DIE TRYING

From the Jack Reacher series , Vol. 2

Furiously suspenseful, but brain-dead second volume in Child’s gratuitously derivative Jack Reacher action series (Killing Floor, 1997). Reacher, a former Army Military Police Major, has now moved on to Chicago, where he gallantly assists a beautiful mystery woman hobbling on a crutch with her dry cleaning. Seconds later, Reacher and the woman, FBI agent Holly Johnson (also daughter of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as goddaughter of the President), are kidnaped by armed gunmen. Handcuffed together and tossed in the back of a van, the two are taken to the Montana mountain stronghold of Beau Borken, a fat, ugly, psychopathically vicious neo-Nazi militia leader given to sawing the arms off day laborers and making windy speeches about how he brilliant he is. Of course, the kidnappers don’t know that they have a former military police major in their clutches who, in addition to having a Silver Star for heroism, is one of the best snipers the Army has ever produced, can pull iron rings out of barn doors, and kill bad guys with lit cigarettes. Meanwhile, a team of FBI agents, at least one of whom is a mole leaking information to Borken, identify Reacher from a reconstructed photo taken from the dry cleaner’s surveillance camera. Borken, impressed with Reacher’s military record, lectures him about his brilliant plan to overthrow the US using a hijacked Army missile unit, with Holly held as a hostage in a specially constructed, dynamite-lined prison cell. Borken stupidly lets Reacher best him in a shooting match, then grandiosely turns his back on his captives enough times for Reacher and Holly to escape, cause havoc, get captured, escape, make love in the woods, cause more havoc, and get captured again, as General Johnson, FBI Director Harlan Webster, and General Garber, Reacher’s former commander, plan a covert strike on Borken’s fortress that’s certain to fail. Another Rogue Warrior meets Die Hard with all the typical over-the-top plotting, blood-splattering ultraviolence, lock-jawed heroics and the dumbest villains this side of Ruby Ridge.

Pub Date: July 20, 1998

ISBN: 0-399-14379-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

THE MIDNIGHT CLUB

Patterson's thrillers (Virgin, 1980; Black Market, 1986) have plummeted in quality since his promising debut in The Thomas Berryman Number (1976)—with this latest being the sorriest yet: a clanky and witless policer about a criminal mastermind and the cop sworn to take him down. Aside from watching sympathetic homicide dick John ("Stef") Stefanovich comeing to terms with a wheelchair-bound life—legacy of a shotgun blast to the back by drug-and-gun-running archfiend Alexandre St.-Germain—the major interest here lies in marvelling at the author's trashing of fiction convention. The whopper comes early: although St.-Germain is explicity described as being machine-gunned to death by three vigilante cops in a swank brothel (". . .a submachine gun blast nearly ripped off the head of Alexandre St.-Germain"; "The mobster's head and most of his neck had been savaged by the machine-gun volley. The body looked desecrated. . ."), before you know it this latter-day Moriarty is stepping unscathed out of an airplane. What gives? Authorial cheating, that's what—thinly glossed over with some mumbling later on about a "body double." Not that St.-Germain's ersatz death generated much suspense anyway, with subsequent action focusing on, among other items, the gory killings of assorted mob bosses by one of the vigilante cops, and Stef's viewing of pornographic tapes confiscated from that brothel. But readers generous enough to plod on will get to read about the newly Lazarus-ized St.-Germain's crass efforts to revitalize and consolidate the world's crime syndicates ("the Midnight Club"), Stef's predictable tumble for a sexy true-crime writer, and how (isn't one miracle enough for Patterson?) at book's end Stef walks again and gets to embrace a rogue cop who's murdered several people. Ironsides with a badge and a lobotomy.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 1988

ISBN: 0446676411

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1988

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more