|You may have seen the posters, taunting. A sub-Hopper painting on the cover: a diner, an empty highway. Neon America. IF YOU DON'T KNOW REACHER... YOU DON'T KNOW JACK.|
This isn't my kind of book, you think. This is for assholes in airports. But. If you think that. You don't know Jack. And you don't know shit.
Jack Reacher. Jack-none-Reacher, as he was known at "West Point", and... and "Bird", and all the other military bases YOU will reel off in contemptuous shorthand when you read the novels of Lee Child. Reacher has no middle name. Nobody calls him Jack, either. A man like Reacher... wouldn't have it any other way. Would you? Do you want to be a... a "man" with middle and first names? When you know Reacher, you'll be telling friends to address you by SURNAME ONLY.
If you still have any friends. For when you know Reacher, you won't want friends. Reacher is ex-military cop, now drifter. He "lives off the grid" (One Shot) A helpful guide in the inside back cover tells you Reacher's height, shirt size, and "what he doesn't own": INSURANCE. TAX RETURNS. Last known address? Don't make Reacher laugh. When Reacher laughs, it takes five minutes for him to stop (Tripwire).
Reacher carries nothing he doesn't need. Nothing he can't drop in a second. When he orders coffee, it's "foam cup, no china" (The Hard Way) just so he can drop it at a MOMENT'S NOTICE. He's a huge man, with not an ounce of fat on his body. That's NOT ONE OUNCE out of the 220 pounds he weighed in at when he left the military (Major, demoted to Lieutenant at the end of The Enemy). Lee Child cares about Reacher's weight, and you will too. At the start of Tripwire, we're told, Reacher has reached 250 pounds. And those 30 surplus pounds are "pure hard muscle".
You'll want to know how Reacher did it, because when you know Jack, you're going to want to live like Jack... to be Jack (if you're a man) or... to BED him (if you're not). [Reacher has nothing against gay men, even in the Army. He's not one, though. And Lee Child isn't, either. OK.]
Luckily, Lee Child spells it out for us. Reacher was digging swimming pools by hand. "He'd worked out a method, by twisting and scooping, to SHAPE AND TONE EVERY SINGLE MUSCLE IN HIS ENTIRE BODY." At the end of the day, Reacher laughs, because he's been paid for a workout that would cost $50 in a "shiny city gym" (Tripwire). And now he's going to his evening job, the kind of job most men would do for free: taking his shirt off as security in a "titty bar".
There's diet stuff for men here, too. Reacher calculated that with his current rate of exercise, he had to consume 10,000 calories per day. And the fittest man he ever knew once told him that the secret of great shape is to drink 5 gallons of water per day. Reacher figured he was twice that guy's shape, so he drank TEN per day. Room temperature. When you know Jack, you'll never touch chilled water again, or take cream in your coffee. Reacher only drinks it black. He fuels up on it like a fighter plane. He doesn't know or care much about coffee. Just likes it hot and strong.
Did it work? Lee Child is impressed and you will be too. "The results... were SPECTACULAR." Even doctors are impressed. At the end of Tripwire, Reacher takes a shotgun blast to the face and a bullet to the chest. When he wakes up three weeks later, the doctor laughs. "A normal man wouldn't have stood a chance. But your pectoral muscles are so thick, the bullet never made it through them, my friend" he grins. Reacher laughs for three minutes.
Reacher does a lot of calculations. When he flies business class, he works out how much it's costing him for 5 minutes at cruising speed. When he approaches an airline desk with his brother, he tells you that together, they're 13 feet tall and 450 pounds. You'll want to be a precise thinker like Reacher. And when you know Jack, you can be precise. You'll find yourself discussing "BDU" (Basic Dress Uniform) and namedropping accurate gun-terms like "Steyr Automatic" as if you were ex-military, too. You'll know how many ranks are below a Major in the US Military... AND how many are above it. You'll know the correct derivation of HUEY (UH-1 Iroquois) and HUM-VEE (HMMWV)... and you'll use them without thinking.
You learn the reality of combat when you know Jack. Lee Child will constantly remind you: "Reacher attached the silencer. He didn't do it like in the movies, screwing it on lovingly." Then, Lee Child will tell you the real way to attach a silencer. And then... how that gun sounds with a silencer attached. You'll learn: It's NOT like you hear in the movies. You'll know it sounds like a Manhattan business directory held over your head and slammed down on a desk. That's the kind of information you don't forget. And your friends will notice too. Bosses, prospective employers, also.
Don't be concerned that there's adult material in the Jack Reacher novels. Though Reacher can bed any female colleague he chooses, and does so with an average of 1.25 per book, Lee Child doesn't want you to feel embarrassed when sharing Jack Reacher novels with your son, or daughter. The adult scenes are guaranteed to go no further than a kiss. Occasionally, a shopping scene will feature where Reacher buys clothes (always "khaki pants, a shirt. Reacher thought they looked pretty good") or where his lady-friend purchases a "sheath" dress with real pearl buttons, and swirls for him, smelling ... (Reacher's nose twitches) somehow FEMALE, feminine. Reacher's nostrils detect a... fragrance he can't place. He doesn't have to know what it is... to know that he likes it. Wants it.
Only one question remains. Why am I getting addicted to the often ridiculous Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child? If anyone replies, I may think hard about it.