Jack Reacher books - any good?

(58 Posts)
AnonYonimousBird Thu 27-Jun-13 09:49:12

I know I am late to the party, but I keep hearing about JR books - are they for kids/teens, or are they "grown up" books?

And, furthermore, are they actually any good or just holiday/beach fodder to read with only one eye open? I genuinely know nothing about them and as the name keeps popping up I am interested to know!

Looking for some reading material for DH for over the holidays, he always leaves it til the last minute and I suspect deepest rural France may not have a massive supply of books in English!

Travelledtheworld Thu 27-Jun-13 10:02:43

I love them !
definitely for adult or late teens since they are quite violent.
Jack is an ex US Army major,, now a drifter who travels round the USA odd jobbing and crime solving. I like the way every novel is set in a different location. Jack travel light with a Toothbrush and a debit card and little else.

I find them compulsive reading. I you like crime/ action/ thrillers then they make great holiday reading. Knock spots off James Patterson, I don't like his style at all. Too predictable.

I am also a great fan of Elmore Leonard.

There is also a film starring Tom Cruise but I don't think it was very good. TC not right for the title role. jack is a very hard man.

Hope you enjoy.

Travelledtheworld Thu 27-Jun-13 10:04:04

Yes, I reckon your DH will enjoy them.

Portofino Thu 27-Jun-13 10:04:46

I love, love, love Jack Reacher. He can kill a man with his bare hands but seems to be quite hot in the sack too grin

Portofino Thu 27-Jun-13 10:05:48

Both attributes which I would not think apply to Tom Cruise.....

AnonYonimousBird Thu 27-Jun-13 10:18:49

Portofino - I'm with you there!

Well, I think I may get one (do you need to read them in order???) and see what we think.

Thanks all.

ZacharyQuack Thu 27-Jun-13 13:16:10

I love Jack Reacher. The first one is Killing Floor, but each one is stand alone so you don't have to read them in order. Because he is a loner and he travels, each book has a different location and a different cast of characters.

You're going to read one and you're going to love it and then you'll be so happy that there are 16 more books to read.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Thu 27-Jun-13 13:32:59

Love 'em! Originally bought one several years ago in a supermarket for DH to read on hols. We ended up ripping it in half so he could start reading it before I finished grin Sheer escapism, each year I buy two copies of the latest for DH & I to read on the first night of pour hols, and now that DS (15) has nearly caught up with the backlog, this year will be 3 copies grin

A guilty pleasure, like eating your kids Easter eggs in my opinion (not the most amazing quality but satisfying).

PipkinsPal Thu 27-Jun-13 14:52:38

I enjoyed reading them but thought it a bit far fetched that an army veteran drifter would be given such a free reign in a town to solve a crime.

ChewingOnLifesGristle Thu 27-Jun-13 15:03:24

I've just finished the fourth (The Visitor). The first three were absolutely brilliant. I just couldn't put them down.

This last one not so good I think. Could be a need a break for a while though.

Really though they are very good. Some things you have to suspend your belief for ie Jack never seems to change his clothes or own anything other than a toothbrush. Secondly that he honed his superpower skills in the military police. Bit unlikely, but hey who cares...!? He's such a hero <awaits rescue>.

My dh never reads books until we go on holiday then 0n day 7 when he's run out of magazines and old papers he starts moaning about wishing he'd brought a book. This year I have a copy of The Killing Floor hidden away for him and I think he'll love it.

marissab Thu 27-Jun-13 21:06:23

I read half the first one and got bored blush clearly i'm in the minority though. When i'm through with my current SK obsession may revisit.

