Sunday, July 19, 2015

What I've Been Reading

Tripwire  by Lee Child. This tells the story of Jack Reacher, who is at least temporarily happy working in Key West, being reminded of his past Army life. A former colleague passes away, and Reacher happens to fall in love with his daughter, a lawyer in New York. (Jodie Garber is a character who will be referenced throughout at least the next few novels.) Some of the deceased's dangerous business ends up falling in Reacher's lap, and he has to go about making things right for himself and for Jodie.

Running Blind  by Lee Child. As of this writing, I have read six of the Jack Reacher books, and Running Blind  was in some ways the least enjoyable. I liked the beginning and middle of the story, but the "surprise twist" ending was not a surprise at all. I had expected it for a while at that point. Anyway, the book starts off in New York City with Reacher beating up a couple thugs, and it continues as a cross-country hunt for a serial killer of sexual assault victims.

Echo Burning  by Lee Child. I think someone mentioned in a previous iteration of "What I've Been Reading" that the series really took off with Echo Burning, and I have to agree. It seemed like this one was a little bit more personal and riveting than others. Jack Reacher ends up in the middle of nowhere in Texas (okay, places like Pecos and Echo) with a woman trying to get him to off her abusive/criminal husband.

Without Fail  by Lee Child. The momentum from Echo Burning  carries over into Without Fail, as the death of Reacher's brother comes back to haunt him a little bit. The Secret Service starts to receive threats toward the Vice President-elect, and Reacher gets pulled into the action. The reason I first heard of Jack Reacher was when the movie came out a few years ago based on One Shot, but Without Film  seems like the most filmable novel of the series so far.

A Drink Before the War  by Dennis Lehane. I had been on a bit of a Dennis Lehane run before I got hooked on the Jack Reacher books, so I took a bit of a break to return to the investigations of Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro. The two private investigators get a job that has them looking for a politician's house cleaner who stole some important documents. Unfortunately, Kenzie figures out what the documents are and realizes that maybe they shouldn't be returned. I have yet to be disappointed by a Lehane book.

Study Hall: College Football, Its Stats and Its Stories  by Bill Connelly. I just started in on this one yesterday and only got through chapter one, which talks about the reasons why college football fans are so, well, fanatical. I'm looking forward to getting back into it, though.

Please leave your commentary or reading suggestions in the comment section.


  1. Curious, did u ever read "3 and out"? Thoughts?

    1. Yep. I talked about it here:

  2. I'm still moving through my second post adolescence. I bought a Vonnegut box set.

    Vonnegut seems significantly less clever at 62 than he did at 22, but that's a thing. Sirens of Titan is still powerful at the end, Breakfast of Champions comes off as simple vulgarity for effect, bitter and pointless. Slaughterhouse Five and Cat's Cradle continue to have their moments.

    Allen Klein The Man Who Bailed Out the Beatles, Made The Stones And Transformed Rock and Roll by Fred Goodman. As an aside, with the exception of John Lennon and Keith Richards, they mostly hated his guts while he was doing it. Look at any classic Stones record or CD and you will see ABCDO Music and Publishing, that would be Allen Klein.

    Trigger Man by Hans Halberstadt, is a history of American combat snipers. Interesting in it's matter of fact approach to such a brutal subject.

    1. For whatever reason, I never got into Vonnegut. The only book I read by him was "Slaughterhouse Five" about 9 years ago, and I was not impressed.

      I'll definitely take a look at "Trigger Man," though.

    2. I agree with view that Vonnegut's appeal diminishes with age.

      It's like trying to read "Catcher in the Rye" at my present age of 56. What 40 years ago seemed fresh and rebellious now seems pretty silly. Unreadable, really.

  3. The Reacher books are great. I got sidetracked during my run through them when the last Dresden (Jim Butcher) book came out and I haven't made my way back yet, but it's only a matter of time till I pick 'em back up.

    Always like these posts

  4. You hit my sweet spot. I fly a lot for work and read a ton of books. Love the reacher books. However, I was on Lehane a long time ago and A drink before the war, darkness take my hand, Sacred, Gone Baby Gone and Prayers For Rain were books I could not put down. I loved the characters and the darkness. I was disappointed Bubba did not make the movie.

    I think Lehane outgrew the characters and stopped writing stories for them. He tried it again with Moonlight Mile, but don't waste your time with that. The book was a slog.

    If you like this Genre, I strongly suggest Robert Crais, he is more similar to Michael Connelly but a great writer, humor, darkness and excellent story telling. Start with LA Requiem. You will not be disappointed.

    On a final note, I am curious if others, like me, were disappointed to see Tom Cruise as 5' 8" in the starring role as Jack Reacher? He did a decent job with the movie, but Reacher's size is such an important part of every book it was highly annoying.

    1. Which movie were you disappointed Bubba didn't make? The only Kenzie/Gennaro movie I know of was "Gone Baby Gone," and he was in it (played by Slaine).

      I read "Moonlight Mile.": It wasn't my favorite, but I didn't think it was terrible.

      I'll take a look at Robert Crais. Thanks for the suggestion.

      I saw the Jack Reacher movie first, so I was surprised at his description in the book. I've definitely had to stop picturing Reacher as Tom Cruise. You're right that the literary character counts so much on his size that the casting doesn't work.

    2. It looks like "L.A. Requiem" is the fifth book in a series. Should I start there or at the beginning?

    3. Start with the first book in that series, "The Monkey's Raincoat." I've read all of Crais' books, and they're all great. In that same genre, you might like to try "The Surgeon" by Tess Gerritsen. It's the start of the series about Rizzoli & Isles, which later became a TV series IIRC. IMO, Gerritsen's novels are every bit as good as Crais'.