Gotcha to read this, didn’t I! Honestly? Naaah, I don’t really hate-hate-HATE the fictional character Jack Reacher or the human writer Lee Childs. I just strongly dislike Reacher stories and scratch my head about the entire Reacher ‘thing/series/industry.” My friends and strangers ask me why?
First off! Well, you all know Jack Reacher! The Lee Childs mysterious person, who and that-
- Was a U.S. Army military police investigator
- Is like…6’9” and VERY strong
- Is a just a super, super fighter
- Wanders America like total hobo
- Stumbles into over 20, America-shaking, enormous, complex violent plots that become more and more preposterous with each book, (not that the very first one was preposterous enough!)
People have passed unto me no less than four Reacher books. I could not finish any of them. I honestly tried. I just couldn’t be bothered. Then, still under this social pressure, I forced myself to at least finish the Killing Floor in an audio book. Killing Floor It was the first Jack Reacher book in the series. It is a horrible mish-mash of preposterous plot events and filler writing. Don’t get me started here on the plot. I could fill an essay on how whacked out this was. The Killing Floor was a terrible book. But Childs got a contract for it? And yet, there were still more in the series?
My personal opinion after these reading attempts is - I think Lee Childs is not a good writer and not a good plotter. It is possible, due to pressures in the book industry, he has to work with editors and a staff helping him push out books and these folks are not good writers or plotters either.
The author is - a Brit - yet writes about the inner workings of the US Army military police. The series is hard for me to digest too because I was once an Army investigator. His version (as well as TV shows like NCIS) are bloated, and wildly inaccurate representations on so many, many levels..
Yeah, I know, I know… that is all just fiction. A story. Literary license. I own that license too. I understand! And if this point were alone? I could quietly co-exist on this planet with this series as well as any other fictional series I chose to ignore. (We all do this, ignore series and characters that others adore.)
Genre and Genre heroes? We expect certain things from certain heroes in certain genres. This guy, this Reacher is not a comic book, super hero, or Batman. Batman we expect to swoop in. He is the comic book Batman! A comic book genre. Reacher is not Remo, the Executioner or any character from those quickie book/pulp series, either. Within these pulp perspective, I get these books and characters. Even respect them and the author’s work ethic. Within that genre, some of these writers are quite skilled. I often find their writing talents, their mechanics superior to best-selling authors, certainly better than Childs. But, Reacher exists in a different genre. Sort of a James Bond/ Bourne genre? The genre of Hardcover, semi-realistic, bestsellers! Swallowed up by…”regular people!” Listed in the New York Times. The "thriller." With these expectations. Within this “first tier” book and readership, exists Jack Reacher, the giant hobo with that classic…you know… “certain set of skills.” But Reacher is a hobo.
Now, this wacky hobo thing. Reacher the hobo. I was a bit of a hobo once. For almost two years I lived off the back of my motorcycle, after high school. Granted it was in the early 1970s. But, the hobo life sucks. So, Reacher's life must actually suck. My and your experience and my and your common sense shows us that none of the true and daily problems of hobo-ism seem to hamper the walking, hitch-hiking, bus-hopping Jack Reacher in the slightest way. No luggage. Nothing near ID. Just some change in his pocket. Buys new clothes in the closest Army/Navy store and throws out the old, dirty clothes in the nearest trash can. Some readers find this romantic. Despite his disconnect with TV news, internet and society (he does read the newspapers), he still stumbles into these utterly amazing Goldfinger-esque, super, criminal and espionage plots that – AND each, in true serial story progression – must outdo the previous book just published eight months ago in the throat-cutting pressure of the horrible and confused book industry. Now, with over 20 of these amazing events and counting…counting. Lee, you lose me.
Now we come to Reacher-the MOVIE! Short Tom Cruse is not the giant Jack Reacher. Hard-core fans of the books really objected to this choice. (Is there anything worse though than having Matthew McConaughe playing Dirk Pitt in Custler’s Sahara?) The Reacher movie, in and of itself, was not bad. Like an adequate, 1980s action flick? And Cruse, like him or not, is usually always good in every movie he is in. They could-have/should-have selected a better actor, but Tom is box-office. Ka-ching. Say no more! I watched the film. I…half-liked it, still disliking the overall Child/Reacher “industry.” But most of the books are too long and boring to be movies and even TV episodes. Screenwriters need to rescue them.
There is a Reacher movie sequel! Ka-ching! Little Tommy boy will return as the giant, action figure. On the movie subject - topping the disgruntlement off for me, there is the small, odd, side issue. A martial arts connection. The flamboyant sales, marketing pitch that martial arts Keysi or DNA or whatever they are now - "Fight like ______" - be it Batman or Reacher, or the gun-hating Liam Neilson. Whoever. One must keep in mind the dozens of hardworking, fight stuntmen who then get no such pizzazz, credit for fight scenes in these very same movies, or who did not dip into this marketing plan to slip that fishing lure up your nostril. I know these quiet stuntmen personally. I have taught in their schools. Not every fight scene or action scene in Reacher (or Batman, or Taken, Taken Again and Taken Again and Again) were choreographed by one group.
Jack Reacher is like a little industry. But the whole Jack Reacher thing is flat lost on me. Please stop sending me the books. We all remain mystified about each others entertainment choices, don’t we? Why do we watch and like, what we watch and like? It can be quite mystifying.