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Phoenix (The Complete Action Series)
David Alexander
Progress: 60 %
Echo Burning  - Lee Child I've enjoyed all of the Reacher books so far, but lately they've been rating higher with me, generally from three to four stars. I don't think it is necessarily because Lee Child's writing is getting better (because I'm reading them out of order) but more because I'm appreciating his writing more.

Echo Burning is a first rate noir thriller with a Western tint to it. Sure, there's the usual improbabilities that the other Reacher books share. Like Reacher's uncanny abilities at deduction, not to mention some pretty incredible luck. And of course Reacher's comic-book-like physical abilities. And I think I might have to double check the bits on the Texas legal system. Whatever. It doesn't spoil the ride. The first half of the book was all about tension, with Reacher not knowing who to trust. Truth, lies and the past all tangled up into a sort of modern day Gothic mystery. Even if Child's plotting is, at times, a little too clean, his pacing is spot on.

Speaking of his writing, I am learning to appreciate some bits of dry humor in his writing that had me smiling wryly at times. Some reviewers point out the Jack Reacher is kind of a bland stereotypical cookie-cutter action hero, to which I must wholeheartedly disagree. Reacher is a weird guy and that's why I like him. Check out this exchange:

He nodded. "Tell me about that meal you made for me."

"What about it?"

"Homemade, right?"


"You weighed out the ingredients?"

"You have to."

"So you've got a scale in your kitchen?"

"Sure," she said again.

"The scales of justice," he said.

"Reacher, what the hell are you talking about?"

Yeah, really! Who talks like that? I'll tell you: Reacher does.

And I have to share another:

"You're a hard man, Reacher," she said.

He was quiet in turn.

"I think I'm a realistic man," he said. "And a decent enough guy, all told."

"You may find normal people don't agree."

He nodded.

"A lot of you don't," he said.

Yeah, he's not a normal guy. But if he were normal why would we be reading about him?

And FWIW, Dolph Lundgren plays Reacher in my mind's eye theater. Tom Cruise might do okay in the upcoming movie. He's a good actor, but to me he just ain't Reacher. (Oh can we get Dolph for the next movie pleeeeze? That would be awesome okay thanks.)