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Jack Reacher books are quick, entertaining reads

By by kathleen duncankduncan@vicad.com
Jan. 2, 2013 at midnight
Updated Jan. 1, 2013 at 7:02 p.m.


Jack Reacher. Six feet, 5 inches and 220 pounds. Ex-military policeman and all-around tough guy. Maybe you've heard of him?

I was talking to my father one day and he started ranting a bit about the new "Jack Reacher" movie starring Tom Cruise. (Book-related ranting runs in the family). He talked about how the movie was based on a very extensive book series, but they had cast it all wrong.

Jack Reacher was supposed to be huge. Burly. Muscular. A giant. He stands out in a crowd, intimidates the bad guys and is able to throw down on any enemy who gets in his way. Though I am not usually one to pick up light crime-action novels, it made me curious, and I thought I'd give them a try.

"Killing Floor," the first in the series, opens over breakfast. Reacher watches as cops burst into a diner to arrest him for a murder he didn't commit. He is interrogated and jailed, though there is no evidence against him. Reacher becomes intrigued by the cop's inability to realize he isn't the murderer, but he stays out of it. It isn't his problem.

Suddenly, it becomes personal when he finds out that the person murdered is none other than his own brother, Joe. Reacher then takes down each criminal with his military-trained efficient and smooth kick-butt abilities. Reacher not only solves the town's problems but gains a lady friend, Roscoe, who adds a little personality and love interest to the plot.

After "Killing Floor," I read "Die Trying." Now, I'm currently on "Tripwire." This stumbling-upon-a-crime scenario seems to be pretty common so far in the series. In the second book "Die Trying," Reacher helps a woman on the street and ends up being thrown into a vehicle with her, kidnapped and held as part of a rebel militia scenario. In "Tripwire," he is digging pools in Key West when a detective comes looking for him, is killed and then Reacher follows the detective's trail to discover himself once again involved in something very twisted and personal.

Each book has a crime element, a love element and a lot of action. There is plenty of running, fighting, shooting and scheming to keep you turning the pages to see whose butt gets handed to them next.

Reacher, though not a deep character, is entertaining because he is so incredibly calm, cool and proper. He believes in being polite, treating women well and minding his own business. He only gets involved when a wrong needs to be righted, and then he doesn't give a damn what is legal, only that justice be served, often in blood.

The Reacher books are quick, entertaining reads that will keep your attention on any beach, flight or rainy afternoon. I plan to continue reading and with 15 books in the series, I've only got 12 to go.

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