JumpingJackSprat Thu 27-Jun-13 21:10:16

I read a good book which seems similar called covenant by dean crawford... might be more similar to dan brown anyway i thoughtvit was good smile

FannyMcNally Thu 27-Jun-13 21:21:31

I love them but never read them one after the other as they are very similar. I love Jack's thinking skills and logic. It's probably a load of old rubbish but it sounds brilliant to me! Fantastic body as well grin Each book I read I get slightly bored near the end where the final showdown is related in laborious detail so I skip that and get to the part where he's won the battle and all the bad people are dead and the good people who are still alive (there are always a couple of casualties) are returned to normality and he gets back on the road again.

Definitely light reading though.

3monkeys Thu 27-Jun-13 21:23:15

Fab! I got my first one at Heathrow. They are easy reading

Doingfine Thu 27-Jun-13 21:25:19

Far better than the rubbishy film

mikkii Thu 27-Jun-13 21:31:06

I love them. You could also try David Baldacci, I'm working my way through him at the mo. I find them a bit slow to start, then impossible to put down.

delboysfileofax Thu 27-Jun-13 21:31:31

I've read all of them now, some are definitely better than others, although I did swear I wouldn't buy any more when Lee Child sold out to Tom Cruise. Seriously, how the fuck did he give the ok for that casting! angry

Worth dying for probably my favourite out of them all

Nerfmother Thu 27-Jun-13 21:33:19

I read the first one and then the last one and now I am desperate for the August release one which sounds fantastic and different. I think anymore would be overload, like Harlan Coben ( who I love but have to space out)

ChewingOnLifesGristle Thu 27-Jun-13 22:04:07

Out of interest which actor do you imagine Reacher to look like?

Liam Neeson is pretty much how he looks in my head. The film Taken was very Jack Reacher in style I thought.

delboysfileofax Thu 27-Jun-13 22:05:53

Not an actor but in my head he's Martin Johnson (ex England rugby player) In terms of size, build and looks

MrsReacher Thu 27-Jun-13 22:14:36

I prefer the earlier novels to be honest. I used to buy each book as soon as it came out but have found the last couple a bit disappointing. They seem to have lots of descriptive page filling rather than the story lines from the earlier books

Agree about Tom Cruise. Refused to watch the film. Also thought they would have been better with Killing Floor or a more action packed book to make into the first film

AnonYonimousBird Fri 28-Jun-13 14:24:50

Thanks all, sounds like if I get DH the first three say, then that should see him through a holiday quite nicely!

Either Liam Neeson or Martin Johnson is fine by me...... wink. So glad you said that, otherwise that dweeb TC would have been stuck in my memory!

AnonYonimousBird Fri 28-Jun-13 14:35:28

Couldn't resist, first one ordered to arrive tomorrow!!

Lavenderhoney Fri 28-Jun-13 14:40:16

He'll love themsmile my favourite is " the hard way" but they are all good and quite addictive.

Don't be put off by Tom cruise and I notice the books have been released with pics of Tom on the cover. This would put anyone off- maybe you could cover them with nice paper insteadsmile

MrsSalvoMontalbano Fri 28-Jun-13 14:55:56

AnonYonimousBird - he will be your slave forever! grin

AnonYonimousBird Fri 28-Jun-13 20:12:51

Hey, Mrs Salvo, I'll gladly be a slave to YOUR husband forever, just spotted the name (pant, pant).

MrsSalvoMontalbano Fri 28-Jun-13 20:59:18


diabolo Mon 01-Jul-13 12:29:42

OP :

1. Read them all
2. Read them in order
3. Forget all about any link to Teeny-Tom
4. Enjoy the next few weeks while you read them.


JRmumma Mon 01-Jul-13 15:42:22

You cant go wrong with the Jack Reacher books IMO. They aren't heavy going so a good holiday read (although I need 2 books for a week away if im taking a Jack Reacher as you cannot put it down and will read very quickly, get someone else to remind you to re-apply sun cream!). I would read in order as there are references to previous books in the later ones which either may not make sense or may spoil the earlier ones if read after, but its not essential to have read all of the previous books if you happen to pick up one in the middle of the series as a one-off, they are all stand-alone books. Id also recommend reading a different book in between JR books otherwise they will seem a bit samey.

