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What would have made A Wanted Man better?
My first entry into the world of audio-fiction was a Jack Reacher book - The Hard Way. I was so enthralled I went back and read all the rest of the books in the series and have followed them all since, buying most of them the day they are released. I was a smitten fanboy, rating all Reacher books with 4 and 5 stars.
That is....until reading "A Wanted Man".
If you are a diehard Reacher fan, you'll read this book anyway...you won't be able to help yourself. I couldn't. Even though I moaned and groaned nearly all the way through it I just had to finish it...keeping hope that perhaps it would redeem itself. The redemption almost came, but it was far too shallow, too late and too short.
Here are 10 reasons to skip this poorly-cobbled-together, highly contrived, lackluster Reacher book:
1 - no "Colossal Left Hooks" - or really any fighting at all. Just one small scene.
2 - What little gun action is present is filled with grievous errors
3 - Reacher spends the first 1/3 of the book in a car on the highway doing...nada, zilch.
4 - no "Reacher said nothing"
5 - copied story lines from several previous books (Nothing to lose, etc)
6 - Child puts in more anti-american slights
7 - the "Reacher loves numbers" is way overplayed and overdone
8 - no "major love interest", no action with the ladies - has Reacher been neutered?
9 - Reacher's nose is broken the entire book and Dick Hill overacts it with an annoying nasal voice. About an hour into the recording you will want to scratch your ears out.
10 - no "I messed up/I had it all wrong" Reacher moment - when he figures it all out and takes action.
At best, this is just a "black sheep" placeholder in an engaging series that will be followed up by another action-packed thriller.
At worst, "A Wanted Man" leaves us feeling like Child has run out of ideas and is trying desperately to pull the wool over our eyes since his fame almost guarantees that we will buy the books sight-unseen. It seems like he was trying his hand at a psychological thriller, but if that was case, it came across as very amateurish. It makes one wonder if Child has resorted to using a ghost writer.
Poorly written with terrible audio-acting makes this a Must-Skip read.
But you, like me, will probably read it anyway...and after suffering through it, will come back and read my review and see that I was indeed right on all accounts. Shame on us both for supporting this low-spot in the series. Let us hope it is not a sign of things to come. I can't believe I am saying this but I honestly hoped near the end of the book that Jack Reacher was finally being killed off and that this series might actually come to a painful end. This latest version of the character is by far the most pathetic and castrated yet. Perhaps this series has finally run its course. What a sad turn of events. Was Lee Child depressed while writing this book?
If only there was a major motion picture to save it and set things straight.....*groan*
Would you ever listen to anything by Lee Child again?
Yes - I'm clearly an idiot, a sucker for self-abuse.
Would you be willing to try another one of Dick Hill’s performances?
Not if it sounds like this one.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A Wanted Man?
I would cut the first 3/4 of the book. It all becomes revealed as fodder once you get to the final scene.
Any additional comments?
Avoid this one if you can. Total waste of time/money. Send a message to Child that we expect more from his Jack Reacher series.
119 of 123 people found this review helpful
I am a great fan of Lee Child's Jack Reacher series ~ read or listened to them all, most more than once, usually well satisfied. Not this time. The latest Reacher "thriller" is anything but thrilling. If you decide to give it a listen, you can expect:
~ An exceptionally tedious first 90 minutes that seems to have no purpose other than to establish that Reacher can, in fact, drive a car.
~ An evil plot we do not discover until the end of the novel and still find very difficult to care about.
~ A mastermind who makes two appearances, is completely undistinguished, and almost impossible to actually care about.
~ A secondary villain we meet just one time and have no real reason to hate.
~ An exceedingly ho-hum "call to action" for Reacher. We don't know these people so why should we care.
There are MANY more shortcomings here. All in all, A Wanted Man reads/listens as if Lee Child had better things to do and just phoned-in a story, and a weak one at that. Child never develops the characters so that we can even begin to care about them; he does not develop the challenge so we can hardly care about it; and he doesn't even have Reacher hit anyone until more than half way through the novel (which is, of course, what Reacher does best). Even Dick Hill seems bored reading this thing.
Come on! Lee Child can do better than this; he always has. And we, as readers, deserve MUCH better. Skip this one.
If you decide to skip this, here is all you really need to know to bridge the gap from Worth Dying For to the next (better, please) Reacher novel. Small spoilers follow:
Reacher is still hitch-hiking toward Virginia. He still has a broken nose. He gets tangled up with a minor terrorist-related scheme (albeit a largely non-violent one), kills everyone, and is back on the road as the novel ends. You won't care about the details and, if you listen through the 14 hours, you still won't remember them, anyway). The book is THAT bad.
85 of 88 people found this review helpful