ride with three strangers and the complex and perplexing story continues apace, the Americanisms and detail are so involving in A Wanted Man that every so often you have to stop and remind yourself that these books are written by a Coventry-born ex-Granada TV presentation director Brit (albeit now New York-ensconced.) Fast-moving and inventive, the book is fundamentally story-driven but there's some really terrific symmetry in the dynamic structure and rhetoric throughout with sharp and slick dialogue "Gas, ass or grass- the price of hitchhiking" and sassy, perfunctory and matter-of-fact one-liners "He had never killed or injured anyone with a car- except deliberately" mixed up with deftly visual contrasts between the huge sweeping expanses of the territory and the claustrophobia of the predicament.

Jack Reacher is a canny creation, and the novels regularly hit the Number One bestseller lists, as this strong, intelligent, individual and reassuringly old-school hero with his fumbling unfamiliarity with mobile phones and sat navs who carries a clock in his own head, still adeptly resonates with modern audiences. This new story features a now de rigeur Scandinavian female detective as well as those familiar Jack Reacher worst case scenario survival tips, such as using duct tape on a broken nose and, in a life or death situation, always remember that all guns kick upward as they fire, together with the book-long riddle of 'How to talk for a minute without using the letter A' (We won't spoil it for you...)

Breathlessly-exciting and engrossing, it's a gripping, ripping yarn and, thrillingly filmic to read, it's only a surprise it's taken thirteen books before the inevitable upcoming Jack Reacher movie is finally out this December. Six foot five, eyes ice blue, massive in stature, reputation and fanbase, those are dirty great boots to fill, good luck, Tom Cruise.

A Wanted Man by Lee Child is published by Bantam Press and is available now priced £18.99. You can find out more about Lee Child at

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