…he’s going to do what needs doing, or he’s going to die trying.”
I have made a mistake all those not versed and/or not enthusiastic about research make. My sample was too small (and no, I am not making a pun about Tom Cruise here). I have made another mistake. I included my personal bias in my approach, and in analyzing the results. I admit, I thought… No, I was convinced that Lee Child, as all (or most) serial writers, will just continue with the practice that has proven successful in the first book of the series. But noooo, he had to screw it up and write a book that’s not better than the first one – just completely different, with a different narrator and a different focus. I mean, come on dude, I managed to defend Tom Cruise’s height and you go on and ruin that for me. Damn you!
In Die Trying we are dealing with a third-person narrator, which had me worried for Tom’s height. A bunch of characters talking (objectively) about Jack Reacher’s height and weight… Tom’s size was in serious danger after the very first chapter. And then Lee Child decided to make size a factor in the story and in the unfolding of events, which really dwarfed Tom’s chances of being big enough. Unfortunately for Tom Cruise, in Die Trying Jack Reacher’s character is inextricably connected to his size.
Die Trying focuses on the characters more than it does on the plot. You truly get to know Jack Reacher and you come to realize just how big of a guy he is. Dear, Tom. I am sorry. I am one of few who consider you a great actor, but dude you’re really too short to be Reacher. You wouldn’t have been able to save Holly in that barn. You wouldn’t have been able to strangle that dude no matter the adrenalin rush. I love you, but you wouldn’t have been able to beat those three dudes, no matter the fight choreographer. You don’t have “two hundred and fifty pounds of coiled fury” that can go “exploding against the force of [your] kick”.
I must say I have come to appreciate Lee Child on a different level after having read Die Trying. He’s a versatile writer, not afraid to step out of his comfort zone. Actually, I’m not sure he even has a comfort zone. The first and the second book of the Reacher series are so different in approach that I can see him going off to write the best chick-lit (starring Jack Reacher) – and doing it good.