Slow burn with An Explosive Finish
This is my third Jack Reacher book, and my third read of 2024 so far. As I’ve made clear, my goal is to read one book a week for each week in 2024 and review them upon completion. A majority of these books will be Jack Reacher books, given the 29th book in the series will release this year.
Am I a little worried that I won’t be able to complete my goals? Very, if I’m being honest. Last year I read maybe a grand total of less than twenty books. It’s difficult to find time to read, especially if you have a fool time career or have to spend most of your time looking for one.
I do not think I will give up though, even when I feel hopeless about the future and unsure where I will be, I have to have faith that things will work out. I have to trust my gut to guide me even when everyone else says I’m wrong.
The very same sort of internal conflict that is felt by Reacher in Tripwire. I found this to be Child’s best novel yet in the series. Previously Reacher has been very much an action hero, an invincible warrior with very few moments of emotional vulnerability. It’s only in Tripwire that we see a more human Reacher.
Working down in Key West digging pools and bouncing at bars, Reacher is low on funds less than two years into his hobo lifestyle. Then along comes a detective looking for him who turns up dead a few hours later, forcing Reacher to go back into the past and re-visit lost loves and departed friends.
Reachers journey to discover the mystery behind the murder takes him from Key West to New York to St Louis and even Hawaii. Meanwhile we are left with Chester Stone, heir to a dying fortune, who’s investment with a Victor Hobie may just rob him of everything he owns. Separate characters, almost entirely separate stories, connecting one massive mystery going back to the Vietnam War and a secret long buried.
I really truly enjoyed this book. Mainly because it kept me on edge, questioning motives and even left me feeling as unsure about my conclusions as Reacher does. As a former Military Police officer, Reacher is incredibly smart but even he can’t see every angle. I enjoyed the dynamic he had with his new love interest Jodie though do offer some criticism – like many of the Reacher previous love interests she’s a very submissive character, often following behind Reacher at every single point.
It's not the highlight of any Reacher novel when, surprise surprise, the female character throws herself at Reacher. It is not that Child writes females as a product of his time, if anything this book includes a character which proves Child’s can write a woman that takes the dominant position as the leader instead of the follower.
I’m also beginning to see a pattern emerge with the timeline for each novel. As a plot device, a narrow window to solve a crime does put pressure, and Reacher is an individual who doesn’t stay in one place for long. However, each novel comes to an end in a sort of rushed frenzy to action where all the sub-plots have to be tied up in less than twenty pages.
Quite honestly, another chapter just showing the conclusion to the novel would have been more effective and more efficiently felt. But, again, I know this is still Jack Reacher in the early phases of Child’s work. And in three novels I can see the genuine improvements being made to the storytelling.
Tripwire is a well-paced, thriller novel that has you on the edge of your seat questioning every piece of information and I LOVE it! It’s also a little rushed in places, particularly the ending, with Reacher’s love interests still continuing to play second fiddle to the man himself. That said, it’s the best novel I’ve read in the series so far.
Until next time, keep reading and if you have any recommendations send them to me! Otherwise, this is Harvey John signing off.
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