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Book Note: Lee Child, Tripwire

I read this book about 10-Jul-2017. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1999. This note was last modified Wednesday, 12-Jul-2017 14:11:25 PDT.

This is book 3 of the "Jack Reach" series.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


Trying another semi-random mystery series with a good number of books.

Jack Reacher has been sort of drifting since retiring as a major of military police. He's now digging swimming pools by hand (in an old Florida neighborhood too tight to get modern machinery in) and being a bouncer at a strip club in the evenings. He's got the digging down to an art where it's his perfect workout, so he's in the best shape of his life (at age 39).

He finds two apparently independent sets of people looking for him, for no reason he can figure out, with no obvious connection to his past.

He eventually connects it back to a favor his old mentor and friend is doing for a neighbor, involving un-located Vietnam-era remains. And involves small and large criminals, a case of identity theft (which I spotted way too early), sex, love, New York City, and derring do.

Too many things bothered me, though I haven't gone back to double-check each one so maybe some are sloppy reading on my part.

I'm especially bothered by the converted industrial building in Manhattan that seems to have 12-foot ceilings and interior structural brick walls—but is more than 50 stories tall.

In several places Reacher assumes he can get out of the stairwells in a highrise short of the bottom. This isn't true in lots of them (it's a huge security problem to let people bypass the lobbies that way). It's true of some of them. Anybody know if it was true around the 88th floor of the World Trade Center? Anyway, Reacher should have checked, or thought about knowing the building, or something, rather than just counting on it and always winning.

When working as a manual laborer, Reacher buys new clothes rather than washing them. He's been doing this for three years, while living in a motel and eating in restaurants. He talks about his wage as low (though he does have the second job as bouncer). This passage is a nice (if a bit sudden) view into Reacher's mental state, but I'm doubtful about the economics of it. Manual labor means basically a full new set of clothes every day. And he talks about not noticing brands or shopping carefully, but just going in and buying anything that catches his eye in a window. I don't think it works.

He does, however, seem to have some idea how guns work; there's a decent description of why a DA/SA action eliminates the need for a manual safety, and of how much a suppressor actually cuts down the noise (not nearly as much as you might think; with 9mm you still want hearing protection).

Final verdict: I'll make at least some effort to find some other early books in this series.


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David Dyer-Bennet