Die Trying by Lee Child

March 24, 2016

die trying Plot summary (from the publisher): When a woman is kidnapped off a Chicago street in broad daylight, Jack Reacher’s in the wrong place at the wrong time. He’s kidnapped with her. Chained together and racing across America toward an unknown destination, they’re at the mercy of a group of men demanding an impossible ransom. Because Reacher’s female companion is worth more than he imagines. Now he has to save them both—from the inside out—or die trying….

Warning: Spoilers below!


  • One of the biggest problems I had with The Killing Floor (first Jack Reacher novel) was the way Child used very short, clipped sentences from beginning to end. The writing style made the book very hard to read. This time, I listened to the audiobook, so the short sentences were less noticeable and far less disturbing.
  • I liked Holly Johnson. I expected her to be either an annoying whiner or an incompetent idiot, like many secondary characters in action novels. But Child managed to strike a good balance between bad-assedness and vulnerability with this character, which made me enjoy her scenes a great deal.
  • It was fun having Reacher’s old C.O. join in on the action. That guy sounds pretty intriguing, so I wonder if he’ll be back in future installments. I hope so.


  • Holly and Reacher have been kidnapped and their lives are in peril, yet they still decide to take time out to have sex??? Are you fucking kidding me? This kind of shit just bothers me to no end.
  • There were a ton of ludicrous plot points and details along the way, from Reacher not being killed immediately by Beau to Jack convincing Ray that he had a tracking device implanted in his body and was taking orders from the “world army” to his shooting a “B” into a distant tree instead of aiming for the target in a shooting competition (when his life was at stake).
  • The novel was way, WAY too long. The “action” slowed way down when Holly and Reacher were stuck at the militia compound, and their escape took too long to get off the ground. A number of scenes could have been cut without losing the essence of the story. If I hadn’t been listening to the audiobook, I might have put this down at the 3/4 mark and never picked it up again.


Though I’m not 100% sold on the Jack Reacher series yet, I do think Die Trying was better than the first one — if only because it was in an easier-to-digest audiobook format. The story was okay and I did get to like Reacher a bit more this time around. I’ve got the next two audiobooks in the series on tap from my library, and will likely listen to them in the near future. After four books, I should be in a better position to decide whether or not Jack is for me. Right now it’s a tossup. I give this book 3 stars out of 5.

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