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Book Review: Worth Dying For by Lee Child


Worth Dying For, Lee Child

Yesterday on desk I saw a copy of the latest Jack Reacher novel, Worth Dying For by Lee Child. I took it with me to lunch, skipped over the passages which lovingly describe bullet velocity, rifle finishes, fist to thorax calculations, and I was done by midnight. It was my evening shift and I was up late. I can’t ever unwind after an action packed evening at the library.

That’s sort of a joke. There was action. A man howled and yammered at me when I told him that we would be closing in 15 minutes, the same polite, routine speech that everyone gets at that time of night.

Before he could get too hoarse, I hurried along. I wanted to get home and read.

Worth Dying For picks up shortly after 61 Hours.  If you like the Reacher series at all, this book is exactly what you hope it is. It has lots of action, lots of tough guys, and an absurd assortment of bad guys. This time out Jack is in a small town in the Nebraska plains, fighting a weird hick family of truckers who share a dark secret (don’t they always?).

The Duncans hold the farmlands in terror. They run everything. They are like the rich white guy who owns the whole town in Roadhouse, and exists just to be rich and powerful and evil. Well, we saw what Swayze did to that poor chap, and Reacher’s justice ups the ante a bit.

The Duncans also employ, I kid you not, 10 “Cornhuskers,” elite football players who played in college but were just not quite good enough for the NFL. Meaning: they’re really big and tough. But not big or tough enough, of course. But seriously, Tom Cruise has been cast in the role. You think Tom Cruise is going to be able to stand up to 10 football players? Pfffffft.

Jack winds up in the middle of this mess, which eventually comes to include a 25 year old mystery about a missing girl. Along the way, he gets to utter some very enjoyable passages, like this one:

Reacher: You spent four years playing a game. I spent 13 years in the military learning to kill people. How scared do you think I am?

Cornhusker: …

And good grief, these poor suckers get dealth with this time out.

It’s corny, it’s fun, and I loved it. It made me laugh to realize that this was all happening so soon after the events in 61 Hours. Kind of like the opening episode of 24 each season. I’d think, Really? Again? There’s another situation out in the middle of nowhere that gets started because Reacher gets pissed off when he learns that one of the Duncan’s hits his wife?

But so what? It was a blast. A friend once said to me that these books are the equivalent of trashy romance for men. I think I agree.

I also enjoyed that the book is set on a completely flat expanse of land where there is literally nowhere to hide. The flat piece of dirt that is Nebraska actually made for an interesting character.

If you’re new to the series and want to start from the beginning–not necessary, but there are things in later novels that make more sense if you’ve read them in order–please check out the Lee Child books in order of publication post.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jodi Kaplan July 29, 2011, 7:33 am

    Well one of his other books (Gone Tomorrow) is waiting for me at the library. I’m not quite sure if I read Worth Dying For or not (will have to check my list).

    Meanwhile, your friend’s comment is funny! I would like to amend that to say “trashy novels for women who hate romance novels.”

  • Casey (North and Clark) July 29, 2011, 2:23 pm

    I read one of the Lee Child novels “Watchman” it was pretty good, but didn’t make me want to run out and get everything he ever wrote. The action set pieces could be great, but the parts with the love object I found myself trying to jump past, not cause I don’t like romance in a pot boiler, but because I couldn’t stand her. Do you have a favorite you would point me toward?