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WORTH DYING FOR
by Lee Child
Delacorte, October 2010
400 pages
$28.00
ISBN: 0385344317


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In Lee Child's latest thriller, WORTH DYING FOR, Jack Reacher is again—or should I say still—in a sparsely populated, desolate part of the West. For those of us who have been obsessed by the cliffhanger ending of the last Reacher book, let me say that you won't find out how he survived until you are a third of the way through this one—although just the appearance of this book lets you know that he is still around. Reacher says he is trying to reach Virginia, but he doesn't seem to be trying very hard. Ex-military, trained to kill, he is a man of few words and much action. Threaten him, as some characters do early on, and you will lose—not just the current fight but also the further use of various essential body parts like knees and elbows and perhaps other more tender items. He maims and he kills, but always thoughtfully and for what he considers good reasons. To say Jack Reacher commits too many violent acts is akin to saying that applesauce contains too many apples. He is who he is.

In this latest book, however, he seems to be in part creating the trouble that he fixes. He seems initially to be getting involved in things when he should be minding his own business. He tracks down the abusive husband of a woman he just happens to meet and breaks the man's nose. And since the husband happens to be part of a much bigger criminal family, well, Reacher is in for it. Again.

Now, it may sound like I am not pleased with Reacher's behavior, but that is only partially true and only at the start of the book. I am always pleased to be back with Reacher, this perpetual wanderer who gives a whole new meaning to the idea of traveling light. Do you try to get it all into a carry-on? Reacher gets it all into his pocket. And all he carries happens to be a foldable toothbrush. When his clothes get dirty or worn, he throws them in the trash and buys new ones. He hitches around the country because he wants to live nowhere and own nothing. That's just how he is. And any woman he gets involved with will not get to keep him for very long.

Jack Reacher does tend to grow on you—and at around 250 pounds and 6' 5" tall, that is saying quite a lot. The mystery he helps unravel in this book is intriguing. Why is an entire town intimidated by a family of long-haul truckers? And what does this have to do with the unsolved disappearance of a little girl decades before? Lee Child is a strong writer and the action scenes are carefully constructed. Although I had some problems with Reacher's trouble-seeking behavior at the start, by the end my only problem was that I had read WORTH DYING FOR too quickly and would now have to wait many months for the next Reacher installment.

Anne Corey is a writer, poet, teacher and botanical artist in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Reviewed by Anne Corey, October 2010

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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