Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Hard Way by Lee Child

Released: May 2006

It's been a few years since I reviewed anything by Lee Child, and that's mainly because I allowed Tom Cruise to ruin Jack Reacher's character for me (temporarily, at least). It's taken me this long to get over it, especially since having finished One Shot, which is the book on which the Jack Reacher film was based. Now, I can happily move on and pray they don't make another Reacher movie starring Tom Cruise.

The Hard Way, which is the 10th book in the Jack Reacher series, is one of the best Reacher novels I've read yet. This novel pretty much redeemed my bad experience with One Shot.

Enjoying a cuppa, minding his own business

Jack Reacher is wandering around the U.S. as usual -- this time, he's spending time in New York City. While enjoying a cup of coffee at a sidewalk cafe for the second night in a row, Reacher is approached by a businessman wanting to know if Reacher had witnessed a certain man getting into a car the night before. Reacher then finds himself involved in helping a millionaire solve the kidnapping of his wife and stepdaughter. The more Reacher investigates and learns about the wife's disappearance, the more he realizes his new employer may not be as wholesome as he seems.

The best mysteries you'll ever read

What I love most about Lee Child's novels is the research and details he incorporates into his writing. The stories are so intricate and well-thought out -- just absolutely brilliant. I love how Reacher's mind works; he misses nothing, and attentive readers can learn how to solve puzzles that would otherwise seem impossible to solve. These books are just excellent. Plus, I love any scenes that play out combat and self-defense. Jack Reacher could be my #1 fiction hero of all time.

The Hard Way is nearly 500 pages long, but the entire novel takes place within just a few days, which makes it incredibly fast-paced. I would sit down with this book, and before I knew it, had breezed through 100 pages in just one sitting.

These novels are so masculine. I appreciate how Lee Child cuts to the chase with sex scenes, which are seriously comprised of one or two sentences; no corny pillow talk for Reacher. Reacher is also extremely appreciative of the world around him, and takes nothing for granted. The man wears the same outfit daily until it wears out and he has to buy a new one, and carries just a toothbrush and money in his pocket. I love how Reacher's missions always benefit the greater good, and that he's usually the best judge of character.

Another funny thing that cracks me up about these novels are their titles, which are always repeated several times in each book. I had to chuckle every time Reacher said something like, "We need to do this the hard way." Movies do the same thing. I watched San Andreas featuring The Rock this past weekend, and upon walking up to a giant rift in the ground, his wife says, "What is this?!" and The Rock says, "It's the SAN ANDREAS FAULT!" It's always so dramatic and hilarious when characters repeat the title of the book or movie.

I'm thrilled that I'm not even halfway through the Jack Reacher series yet! I've got hours of great entertainment ahead of me. The books that follow The Hard Way in the series are Bad Luck and Trouble, Nothing to Lose, Gone Tomorrow, and 61 Hours.

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