DIE TRYING by Lee Child

Lee Child changes a few things up with his second Jack Reacher book, DIE TRYING, but he keeps his core strengths — his titular character and great action.

Whereas the first book, KILLING FLOOR, was a first-person novel, DIE TRYING is told from the third person as we hop from a variety of different points of view. The story is interesting, as we watch Reacher figure out his situation after he and an attractive FBI agent are kidnapped outside a Chicago dry cleaner’s. As the plot moves forward, Reacher figures things out piece by piece, occasionally making mistakes but slowly working his way toward answers.

Again, Child populates his world with interesting people. Obviously Reacher is the main attraction here, but his fellow good guys and the villains they oppose are enjoyable, if not necessarily multidimensional.

The plot felt stronger in DIE TRYING than it was in KILLING FLOOR, which at times relied too heavily on outlandish coincidences. This time, Child opens the book with just such a coincidence, as Reacher stumbles into a kidnapping and gets picked up along with the target, almost as though Child is daring his critics to complain further. Fortunately, the rest of the story seemed to flow more easily.

I also noticed the short, choppy sentence structure Child used isn’t as prevalent — a change I appreciated. As to whether Child will return to that style of prose in future books, I guess I’ll find out.


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