A Wanted Man by Lee Child*****

30 December 2022 | ,

Reading dates: 26 November – 29 December 2022

A freshly-busted nose makes it difficult for Reacher to hitch a ride. When at last he’s picked up by two men and a woman, it soon becomes clear they have something to hide.

As far as Reacher novels go, A Wanted Man is one of my favourite ones. It has all the ingredients I like about them – noticing an anomaly, high level of organisation by the baddies, unexplained incidents, army training in action, odd law enforcement agency behaviour, strange architecture) without any of the things I don’t like, mainly his very clichéd love affairs. There was love tension, which was nice, but none of the ‘she was spectacular’ descriptions of the previous novels which made me roll my eyes.
The resolution, although a little too quick, also felt more ruthless, more courageous than in previous adventures. Characters die and not always at the hands of evil forces. It feels more plausible, despite the incredible situations Reacher finds himself in.
If I had to re-read one of these, it would be this one or Killing Floor, I think.

Learning from Reacher

On guns:

… there were four basic ways of missing with a short-barreled handgun. Even at eight feet, even against a head-sized target. They were: missing high, missing low, missing left, and missing right.
Missing high was always the most likely.
All guns kick upward as they fire. Action, reaction, a basic law of physics. Inevitably new shooters with machine guns stitched a vertical line that rose forever. A classic fault. Ninety percent of training was about holding the muzzle down. Suppressors helped, because of the extra weight.

On Reacher as a character:

Resolute, responsible, determined, knowledgeable, and perceptive.

Reacher was not a superstitious man, nor was he spiritual in any way, nor did he care for ancient taboos. But it was important to him they didn’t touch her.

On the danger of stairs:

His least favorite situation. He hated the stairs. Everyone did. Everything was against you, including gravity. Your enemy had the high ground and the better angle. And the limitless possibilities of concealment. And the immense satisfaction of seeing you lead with your head.

A party trick from Reacher:

“Tell me how you talk for a minute without using the letter A.”
Delfuenso said, “You were asleep.”
McQueen said, “I haven’t slept for seven months.”
Reacher said, “Easy. Just start counting. One, two, three, four, five, six. And so on. You don’t hit a letter A until you get to a hundred and one. You can even do it real fast and still get nowhere near ninety-nine inside a minute.”

Previous reviews of the Jack Reacher series

#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.

#15 Worth Dying For ***
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.

#16 The Affair ****
Six months before the events in Killing Floor, Major Jack Reacher of the US Military Police goes undercover in Mississippi, to investigate a murder.

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A wanted man