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Saturday, 8 September 2012

A Wanted Man by Lee Child

 A Wanted Man - Jack Reacher 17

When you're as big and rough as Jack Reacher - and you have a badly-set, freshly-busted nose, patched with silver duct tape - it isn't easy to hitch a ride. But Reacher has some unfinished business in Virginia, so he doesn't quit. And at last, he's picked up by three strangers - two men and a woman. But within minutes it becomes clear they're all lying about everything - and then they run into a police roadblock on the highway. There has been an incident, and the cops are looking for the bad guys...Will they get through because the three are innocent? Or because the three are now four? Is Reacher just a decoy? With his signature Swiss-watch plotting and heart-thumping suspense, "A Wanted Man" shows Lee Child at his sublimely skilful best. "He could take out Bond, Dirty Harry, Jason Bourne and Ethan Hunt with both hands tied behind his back,. And then sleep with their girlfriends two at a time before getting the last bus out of town". ("Sun").

This is Child's seventeenth Reacher book, however I have only recently been introduced to Reacher and Child and have really enjoyed this book.  My first Reacher read was The Affair, which was one of the prequel titles written by Child and was set while still in the Army. This book was following the more traditional Reacher style, where he is roaming around America and finds himself caught up in trouble.

This book is based around Reacher hitching a lift with two males and a female passenger and knows something is not right but is not sure what. This story is intertwined with a police case of a man being stabbed in a disused building but at the start it is unclear how the two stories are linked. What follows is a fantastic read, where Child provides a great read which will keep you wanting to read just one chapter more at each session.

I would recommend this book to any crime fan. It does not matter if you have encountered Reacher before, it is a great standalone book or for die hard Reacher fans it is another great instalment in the Reacher series.

As part of the launch for this book, Lee Child has been on a Publicity Tour and I have been lucky enough to go to one of his events. Held at Birmingham Library Theatre, I spent an enjoyable hour with the author, listening to him talking about how he get into writing and the publication of his first book. I think this was a special event for Child, as he was born in Coventry and moved to and worked in Birmingham for many years before leaving his job in television (he was fired) and becoming an author. He also recalled how, in the early days of his television career, they had a team picnic, which due to bad weather was an inside picnic, where he sat with Laurence Olivier!

The second half of the talk was questions from the audience and many questions were asked - the most popular appeared to be that of Lee Child's opinions on the upcoming film, where Tom Cruise has been cast as Jack Reacher - Reacher is depicted in the books as a 6 Foot plus, ex army and I think most readers were astonished when it became known that Cruise had got the job. However, Child has seen the film and he says he is very pleased with the finished piece and Cruise has done a good job as Reacher and asks his readers to go and see it with an open mind and believes many of us will be going and watching it more than once - for those who don't like Cruise as Reacher, he reminds us we can return home to our books, where we can have our own Reacher in our minds as we please.

I really enjoyed the evening (although a panic attack on route and getting lost trying to find the car park and then entrance to the theatre) and found Lee Child to be a great public speaker, who took the time to answer every question from the audience in full and gave each one due consideration, retelling lots of memories and also letting us in on his writing process - he does no pre-planning, he lets the story evolve as he is writing. It takes him about 6 months to write each book and I am looking forward to seeing where Reacher goes next.

Thank you to the publisher's, Bantam Press, part of Transworld, for sending me the book to review.

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