Author Lee Child has written many books and many have also been created for audio. The success of these audiobooks has to do with Child’s writing gift, his choice of performer for these books who is Dick Hill, and the character who appears in these books, Jack Reacher. These three men are a winning combination and I, like many others, can’t get enough!
Jack Reacher is a 6’5″ 250 lb, former military cop in the Army. He was given a Purple Heart, A Silver Star, and many other medals. He was a West Point Graduate. He was the highest ranking sharp shooter in the military. He’s like a cross between superman and The Lone Ranger: likeable, funny, short on words (unless he’s cornered), always ready for action, and intelligent. His Tonto is his toothbrush only he doesn’t call it Kemosabe. He’s not in the military anymore because like many of us, he was down-sized!
Nowadays, he’s a drifter. He has no luggage, no home, no family, and only the clothes on his back, plus his trusty toothbrush. He buys a new set of clothes about every three days and throws out the “old” ones because he doesn’t do laundry. He is quite content with this lifestyle. He is constantly on the move from city to city. In each book the author makes mention of these details so you can jump in at any time. You don’t need to start at a certain book.
I’ve listened to four or five Jack Reacher novels now and Gone Tomorrow is my favorite so far. They are all fast-paced. In Gone Tomorrow, the story takes place in New York City. Since I was born and raised in Queens, NY, I loved hearing about his adventure there. Several scenarios take place in the subway and Child really nailed the action. I could almost smell the “R” trains coming down the tracks and I could feel the breeze created by the trains as they whizzed into the station. The only thing Child left out was the soot your nose inhales every time you go into the subway. Other than that fact, he captured the train sensations. Child is a transplant from the UK and now lives in New York City so I can forgive him for not knowing about sooty subways.
In fact, a subway car is where the story and the action begin. As you listen to the first two CDs in Gone Tomorrow you will find that they are thoroughly engrossing and you won’t be able to stop listening, so be prepared and set aside time for them. You might be able to take a break after the 2nd CD, but don’t count on it!
I enjoyed hearing Reacher make plans to get to Herald Square, (I’ve been there) and it brought back memories when he was outside, facing the Plaza hotel with his back to Central Park. (How many times have I been there?) I think he got on the train station there which is where I entered going home from work many times. Reacher even mentioned my hometown borough, Queens, (and he didn’t mention any of the other boroughs.) So, na-na-nuh-na-na, I am just delighted for Queens! Go Queens!
A review of Child’s audiobooks wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t say anything about performer Dick Hill. Dick Hill IS Jack Reacher. Nobody could possibly take his place. He is gruff when the part calls for it, sexy when the part calls for it, and sounds like he’s running and/or fighting when the part calls for it! Hill does a phenomenal job every time. I haven’t been disappointed yet and I don’t expect to be. Also, a word about his diction: first class. Anybody who distinctly pronounces the “t” in the word “height” is A-OK in my world.
When I first listened to one of the Reacher novels, I wondered if I would like listening to a series of stories about one character. I thought it might be a bit repetitive. Don’t even think about it. How Child comes up with all these scenarios for Reacher is beyond me!
If you have an interest in guns or weapons, Child does a great job of explaining them: not too much and not too little. That’s the beauty of his writing. He doesn’t drone on about anything. His writing is compact. Nothing is too much or too little.
Although, now that I think of it, Child should have Reacher eat more. That’s correct, I said eat more. We are often privy to meals with Reacher and he is a man who has to have his coffee! Even if it’s bad coffee, he wants it! But a man of Reacher’s stature and high energy level shouldn’t skip meals. It seems Reacher’s escapades put him in situations where he doesn’t get to eat three meals a day or any meals on some days! I’d like to see a story where someone, a nice woman, (he usually spends time with one in whatever city he’s in) who knows how to cook, and feeds him well throughout the story. That would make me very happy and you know how I like to see everyone eat well to be in good health! (If you didn’t know that, then you’re not reading my blog!)
All kidding aside, most of these audiobooks contain usually 10-12 CDs, give or take, and will give you many hours of listening pleasure. Gone Tomorrow had a little bit more humor in it than the other Reacher novels but also a little bit more gore. You can always fast forward the gory parts. Compared to some, Child’s violence is mild.
Gone Tomorrow is set in a post 9/11 world that involves a politician, Al-Qaeda, the Soviet Union, and suicide bombers. And yet, there is not as much about those things as you might think, (as I said, not too much and not too little) so you don’t have to like history or be a history buff to appreciate the story. Jack Reacher stories are always action packed, but you never know what quirky scene will slip into the mix. There’s even something for gardeners in this particular book. Bonus, you can always expect to learn some facts that you never knew before.
Critics and wannabe shrinks of the Jack Reacher series call Reacher a psychopath, a man obsessed with violence. They say you have to suspend your beliefs to enjoy these novels. They point out the loose ends and insist endings be tied neatly in a bow. Balderdash!
This is important: writing is an artistic endeavor, so is painting, sculpting, composing, cooking, photographing, etc. None of these artistic endeavors need to be perfect to be appreciated.
Enjoy all of Reacher’s journeys. I do. The next time Jack hits the road, he can ring my bell anytime just because he does!