Saturday, March 28, 2015

On The Nightstand

One thing I have always enjoyed is reading. Especially at night, when I don't have to get up in the morning.

If there's a gentle rain outside, all the better.

Lee Child's series of Jack Reacher novels is a favorite. I tell you what, the man can write.

You've heard, no doubt, "this is a book you can't put down." With Lee Child, it's true.

Last week I read the predecessor to this book, A Wanted Man. Let's just say, I didn't get a lot of sleep last week.

Mr. Child pulls you in practically from the first sentence. I find myself wanting to read "just a few more pages" and realize that I'm pushing midnight. Six o'clock is not far away. But even then, the temptation is to keep reading.

I want to know what happens next.

You may recall that there is a recent film, starring Tom Cruise, entitled Jack Reacher. Same character, in fact Lee Child has a cameo in the film. I didn't know that and when I watched it on BluRay, I had to pause it.

"Damn, that guy looked familiar."

Rewind and yup, Lee Child. I thought that was pretty cool. YMMV.

At first I was pretty excited about this movie and planned to actually lay out the cash and the time to go to the theater and see it. Then I found out that Tom Cruise was going to play Jack Reacher.

Hhmm, gave me pause that did.

For the character Jack Reacher is a very large guy. He stands 6'5" tall and is all muscle. So I decided not go see this one at all. I mean come on, I like Tom Cruise, but geez, he's like what, all of 5'7" tall?

Then I read this: Lee Child was quoted as saying, "Reacher's size in the books is a metaphor for an unstoppable force, which Cruise portrays in his own way."

So I thought, what the heck, it's on Netflix now, which I've already paid for. So I can spare a couple hours for the movie.

I'm glad I did, now I wish I'd gone to the theater. Would have been good on that big screen.

Tom did a fine job portraying Jack Reacher, it surprised the heck out of me. He was very believable as Reacher.

Oddly enough though, you know how when you watch a movie based on a book, the next time you read that book (or another if it's part of a series) you "see" the characters as the ones from the film? (For instance, Sean Connery's face pops into my mind every time I read Hunt for Red October. Uh, Sarge... How many times have you read that book? Uh, like 12 times, or so. Seen the movie 5 times.) That didn't happen with the Reacher character.

In my mind's eye, he's this average looking guy who just happens to be big and resourceful.

Jack Reacher is a good man to have on your side. He's also not someone you want coming after you.

If you want a good read, you can't go wrong with Lee Child.

You can read more about him, here.

As for Jack Reacher, former Major and military policeman in the U.S. Army? You can read about him, here.

The Sarge rates these books...

Five Phantoms!
(Out of Five)

In the on deck circle...

Another favorite author of mine, Jeff Shaara. His dad, Michael (who sadly passed away in 1988 at the age of 60) wrote The Killer Angels. The son is every bit as good as the father.

Oh yeah, got the books on sale at Barnes & Noble just last week. As a fellow of (mostly) Scots descent, I'm always on the lookout for a bargain.

I'm fiscally responsible, not cheap, nay, not even parsimonious!

Report to follow...


  1. Totally agree, I've read all of his books. It is very hard to put one down, but then there is the excitement of knowing what you have to look forward to. I would up his rating to 5 B-52's!

    1. Ah yes, the B-52 rating certainly packs quite a punch!

  2. The Shaara clan is unique in my experience where the son writes equally as well as the Father. Great books. Shortly after reading "The Killer Angels" I visited Gettysburg for the first time -having read the book made the experience more meaningful than it might have been otherwise.

    A friend of mine just married a Navy SEAL, and while he had lots of tats I never paid attention to them. While out drinking one night I noticed one arm was covered with a tat of a man, and when I asked who it was he said "Joshua Chamberlain". Could have floored me. We then spent a lot of time talking about Joshua, Maine, the Civil War and other related topics. He is well read and has visited many of the Civil War sites, more than I and he is probably only 25 or so. Great guy, smart, soft spoken, extremely polite.

    1. My brother has visited the Chamberlain home in Maine, apparently it's a museum now.

      You friend's husband sounds like a good man.

