I was never a big reader of fiction during my school and university years. There was never the push to read recreationally or for fun that there is today, which is a shame. Nonetheless I do enjoy reading and really starting taking up the hobby in my 20’s. My favourite genre is crime fiction and my favourite authors are Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Linwood Barclay and Harlan Coben.
One of the best series of books are Lee Child’s stories centred on the main character Jack Reacher. Now many people know this name from the recent films, which are based on 2 of his books. The films I felt never did the character justice and I know there are a lot of Reacher fans out there that really didn’t like the film adaptation starring Tom Cruise. Personally, I am ok with it, but you have to set the books aside from the films and critique them in their own environment.
I started reading the series from the beginning, the first book is Killing Floor. This book is action packed and was a real page turner for me. I really enjoyed the style of writing and get a sense of the main character. I can understand how this book won the Anthony Award for best novel. When I finished reading this book, I knew I must read more in the series. So I systematically read through the series up until the latest installment.
The first few books were really intense and action packed, Die Trying was the second book I read and although a completely different plot angle to the first, the character of Jack Reacher continued to shine through and I felt more and more like I was getting to know him. Once you have read a few of these early Reacher books it is easy to understand all the controversy over Tom Cruise playing a part like Reacher in a movie. In the books Jack Reacher is well over 6ft with a huge frame, it doesn’t really fit Tom Cruise at all. However, Lee Child has often said that the size of Reacher is a metaphor rather than a physical presence. Artistic license aside, I still believe there are better actors out there who could have played a character like Reacher, even though I am a Tom Cruise fan.
One of my favourite books in the series is The Visitor. This is so plot entwining it takes you right up until the final few pages before you actually realise what is going on, an excellent story and well worth a read. Probably my most disappointing read was A Wanted Man. This just didn’t have the action and suspense the other books had, I found the story unrealistic and rather boring at times. It certainly wasn’t the page turner many of the others were and I was unsure of whether or not I would continue to read the series. Luckily the next few books were back to their best. Never Go Back which is what the second film was based on is much better as a book and well worth a read. Personal, which follows this book is even better and brings international suspense for Reacher. I read this book in just a couple of days and was happy that finally both Lee Child and Jack Reacher were back to their best.
If you haven’t read any Lee Child novels yet, I would highly recommend you reading Killing Floor to being with. It is his first novel and a great way to start and get a sense of the Jack Reacher character.