Die Trying by Lee Child ***

Reading dates: 24 December – 29 December 2013

For the first time in 36 years, I spent Christmas away, on a beach holiday in Egypt. Going back to any form of celebration will be very hard, for I rested, got much needed sun, read for pleasure and generally enjoyed the company of an also relaxed travel partner. No anxiety, no forced visits, no toasts, not having to do anything. When I arrived to our faux italian hotel Il Mercato, I asked Neil what should I read. The options were Libra by Don Delillo — you see, I wanted to do something for the anniversary — or the second Jack Reacher story, Die Trying. I much enjoyed the first one, Killing Floor, but like with Jo Nesbø, my appreciation of Lee Child somewhat fell with One Shot, the 9th in the series. Needless to say, Tom Cruise’s portrayal of Reacher did not help, despite the joy of seeing creepy Werner Herzog play villain in last year’s film adaptation. Neil recommended the crime novel, if anything because despite my resistance and my difficulty getting into it, I was on holiday and no hard work was required. It was a perfect book under those reading conditions: a good, well through through character (if a little far fetched, but hey, it is Christmas), an excellent plot ranging from a kidnapping story to an Independence Day intrigue and involving the FBI, and a limited amount of shrugs from Lee Child, who must have worked hard at editing, given that it is his favourite verb and his characters’ most common expression. I would not read it again, sure, there are thousands of other crime novels, but I enjoyed every moment in the company of this book, in my sun lounger, beer in hand, while carols played softly on the loudspeakers and Brits in tattoos had meaningless conversations about football and zumba.