61 Hours, a Jack Reacher novel
This was a great audio book, and would highly recommend it to anyone. The writing is gripping, and I kept finding myself trying to find reasons to stop what I was doing and keep going with the story. The reader’s voice is fantastic, and he reads it as if he’s telling the story, not just reading it off the page — true performance art.
The overall story line may be familiar to people since Jack Reacher movies have come out starring Tom Cruise, but here’s a quick synopsis. Reacher is a retired Army MP who is big and imposing, and he travels around the country as a nomad; it’s not fully clear why or where he’s going, but he catches a ride in South Dakota on a touring bus, which subsequently breaks down in Bolton. He gets to know the deputy sheriff, and learns a federal prison was recently built nearby, creating lots of jobs and fueling a local boom. With that has come some criminal activity, of course, which is Reacher’s specialty. He helps the investigations and uncovers a major drug trafficking effort, and (to avoid spoilers) culminates with a conflict with a prominent drug dealer. It’s a fairly long story, 13 hours on audio book, but is certainly a page-turner.
The book was a great read, and has excellent suspense, action, and intrigue. Child writes wonderfully, and the voice actor is supremely talented. The big takeaways from me were less content than context: I enjoy great writing, clear details bring a story to life, great characters bring a part of us with them, and fiction can be a really fun medium. There are no prominent life lessons here, other than to be big and strong and fearless, though the morality that Reacher brings along with him poses an occasional “what is right?” type of question. It was engaging enough to want to read/hear the next one in the series, though I’m going to have to stop after that to renew my pursuit of enjoying books across the spectrum. For long trips or a regular commute, this book would be a powerful companion.