BOOKS: Die Trying: Lee Child | Local News

My stepfather was a huge fan of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels. When Tom Cruise did some Jack Reacher movies several years ago, my stepdad always said they were fine but Cruise was too small to play the character.

The recently released “Reacher” TV series proves his point to anyone who hasn’t read the books. Alan Ritchson plays a giant Jack Reacher. And if viewers couldn’t already tell he’s a giant, nearly every other line in each character’s mouth reminds everyone that Reacher is a giant.

“Reacher” is a good action series on Amazon Prime. So good, it convinced me to finally pick up a book by Jack Reacher. With the “Reacher” series based on the first novel, “Killing Floor”, I reached Jack Reacher’s second novel, “Die Trying”.

While neither the characters nor Child’s narration consistently emphasize that Reacher is basically a local Hulk, there are plenty of examples and references to remind readers that he is a big, strong man. Smart, too. A former military police officer and army ranger, he is highly trained. Since choosing to gather, Reacher wanders from place to place across the country. Raised as a military brat, he traveled the world as a child; then in his retirement, he takes a long walk criss-crossing America.

Here, a moment of help from an injured woman with her dry cleaning on a city street leads to Reacher’s kidnapping and abduction to the reclusive camp of a group of paramilitary survivors claiming sovereignty in the mountains of the American Northwest.

The attackers had planned to kidnap only the woman who is an FBI agent with ties to senior government officials. But Reacher’s good deed of helping him carry his burden leads him and the militant group to more than expected.

“Die Trying” was originally published in 1998, when many readers would likely have dismissed the conspiracy theories fueling the militant group as rubbish. Unfortunately, reading the novel now, one has to wonder how many readers would agree with the political views of the villains in this book.

But all that aside, in addition to commenting on how Cruise wasn’t physically big enough to do the character justice, my stepfather said the Jack Reacher books were a good adventure series.

He was right on both counts.