(Jackson Street) Books on 7th is around the corner and on the internet tubes. We strive to be your full-service new and used bookstore, emphasizing good literature, progressive politics, and, of course, books about baseball. Opened in Hoquiam October 1, 2010

Friday, April 6, 2012

Department of Book Reports:Lee Child

Well, we have been on a hiatus, but now we are back and ready to report on books and more books. Hope you didn't miss us too much.

For some time, I have been urged, especially by SeattleTammy, to pick up one of Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels. At long last, I have and I regret that I have not done so sooner. Lee Child writes one helluva good book.

The book I picked up to start is The Hard Way. Jack Reacher had been a US army military policeman, but now is a drifter, a bit of a loner. On a hot New York city summer evening, while working on a coffee at an outdoor cafe, he witnesses a man open a car door and drive away. Unknown to him at the time, inside the car is a one million dollar ransom. The next night, at the same cafe, Reacher becomes involved in trying to solve a kidnapping plot. Edward Lane, a man who operates a Blackwater type mercenary outfit, has had his wife and step-daughter taken from him and he will stop at nothing to get them back. And it seems that Reacher is the man to do it. Along the way, Reacher finds out more and more about Lane but finds he cannot back out. The novel reaches the climax in a small northern English town; Lee Child himself is from England, but he knows America and Americans.

The Hard Way is quite the thriller. Child tells the story well, with sharply drawn characters, and a keen sense of place. Post 9/11 New York also becomes a character, and the descriptions of place are vivid. This particular novel is told from the third person, although I am told some of the Reacher novels use a first person narrative as well. I am set to devour the series, of which there are now 18.

His novel One Shot, another Jack Reacher, has been filmed and is due for release in December. The casting has been controversial inasmuch as couch-hopping Tom Cruise has been cast as Reacher. It is controversial not so much because of Cruise's off screen personae, but because he really doesn't look much like the way Child has described him. In the books, Reacher is described as a tall, large man, neither of which fits Cruise much at all. But that's Hollywood for you. I hope the film does the book some justice. The Hard Way is certainly cinematic in its reading. In any event, check Lee Child out if you haven't already. My guess is you probably have, and I am the last person to have discovered the Jack Reacher novels.

Finally, last year we told you about Jonathan Evison's wonderful novel, West of Here. We are glad to report the book has won the Pacific Northwest Bookseller's Award. It is now available in paperback from Jackson Street Books and other fine independent booksellers. Give yourself a treat and read it.