Thursday, August 13, 2020

Tripwire: Lee Child

This is an early Jack Reacher novel, #3 in the series, published in 1999. In this book, Reacher becomes involved in a search for a Vietnam War veteran who was reported missing in action. From the prologue, we learn that the man, Victor Hobie, is still alive, has avoided detection for many years, and is willing do anything to keep from being discovered. 

I have now read 5 books in the Jack Reacher series. I read the first two in the series, and two later books, the books that had been made into film adaptations. This is the first one I have reviewed, and unfortunately, it is the one I liked the least.

Until now I have been happy with the Jack Reacher books. I would not want a steady diet of them or other books of this type, but they have a lot going for them. They move fast, and Reacher is an interesting character. He is a real loner, with no attachments, and an unusual lifestyle. (I just wonder what he does with himself when he isn't having an adventure.)

Let's start with the good aspects of this book.

This book felt very different from the other books I had read in the series. At this point after his separation from the army, Reacher is still trying to figure out what to do with his life. Here he is offered a house and could settle down in some way, and he spends some time thinking about what that would mean, how it would change his life. This story also picks up on a relationship from his past. 

To follow up on the problem in this story, Reacher does a lot of research into a Vietnam soldier who was reported killed in action (with no remains). There is a department that does that. At the time the book was written it was the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command. That organization searches for remains or for some way to verify the death if there are no remains. Reacher visits the Central Identification Laboratory–Hawaii to gather information. I enjoyed learning about how this is done, and the continuing effort to resolve such issues.

I have not gone into the details of the plot, but one element was a company that was failing, and the efforts of the owner to keep it going. The owner's wife, Marilyn Stone, is a fantastic character. She has a relatively small role but she really improved that part of the plot. There were other secondary characters encountered along the way that were interesting and portrayed very well.

The Bad?

So what was my problem with this book? There was too much torture and ugly senseless violence, described in detail. At one point I considered not finishing the book, which is very rare for me. In the end, I decided that the rest of the book would not have that level of violence (I was right) and that I really wanted to know how it all ends.


Overall, this is a good story, and a plot that keeps you guessing. There were some very interesting secondary characters. I like Jack Reacher and his adventures. I suspect it is better not to read these books too close together, but I would like to know what happens in the next one.


Publisher: Jove Books, 2000 (first publ. 1999)
Length:    401 pages (of tiny print)
Format:    Paperback
Series:     Jack Reacher #3
Setting:    US, Florida Keys, New York, and more 
Genre:     Thriller
Source:    Purchased at the Planned Parenthood book sale 2019.


Rick Robinson said...

I haven’t read any Reacher, or. Child, books, though Barbara read through a bunch of them a couple years ago. I do have one, 61 HOURS, on the TBR shelf, but who knows when I’ll ever get to it.

TracyK said...

I have the same situation, Rick, with books on the shelf that sit there for a long time. I will read the rest of the books in the series in order, every now and then.

Kay said...

I've not read any of the Jack Reacher books though my husband has read them all. He and I don't always read the same authors, but we do have some crossover at times. Those are the ones that we usually save for audio on road trips. Ha! And don't even get him started about the casting of Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher - better not to go there. LOL

Margot Kinberg said...

I know just what you mean, Tracy, about too much ugly torture and violence. I know that, in some cases, those things are part of the plot, but I have a very low tolerance for them. The jack Reacher novels are fast-moving and 'thrillerish,' and some of them are very effective, especially when you're in the mood for that sort of novel. But still, I can see why you weren't exactly thrilled with this one.

TracyK said...

Kay, it is so interesting that there was such a reaction to Tom Cruise playing the role of Jack Reacher. I saw only one of the movies, the first one, and liked it, but since I had only read a couple of the books at that time, the casting did not bother me. I saw an article recently about a list of people could be cast as Reacher, mostly by height I think, and none o them looked right to me. I could name a couple of actors (who are too old now) that have the right attitude for the role.

TracyK said...

Margot, I have had a couple of other series that I could not continue because of the torture scenes. Some people suggest skimming pasts scenes like that, but I say, how do you know where to stop without reading them. Anyway, I don't think this one was typical of a Jack Reacher novel.

Rick Robinson said...

I know it’s off topic, it just this: IT'S HOT! Here in SW Portland, we are at 98.6 with 101 expected. Yikes! In the cool Pacific Northwest. I am not pleased.

TracyK said...

I sympathize, Rick, I despise hot weather, and partly because we have no air conditioning. Most parts of the year we don't need it, but the temperatures have gotten higher over the years and that may change.

In theory our area has been having higher temperatures, and it was hotter than usual today and yesterday. When Glen and I were at the plant nursery this morning, it felt very hot and we both were tired by the time we got home. Then when we were home, I was in the back working on some trimming and weeding, and it clouded over, got very coolish, and even rained a tiny bit. So, very strange weather here.

Clothes in Books said...

I had, I think, a similar reaction to you - to the REacher books in general and to this one in particular. I was shocked by it, and quite put off. I think I read one more, and then stopped. But I acquired another in a bag of books so might try him again.

TracyK said...

Moira, I find the character very interesting, so I will try to continue the series... now and then, no rush.

col2910 said...

This is another series that I'd quite like to work my way through. I forget which ones I read and when, but it wasn't very many.

TracyK said...

I have had people who aren't huge crime fiction readers tell me that they have been reading this series and like it a lot, Col. It certainly has its appeal. As I said here, this one was a bit too heavy on sadism and torture for me, but I still want to continue the series.