Saturday, February 26, 2011

Review: WORTH DYING FOR by Lee Child

WORTH DYING FOR by Lee Child (Bantam, 2010)

Reviewed by Craig Sisterson

There's deadly trouble in the wilds of Nebraska...and Reacher walks right into it. First he falls foul of the Duncans, a local clan that has terrified an entire county into submission. But it's the unsolved case of a missing eight-year-old girl, already decades old, that Reacher can't let go.

The Duncans want Reacher gone - or dead. And it's not just past secrets they're trying to hide. They're awaiting a asecret shipment that's already late - and they have the kind of customers no one can afford to annoy. For as dangerous as the Duncans are, they're just the bottom of a criminal food chain stretching halfway around the world.

Lee Child, whose thrillers regularly top bestseller charts around the world, broke his long-held book-a-year pattern by squeezing in a second Jack Reacher tale, the fifteenth overall, late last year, delighting fans.

The taciturn wandering hero ended the excellent 61 Hours in a precarious position in blizzard-bashed South Dakota. Now he’s resurfaced in the rural expanses of Nebraska, bruised and battered. After dealing out some much-needed street justice to a wife-beater, Reacher finds himself in the cross-hairs of the powerful family who’ve ruled the area through fear and intimidation for decades. The situation worsens when three teams of professional ‘fixers’ arrive in town, looking to protect a lucrative criminal enterprise on behalf of their various bosses, and perhaps wipe out some of the competition. With Reacher caught in the middle.

Child delivers his usual punchy, page-turning style that hooks readers early and takes you on a fun ride. There’s plenty of action and thrills, along with some suspense as to what’s really going on. However, at times I found the storytelling a little ‘thin’ or one-note, enjoyable but not completely engaging or layered. We learn a little more about Reacher, who over the course of the series has become a character with more complexity than is first apparent. But Worth Dying For kind of feels a little like a fun pit-stop between 61 Hours and whatever the future holds.

A good read for the beach, bach or camping ground over summer.

Craig Sisterson is a lawyer turned legal journalist who also writes books features for magazines and newspapers in New Zealand and Australia. He has interviewed dozens of crime writers,and is the founder of the Ngaio Marsh Awards. You can follow him on Twitter: @craigsisterson


  1. I rather enjoyed 61 Hours-- the doctor's timely cortisone injections felt like a bit of a convenient fix (especially since Jack's arms never bothered him thereafter), but it didn't get in the way of a rollicking fun time!!