Any Jack Reacher fan worth their salt was annoyed at the film and especially the choice of actor. Although I think Tom Cruise played it well, it is in no way a true reflection of the character that Ian Child portrays in the books. I imagine JR to be a cross between Hunter from Gladiators (i know, weird) in terms of size, and looking a bit like Channing Tatum.

CoteDAzur Mon 01-Jul-13 19:32:06

I just finished the 1st Jack Reacher book. It was a good "beach read" - light, easy to read, a fun suspense.

It's written in 1st person singular, in very short sentences and with a 150-word vocabulary so makes Jack sound like a bit of an idiot, though smile

cocolepew Mon 01-Jul-13 19:35:25

I loved them but didn't finish the last one, they are getting very repetitive.
Love, love, love Harlan though.

NightOwl17 Mon 01-Jul-13 19:40:56

They are brilliant books. Very addictive. I have read about 10 in a row now. In my head, although he isn't an actor, I picture Lawrence Dallaglio, the ex rugby union player. I think his size and build are perfect. Although saying that, I have watched the film and wasn't as bothered by Tom Cruise as I thought I would be

Gravity1 Mon 01-Jul-13 19:45:47

There's a quote in one of the books blurbs that says 'Men want to be him, women want to be with him.' And it appears to be true - as a character he seems to have universal appeal. Not a hugely intellectual read admittedly, but so far as pure escapism and good plotting goes, Reacher is fab!

Gravity1 Mon 01-Jul-13 19:47:07

And Liam Neeson my fave suggestion so far - has to be rugged! Tom Cruise? God no!

CoteDAzur Mon 01-Jul-13 20:57:16

Liam Neeson would have been good. He fit that role in Taken perfectly.

diabolo Tue 02-Jul-13 09:11:55

NightOwl - Lee Child wrote the character with Dallaglio in mind.

ChewingOnLifesGristle Tue 02-Jul-13 10:22:28

Not being very up on rugby I wasn't sure who Lawrence Dallaglio was (blush I knew the name but not the face) but just Googled and yes yes he'd be a perfect Reacher.

Absolutely what diablo said!

Think he's brilliant, but disappointed with the Teenytom sell out, though.

Someone suggested Jim Cavaziel(sp?) and yup, he'd be ideal.

But, hey, Butler could do it with friffing knobs on, and I know there's at least one other poster who would utterly agree with me on that.


AnonYonimousBird Thu 04-Jul-13 08:42:30

DH is at least a third into the first book. He's not given me much feedback other than a) actually reading it which tells me something and b) "pretty punchy"! Which I think was a positive....

Thanks all. I am at the library later, so may see if I can hunt down a couple more for holiday.

LaQueen Thu 04-Jul-13 20:57:28

I picked up A Wanted Man, and thought 'God this looks crap...' then 5 pages in I was bleddy hooked. Couldn't put it down blush

Before I even finished it, I downloaded the first 10 books to my Kindle...DH looked at me like this hmm when he accessed our Amazon account.

They are formulaic, but very satisfying to read. And actually very informative.

Complete joke that Tom Cruise was picked to play Jack Reacher...in the books he's 6ft 5" ...as I recall, Tom Thumb is 5ft 6" ...did they confuse the statistics.

Although, I did think Tom did play the part with plenty of edgy grit, and not his usual affable schmooze, which was a relief.

LaQueen Thu 04-Jul-13 21:00:26

Why who could you be thinking of Missy Chaos [looks winsome]

But, yes Mr Butler, would make a damn fine Mr Reacher.

I love them. I've read them all, started with number five I think and wasn't too impressed but was persuaded to start again from the beginning of the series.

What I like is that some are written in first person, some in third person. I only figured out one of them before I got to the end!

I liked the last few the best, with the exception of the latest one which disappointed me.

