WORTH DYING FOR by Lee Child

Book Quote:

“Reacher was spending no time on regret or recrimination. No time at all. The time for ruing mistakes and learning from them came later. As always he was focused in the present and the immediate future. People who wasted time and energy cursing recent errors were certain losers.”

Book Review:

Review by Eleanor Bukowsky  (OCT 24, 2010)

Those who enjoyed Lee Child’s 61 Hours were prepared for a breathtaking follow-up. How sad that Worth Dying For is a throwback to a more one-dimensional Jack Reacher, a far less interesting protagonist than the one in 61 Hours. In the previous installment, it was thrilling to see a new version of Reacher—a man with flaws who made mistakes and was not able to win every battle. He also revealed a bit more of his background during telephone conversations with a woman named Susan whom he never meets. Since 61 Hours ended in a cliffhanger, many of us expected that Child would pick up where he left off, perhaps heading in even more new directions.

Unfortunately, that does not happen. Almost all of the threads left dangling at the end of 61 Hours are referred to only in passing. This time around, an injured but still functional Reacher finds himself in a motel in Nebraska. He overhears a drunken physician blowing off a patient named Eleanor Duncan, who has a severe nosebleed. Relying on his sixth sense and experience as a military policeman, Reacher infers that Mrs. Duncan is a victim of domestic violence. Since the doctor is too inebriated to drive, Jack insists on chauffeuring him to the Duncan residence. This turns out to be a huge mistake, since Eleanor Duncan’s husband is a brute whose repulsive family runs the town as if it were their personal fiefdom. When someone has the temerity to cross the Duncans, a team of goons—hulking but not terribly bright former football players—rough them up. The malevolent Duncans have the citizenry in an economic stranglehold, and they have succeeded in covering up their sordid and illegal activities for decades.

Most readers will find the plot rather predictable. Reacher, operating more or less on autopilot, takes on the Duncans, the football players, and three pairs of thugs (two Lebanese, two Iranians, and two Italians, a veritable United Nations without the peacekeeping force). Jack uses semi-mystical powers to predict what his opponents will do and then tries to outmaneuver them. There is enough violence in these pages to satisfy even the most bloodthirsty thriller fan. In fact, there are so many scenes of torture and mayhem that the gore quickly loses its shock value. There is no character development, the dialogue is stilted, the staccato prose quickly becomes tedious, and the story breaks no new ground in a genre that is already filled with tough guys who act as judge, jury, and executioner. If you liked Death Wish with Charles Bronson (a cult classic about an urban vigilante) then you will probably love Worth Dying For. One only hopes that Child takes a breather and puts a great deal more thought into his next installment.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-0from 579 readers
PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press; First Edition edition (October 19, 2010)
REVIEWER: Eleanor Bukowsky
AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK? YES! Start Reading Now!
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Lee Child (and Jack Reacher!)
EXTRAS: Excerpt
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October 24, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Thriller/Spy/Caper, US Frontier West, y Award Winning Author

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