Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Review: A WANTED MAN by Lee Child

A WANTED MAN by Lee Child (Bantam, 2012)

Reviewed by Craig Sisterson

While most of the Jack Reacher talk lately has focused on whether Tom Cruise managed to satisfyingly evoke the towering, taciturn hero on screen or not, fans of Lee Child’s long-running series at least now have another new Reacher adventure to enjoy on the page. After a brief dalliance with his actions-speak-louder hero’s past in The Affair, it’s back to present-day crime fighting and wrong righting with A Wanted Man, the seventeenth Reacher novel.

Following on from Worth Dying For, the itinerant ex-military cop once again finds himself stumbling into the middle of more nastiness, this time as he's hitchhiking through rural Nebraska. Destination Virginia; at least, that’s the original plan. But when do things go to plan when Reacher is involved? Picked up by three strangers, the face-mangled Reacher can tell they’re lying about something – but is it to do with the police roadblocks they pass? 

The driver is focused, the male passenger tells stories that don't seem to mesh. Meanwhile the woman in the back with Reacher seems worried, even scared. Of Reacher? Of the two men? Or of something else? Did they pick Reacher up not to simply help a fellow traveller but because they needed a decoy? 

Meanwhile the FBI is on the trail after the execution-style killing of a man at a gas station, and Reacher finds himself caught up in a battle where it's not clear who's wrong and who's right. 

A Wanted Man will please long-time fans, ticking all Child’s usual boxes: a propulsive plotline that keeps you turning the page, plenty of action and excitement, and at its core, Reacher, the dishevelled wanderer who is driven to help the innocent but leaves plenty of carnage in his wake.

Entertaining more than enlightening, it’s another enjoyable read in a popular series. 

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