Worth Dying For by Lee Child ***

10 October 2022 | ,

Reading dates: 05 September – 09 October 2022

Previous reviews of the Jack Reacher series

(now with publisher teasers so I remember which is which. After all, this is a research project.)

#1 Killing Floor ***
Jack Reacher gets off a bus in a small town in Georgia. And is thrown into the county jail, for a murder he didn’t commit.

#2 Die Trying ***
Reacher is locked in a van with a woman claiming to be FBI. And ferried right across America into a brand new country.

#3 Tripwire **
Reacher is digging swimming pools in Key West when a detective comes round asking questions. Then the detective turns up dead.

#4 The Visitor ***
Two naked women found dead in a bath filled with paint. Both victims of a man just like Reacher.

#5 Echo Burning ***
In the heat of Texas, Reacher meets a young woman whose husband is in jail. When he is released, he will kill her.

#6 Without Fail ****
A Washington woman asks Reacher for help. Her job? Protecting the Vice President.

#7 Persuader ****
A kidnapping in Boston. A cop dies. Has Reacher lost his sense of right and wrong?

#8 The Enemy ***
Back in Reacher’s army days. a general is found dead on his watch.

#9 One Shot *** (2012)
A lone sniper shoots five people dead in a heartland city. But the accused guy says, ‘Get Reacher’.

#10 The Hard Way ***
A coffee on a busy New York street leads to a shoot-out three thousand miles away in the Norfolk countryside.

#11 Bad Luck and Trouble ***
One of Reacher’s buddies has shown up dead in the California desert, and Reacher must put his old army unit back together.

#12 Nothing to Lose **
Reacher crosses the line between a town called Hope and one named Despair.

#13 Gone Tomorrow ****
On the New York subway, Reacher counts down the twelve tell-tale signs of a suicide bomber.

#14 61 hours **** 
In freezing South Dakota, Reacher hitches a lift on a bus heading for trouble.


Reacher runs into a clan that’s terrifying the Nebraska locals, but it’s the unsolved case of a missing child that he can’t let go.

Worth Dying For breaks the pattern a little. It is set in the state of Nebraska, in a small town surrounded by dirt. The pattern broken is around two aspects: for the first time, Reacher does not have a love interest and the theme is a rather heavy one. Funny enough, the book is diminished by both these aspects. Without the love interest, the buddies Reacher gets to help him are not so well drawn. The drunk doctor and his wife are closer to NPCs than sidekicks. The theme, heavy but important as it is, is dealt with rather superficially.

I don’t get a sense of motive in this book. Reacher stays and sorts out a mess just because it bugs him. There is a high number of casualties and yet no accountability. Reacher should talk a little more to Ripley … There is no police and the baddies, terrible man beings as they are, have power only as a statement, it is not felt at all in the book. So it is not very believable.

What I learned from Worth Dying For:

On Reacher’s observation powers (I love photographic observation):

In the living room there was a wedding photograph in a silver frame. It showed a younger and intact version of the woman with a tall reedy man in a grey morning suit. He had dark hair and a long nose and bright eyes and he looked very smug. Not an athlete or a manual worker, not a professor or a poet. Not a farmer, either. A businessman, probably. An executive of some kind. An indoors type of guy, soft, with energy but no vigour.

On weapons:

Best are shooting weapons, second best are stabbing weapons, third best are slashing weapons. Blunt instruments are way down the list. They slow hand speed. Their uncontrolled momentum is disadvantageous after a miss. And: if you have to use them, the backhand is the only way to go, so that you accelerate and strike in the same sudden fluid motion.

On fighting etiquette and survival:

He lived in a world where you don’t start fights but you sure as hell finish them, and you don’t lose them either, and he was the inheritor of generations of hard-won wisdom that said the best way to lose them was to assume they were over when they weren’t yet.

On the army:

… human intelligence. Humint, the army called it


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