I’m quite disappointed to say the least. The last Jack Reacher novel I read was The Midnight Line and I quite enjoyed that one. This book on the other hand, I did not enjoy nearly as much as some of the others. For example, it features an ungodly amount of unnecessary brutality, which is never something I like to see in a book.
I honestly wouldn’t recommend it to you, unless you have already read every other installment of the Jack Reacher series and you wanted to have read them all.
If you want to read a Jack Reacher novel, maybe have a look at the Midnight Line or Night School. You can find a review for the former on my website.
I'll rate this book a 5/10. It has some nice action scenes, especially towards the ending, but other than that it features nothing that might appeal to a thriller reader.
Lee Child is an alias for the british author James Grant, who is particularly known for his Jack Reacher novels. He was born on the 29th of October 1954 in Coventry, England.
Date of release: 1999
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I just finished Tripwire, the third installment in the Jack Reacher series and I’ve got to say that I’m quite disappointed. It’s been a while since I read The Midnight Line and Tripwire just didn’t do it for me anymore.
Now, this may be for a few reasons, and I’ll delve deeper into that later, but first let’s talk about the book in general. But let me just say that this is going to be a rather short review because I really didn’t like the book that much.
Tripwire starts out in Florida, with Jack Reacher digging swimming pools at day and working as a bouncer in a strip club at night. When a private investigator named Costello, who tried to find him, wined up dead, Reacher knows that there are people looking for him. So, he travels to New York, where he meets Jodie, the daughter of General Leon Garber, whom Reacher worked a lot with as an MP.
They quickly learn that Leon Garber was asking questions about a helicopter pilot named Victor Truman Hobie who fought in the Vietnam War. Hobie never returned to his, now old, parents.
Now that we’ve covered the basic plot let’s talk about why I didn’t like the book. I feel like it has a lot to do with the books I read recently (e.g. Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer, you find my review on that here). Annihilation builds up suspense by carefully crafting a story that leaves the reader in the dark, because the reader knows just as little as the protagonist does. The reader therefore feels unsettled and I really started to love that kind of bond with a book.
Now with Tripwire on the other hand, we have a very different approach to building suspense. One which I don’t like or don’t like anymore. I works by raising the stakes so high that the reader wants to know what happens to the characters. In the Jack Reacher novels in general, so many people die. Everyone who isn’t Jack Reacher or someone he „loves“ is killed off at an enormous rate. So many casualties. Which, again, for me is a wrong way to building suspense. Just because I know that the bad guy does not hesitate to kill somebody, doesn’t mean I’m suddenly more involved with the story.
Another thing is the abundance of sex scenes and sexually insinuating scenes. I mean a ridiculous amount of time is spent on describing Reachers thoughts about Jodies’ legs, ass, breasts and what he would like to do with her. It’s absolutely insane. Then also the sex scenes. There aren’t that many, but they seem so out-of-place at times. I really liked it the way it was written in The Midnight Line. There was one sex scene at the very end, and it took me completely off-guard because it was not with the person I anticipated.
Anticipated. See! Even the fact that when I read a Jack Reacher novel I’m always scanning for which people he’s gonna sleep with is so frustrating.
Last thing I don’t like is the way the information is revealed to the reader. A lot of times you might encounter a scene that plays like this:
Reacher: Tell me this information
The informant tells Reacher this very important information.
Reacher: Wow, that is so crazy. I cannot believe it.
The informant repeats this new revelation.
Reacher was very happy that he learned this new information that helped him a great deal with his investigation.
As a reader, this is incredibly frustrating to read. When I read a crime/thriller I want to feel like the detective. I want to be there right alongside him and help with deducting and combining the evidence. What Lee Child does is, he always tells you that Reacher knows something that you don’t. He practically rubs it in your face, which makes wonder what this information may be but it also leaves you feeling powerless (I know this sounds ridiculous in the context of a book, but this is how I felt).
It also makes it possible for Lee Child to include some incredible plot twists like the one at the end of Tripwire. Why did Victor Hobie suddenly change to Carl Allen. There was never a hint that this happened when the helicopter went down. That Carl Allen changed his identity - never. And I see no point why it should have happened.
Maybe that is some kind of american thing, I don’t know. Maybe he didn’t want to have Victor Hobie as a bad guy and have Reacher tell this his parents. So, he quickly added Carl Allen. It just seemed so out-of-place to me.
Considering all of that, I will probably not be reading a Jack Reacher novel in the near future. Maybe I’ll give a newer one a shot down the line.
The only thing I liked was the ending. And I don’t mean it in a sense that I liked it because it was the end. I liked it because in a Jack Reacher novel, I’m looking for Jack Reacher to kick some ass. To fight and hurt the bad guys and that’s exactly what he did in the last forty or so pages. He deduced and combined, found Jodie and killed Allen. That’s the kind of Jack Reacher action I wanted to see. And it genuinely made me smile when Reacher explained how he knew that something had happened just by Jodie saying “hi, Jack”.
Considering my recommendation, I wouldn’t really recommend this books even if it says „The World’s number one bestseller“ on the front. I’ve read better Jack Reacher novels (The Midnight Line for example, check out my review on it here). Maybe if you’re a die-hard fan of Jack Reacher you’ll find some joy in it, but other than that I think there are better thrillers and also better Jack Reacher novels out there.