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September 3, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

I was late to Lee Child’s Jack Reacher thrillers, not reading one until Janet Maslin wrote a rave review of number 12 in the series, Nothing to Lose, in June 2008. I found it silly. But also, I couldn’t put it down except to sleep, starting one night and finishing the next afternoon. I hadn’t had that experience in years. When Gone Tomorrow came out the following May, I snapped it up. And then I began my remedial Jack Reacher reading.

Having read 12 and 13, I went back to number 9, One Shot, because it seemed to have the best reviews of the recent ones. Then I started at the beginning. I must have written about this at the time. We had arrived in Nantucket on Labor Day two years ago, our room at the inn wasn’t ready, we went into town and wandered around, and I thought, I should read another Jack Reacher novel. I went into Mitchell’s Book Corner and they had Killing Floor, Reacher #1, in paperback. So I bought it. A couple of months later, brand new Kindle in hand, I downloaded number 2, Die Trying. By this time, I was getting saturated and decided to leave off my remedial program. I would just wait for the new ones.

May 2010 brought 61 Hours and October brought Worth Dying For, two new ones almost back to back. The first of the two was maybe the best ever; the second a bit of a come down. In any case, it was again time for a rest.

The rest is almost over. On September 27, The Affair, #16, will be released.

But that’s just a few weeks too late. Here we are, about to head to Nantucket again, and I’m ready for a thriller. Not necessarily Reacher, but someone. Two days ago, I looked through the options at Amazon. I had almost settled on James Lee Burke’s most recent Dave Robicheaux novel, The Glass Rainbow, but the more I read about it, the more I realized it might be just a bit too violent for my taste. (Burke also has a new novel out on September 27.) I finally settled on picking up my remedial program and downloaded Reacher #3, Tripwire, to my Kindle.

My plan: I’m well into Charles Mann’s 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, which I wrote about a few days ago. I would finish it early in our Nantucket stay, then switch to Tripwire.

The reality: We boarded our flight to JFK early yesterday morning. I got settled in my seat, took out my Kindle, and began Tripwire. What can I do? It’s Jack Reacher. How can I resist?

The problem is, I don’t have time this weekend to read it more or less straight through, as I might have done in Nantucket. I’m not here to read. I’m here for a variety of family events, not least of which is having my sister and her husband in from Paris staying at the same hotel as us. In minutes, we’ll be off to see our parents. Then there’s a cousin’s daughter’s wedding rehearsal tonight, her wedding tomorrow. I don’t anticipate bringing my Kindle to the wedding. I should have waited.

As for violence, if you know Reacher, you know how peculiar a notion it is to pass up one book for its violence only to turn to him. There was violence aplenty in just Tripwire’s opening pages. But forget that. What I’ve come to appreciate, all the more with each book, is his character, his thought processes, and Child’s attention to detail. I find myself reading some paragraphs over and over to make sure I’ve absorbed all the subtleties of what Reacher is taking in.

I still fear overdoing it. I pre-ordered The Affair months ago. I’ll read it in a few weeks, then put Reacher aside until next summer.

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