Publisher: Random House Group Ltd
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This is my first encounter with Jack Reacher, the protagonist of Lee Child’s – ‘A Wanted Man’ and when I reached the last page, I actually realized that this is the 17th book in the series of the Jack Reacher Thriller! I chided myself and decided that all was not lost! I could now work my way backwards… Coming to ‘A Wanted Man’…
The plot unfolds with an eye witness’s vague description of a crime to the county sheriff. (Location? Unknown!) Simultaneously, followed by Jack Reacher trying to hitch a ride to Virginia, on a cold windy night. After being on the road for almost an hour and a half, he finally manages to get a lift, in a car with three people – two men and a woman, all three wearing similar outfits, as if a corporate uniform; who introduce themselves as Alan King, Donald McQueen And Karen Delfuenso.
While most of Reacher’s story is on the roads, FBI Agent Julia Sorenson is investigating a murder case at the same time in the tiny little state of Nebraska. All along the road trip, Reacher arbitrarily analyses his three companions; either to eliminate the possibility of him being in any trouble or out of sheer complacent habit. On the other end, the investigation discloses the murder being linked to terrorist activities, the suspects being involved in car jacking, kidnapping and holding a waitress hostage as a smoke screen to escape the law. The waitress happens to be Karen Delfuenso!
When Reacher learns that there is much more going on than meets the eye, he decides to play the knight in shining armor and rescue the damsel in distress. But as the plot furthers, he realizes that what he thought to be a piece of cake, is in fact a mere piece of an immensely complicated jig saw puzzle. A puzzle that entwines not only the county law, but the FBI, the State Department, the CIA, and the anti-terrorism squad. And putting the pieces could mean risking his life.
As I was initially introduced to Reacher, the first adjective that popped into my mind was – Rogue! With a physique of 6feet 5inches, and a broken nose, one would assume Reacher to be a mere combatant. While, in actuality, Reacher is an ex-army cop, who calculates his moves mentally before implementing them physically. He knows all the postal codes and population census of every possible geographical location in his vicinity by heart, and is extremely bright in remembering the minutest details of his country’s history. He loves math, and is constantly decoding messages, irrespective of their relevance to the situation. His brain works faster than any computer or technologically advanced gadget and that is how he dissects his opponents! I’m in total awe!
Although, at some point, the narrative becomes a drag, Lee Child succeeds in creating a significantly substantial atmosphere, with extremely vivid and descriptive scenarios. Every turn on the road, every location of gas pumps during the car chases, every minutest detail meticulously outlined, creating the aura of connecting you to Reacher as his invisible shadow; keeps you rooted to the plot!
Keeping you guessing at all times, proving every assumption to be a delusion, and adding twists at points when you would give up hoping for some action, Lee Child effectively wields his readers! Just a tiny drawback that I observed – either the enemy is too predictable, or Reacher is exceptionally talented! I’d like to go with the later!
Oh! Did you know that you could speak for one whole minute without the use of the alphabet “a”? To know how, leap into the Jack Reacher thriller – ‘A Wanted Man’!