Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Book Review: Worth Dying For by Lee Child

Worth Dying For is the first novel by Lee Child that I’ve come to read, but I wouldn’t dare say that this is much of a surprise since there are so many good crime novels out there that no matter how hard you try you’ll never get to read them all.
     Anyway, the author, whose 61 Hours has been awarded the best crime novel of the year prize recently in the U.K., for one more time delivers to the fans an adventure by his famous hero, Jack Reacher. The action takes place during a two day period in an unnamed town in Nebraska. That’s exactly where Reacher arrives on a cold winter night and, as if from a habit, right away he gets involved in a case that has nothing to do with him. He just sits in the bar of the motel, doing nothing in particular, when the guy that sits next to him, a drunk who turns out to be the local doctor, receives a phone call from a woman called Eleanor Dunkan who says that her nose is broken. He refuses to pay her a visit because, to start with, he is bored, but also because he knows that things like that happen to Eleanor all the time, since her husband Seth is known to have a short temper and a long arm. Reacher though, who has no clue about what is really going on, persuades him to go and see the woman. He even offers to drive him there. So, off they go. And thus the adventure begins, as Reacher will soon find himself in the center of a local clan cyclone. The Dunkans, as he’s to find out are the absolute rulers in the region. They are the law. Everyone is afraid of them and they all detest them, but no one ever dares question their authority. Well, that’s about to change as Reacher will attack Seth and break his nose, provoking the wrath of his immediate family, with the exception of the wife of course.
     While the Dunkans will start making plans to take their revenge on him, he will little by little come to learn all there is to know about the infamous family; or just about all, since there’s a secret that no one apart from them knows. Reacher, who was just planning to pass through the town, will decide to stay for a little longer. And the longer he stays the worse the things get for the Dunkans, as he starts taking out one after the other their cronies, and thus making them feel all the more vulnerable, and so breathing hope into the lives of the poor people. The vagabonds sooner or later will come to realize that the more they deal with Reacher, the more casualties they’ll have to suffer. So left with no other option they ask for the help of their Italian brothers in crime, which doesn’t really seem to be such a good idea since a few Lebanese and Iranian guys will decide to drop in as well. What a fine mess! And it’s exactly this mess that Reacher will have to sort out with the help of a handful of people. Maybe taking a break in that town was not such a good idea after all.
     If Reacher reminds me of someone I’d say that would be Bruce Willis in the Die Hard movies. Reacher though is a real lone wolf, who doesn’t seem interested in creating tide bonds with people, no matter how much he cares for them. He only cares about the road. The road is his destination he seems to think, even though there’s a different image in his mind’s eye.
     This is a brilliant thriller, written in an almost cinematic way, which will surely offer great reading pleasure to all the fans of the genre.

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