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LBJ vs. Reacher

September 11, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

What to do? What to do?

I knew this collision was coming, and here it is. No sooner do I start reading the fourth volume of Robert Caro’s Lyndon Johnson biography, The Passage of Power (as described here) than Lee Child’s 17th Jack Reacher thriller, A Wanted Man, comes out. Two great authors, perhaps the greatest writers of biography and thriller of our time. And two characters of awesome will.

I have been making good progress through The Passage of Power. When we got off the plane in Seattle last night, I was three-fourths of the way through, having finished Caro’s riveting account of the week that began on November 21, 1963, in San Antonio. So many extraordinary moments. Caro’s depiction of LBJ’s instant transformation from powerless and humiliated vice-president to a president with utter calm and clarity about the steps that must be taken on domestic and foreign fronts is a mini-thriller in its own right.

Yet, Child is the master of the thriller. His books are irresistible. I know that if I allow myself to read even one page of A Wanted Man, I won’t stop. And I do know how the LBJ story turns out. For the most part. But I have no idea what’s next for Reacher.

I’m being pulled. Perhaps I should give in.

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