AnonYonimousBird Wed 10-Jul-13 09:39:48

DH is officially hooked and I am going to order him 3 more for holiday! Which to choose?!

Easiest thing feels like just going in order but if there are any particularly excellent ones, then please let me know!

ChocChaffinch Wed 10-Jul-13 09:41:18

Liam Neeson is my Jack

Tom Cruise wasn't awful in the movie, just wrong.

Have read them all, agree formulaic but V interesting, I know a lot more about weapons and military assaults now hmm

ChocChaffinch Wed 10-Jul-13 09:42:51

better to read in order if you can;
the story of Jacks ups and downs are fascinating
the last book needs to be last read grin

I liked the terrorist on the train one the best, the 11 signs of a terrorist or sommat 'Gone Tomorrow'

ChocChaffinch Wed 10-Jul-13 09:44:49
ZacharyQuack Wed 10-Jul-13 09:57:07

My favorites (though I would happily re-read any of them) are:

Die Trying - this was the first one I read - read much of it standing in a book shop on my lunch break then bought it and read the rest that evening.

Bad Luck and Trouble - Reacher gets together with his old army unit, so I liked the extra characters

One Shot - good plot with the sniper, I'm pretending the Cruise parody never happened.

Gone Tomorrow - the suicide bomber on the train and Crocs!

61 Hours and Worth Dying For - These two plus A Wanted Man sort of go together as their timelines follow immediately on from each other, but are separate plots.

The Hard Way - Reacher goes to the UK

AnonYonimousBird Wed 10-Jul-13 10:01:30

Thanks Choc - I think I am just going to order 2, 3 and 4 from Amazon... though suicide bomber one sounds brilliant. I may even read one myself when we go away!

AnonYonimousBird Wed 10-Jul-13 10:03:29

Next three are:
Die Trying
The Visitor.....

Zach, you only have one of those on your list - maybe we should jump ahead a bit? Decisions, decisions!

bamboobutton Wed 10-Jul-13 10:06:11

Love them! My fave is the one set in Montana, can't remember if it's called die trying or worth dying forconfused

Your dh might like Andy mcnab too, books about an ex army guy being all hard and heroic.

AnonYonimousBird Wed 10-Jul-13 10:16:44

He's read every McNab going!!! But we've only just discovered Jack Reacher and it seems he has a year's worth of reading already set out in front of him......

ZacharyQuack Wed 10-Jul-13 10:27:02

Tripwire and The Visitor (which was published as Running Blind in the USA) are both very good too but didn't make my top list because of the annoying Jodie with her skinny arms and skippy wee legs. Those two kind of go together because of annoying Jodie, but with standalone storylines.

Die Trying is set in Montana, Worth Dying For is set in Nebraska.

TheMoonOnAStick Wed 10-Jul-13 10:30:36

Oh good lord yes isn't Jodie annoying??hmm

I'd rather she wasn't in the books. Her presence doesn't bring out the best in Jack. I want him free to roam. Not squirming with indecision and being a bit of a prat about it.

AnonYonimousBird Wed 10-Jul-13 11:17:23

Ooo, I reckon DH will get irritated by annoying Jodie (not that I've met her!) so maybe we need to skip over those!

interregnum Mon 22-Jul-13 17:12:03

If you like Reacher may I recommend Tom Wood with his three
Victor books, you won't be disappointed.

TerribleTantrums Mon 22-Jul-13 18:57:32

Die Trying was the first one that I read, and it's still my favourite. I think some of the later ones try a bit too hard to convolute the plot.

Liam Neeson is perfect for older Reacher, but Philip Winchester is the embodiment of younger Reacher.

Jack Reacher is a briliant character, and the books aren't exactly hard going so the perfect holiday reading. Lee Child does go a bit OTT on the details of weaponry at times though, but I don't really mind that. One Shot is my favourite of the series so far, so I was really annoyed that that was the one they decided to make with Tom Cruise.

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