  3. I've read the entire series of Jack Reacher books. Of them (I think it's 23 now), I only saw one coming. That's my mark of a successful mystery thriller author. I'm giving him 4 Eagles using the new OAFS rating system. :-)
    I thought the Shaara books on WWII were very good. I'm having trouble getting through "A Chain of Thunder" though. About Vicksburg, a campaign we studied at SAMS and did a terrain walk on site, I was very interested. I'm about halfway through and he's still developing characters. Pemberton had confidence issues, both self and in and of his men. Got it. Drive on. But that's just me. As Sarge is wont to say YMMV.

    1. Four Eagles? Nice rating.

      So far I've read everything I could get my hands on by Shaara. Loved his WWII books.

      Have you read Gone for Soldiers? A novel of the Mexican-American War. We get a glimpse of those Civil War leaders when they were still relatively junior officers.

    2. No, still trying to slog through Vicksburg. It's in my kindle queue though.

    3. Well, it took Grant a while to get through Vicksburg too.

  4. Excellent books but being a prodigious reader, I find books like these are bad for my health ;-) I spend all day long at work drinking too much coffee trying to stay
    awake at work because the night before I keep saying one more chapter, just one more chapter!!!

  5. Yep, good reads, but I refuse to give Cruise a penny of my money. :-)

  6. See, it's that first sentence grabbing you! Everyone likes a good hooker. I've only read one Jack Reacher book. I did like it. I liked the movie too, and like you said, Tom did a good job, but I still do not visualize him as Jack Reacher. I like Tom Clancy novels and have seen lots of Jack Ryan movies. It's funny that I don't have a clear picture of who should play Jack Ryan or Jack Reacher. I've never read Shaara, but I'm interested. My favorite spy/mystery/save the world author is David Baldacci.

    1. I recall that my Dad was a Baldacci fan. He too read a lot. Perhaps I inherited that particular gene from him!

    2. Baldacci tells a pretty good tale. His has an anti-2nd Amendment bias that he slips into his books from time to time that tends to put me off.

  7. Never heard of this child cat. Sampled the first Reacher novel and bought it four minutes later. Liking it so far so mersey boocoo for the steer. You're much better than goodreads, Sarge. Have to sample that shaara dude next. Miss my tv not at all but I'd suffer greatly without my kindle.

  8. I had the same reservations as you did about Cruise as Reacher for the same reasons. I avoided it in the theater, but have to admit that it works very well as a movie. I didn't know about the cameo. Ill have to go back and look for that.
    I burned through the Reacher books in record time. Another series I enjoyed as much is Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series. I read through all those in record time and, having preordered, am currently awaiting the latest releases from both Child and Silva.

    1. I really enjoy the Gabriel Allon series. Another author who is hard to put down.

  9. I think I've read 8 or 9 of the Jack Reacher books, and they're good, but a bit formulaic- He wanders into town, gets caught up in somebody's problem, has a fleeting fling with the heroine, but it'll never work so he leaves town after a dramatic crescendo of drama. I'll continue to read them, but I'm looking forward to the new Mitch Rapp novels. Vince Flynn died in 2013, and he was my all time favorite author, but another novelist is picking up the series. Anybody like Brad Thor's books?

    1. Mitch Rapp? Back in action?

      It's going to be tough to fill Vince Flynn's shoes, he was another favorite. I too look forward to that.

      I've read a couple of Brad Thor's books. They're alright.

      No, I'm not damning with faint praise, he's a good writer. I'm just not that into his work.

    2. Re: Brad Thor, The last few have been a little TOO realistic for my taste. Too much like today's reality and I read this genre to escape from that. I want the good guys to annihilate the bad guys and everything to be basically all right with the world in the end. If I wanted reality, I'd only read Instapundit. (I was going to say I'd watch the news, but that's even more fictional.)

    3. Bottom line, good guys win. And win big.

      Bad guys lose.

      Like Reacher says, "It's not enough to know you've won, the other guy has to know he lost. In no uncertain terms."


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