quinta-feira, novembro 17, 2016

Bubble Gum Fun or On How Davy Crockett Plays a Stupid Part: “Night School” by Lee Child

The way I read the Jack Reacher novels is for their underpants. Because Jack doesn't own clothes he isn't wearing, it means I can know how long he's been wearing the same set of underpants. I’ve been told he changes every three days, which to my way of thinking is still not often enough, to say the least (I change them daily…lol), but in some of the novels it's a lot, lot longer than that. I don’t know how the other characters don’t notice this, or if they do, they’re afraid he’ll punch them in the face. If underpants are a bit too intimate for you, we can do socks, and Jack does an awful lot of running, jumping, falling. He must change them very often. And he might carry a toothbrush but there's no dental floss or mouthwash, no deodorant stick or spray. I think you'll find that about ten books ago he got a job digging swimming pools. Off the top of my head I can't remember whether he used a spade or just his bare hands. Or maybe his fold up toothbrush. And, yes, in my mind, Jack Reacher's sweat always smells of Old Spice.

This latest novel is simply dreadful, ludicrous, and fun at the same time. I’ve read almost all of Jack Reacher novels. Some of them nearly have been good, some have been great. This one is terribly sketchy and also with an implausible plot, a total lack of character development, no pace, no excitement; it's as if Lee Child has just taken me for granted. He's clearly resting on his royalty payments and having a laugh, at this readers' expense. I don’t know how much I can take.

In almost every book he decides to have a wander around the good ol' USA (this time the wandering is in Germany…), he finds trouble, mean folk and many fights. As well as some poor innocent who needs his help. Not to mention a beautiful woman who, lucky for him, usually happens to find him very attractive, just to reassure us that he hasn't turned gay without us noticing, or he stumbles upon some really nasty criminal activity completely by accident, usually while getting tanked up on coffee, and he meets a uniformed (police or ex-army) girl, and they have a shower in some sleazy motel room and go to bed (this time this role falls on Neagley, and we all know it won’t amount to anything). After that Reacher kills all of the bad guys. The end. Formulaic in the extreme, but somehow comforting that this giant of a man is looking after all of our interests.

I'll say nothing more, except this: The plot is still deliciously ludicrous and we can also see Lee Child would still not be able to recognise a metaphor if it walked up and punched him in the nuts.

Lee, wake up time. Some strong dissatisfaction, despite all the fun with the plot... In truth, Reacher as a binge surfeits very fast. He's a lot more appetizing once in a while, as a variant in the thriller-suspense diet. This year this is my second Reacher. What am I to do???

2 comentários:

Book Stooge disse...

WAY too much personal info man! Your underpants was NOT on my list of things to know about :-)

On a Reacher note, I had to give up the series because it was just too violent for me. I never thought I would say that about a book but it went where I just couldn't follow. So it sounds like I made the correct decision...

Manuel Antão disse...


To change or not to change the underpants daily, that's the question...

I know what you mean about the violence. This one has almost no violence. It's all on the brainy side of things, if I can say such a thing when it comes to a Lee Child book.