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“Die Trying” is one of those Reacher-ends-up-in-the-wrong-place kinds of stories that has plenty of unexpected twists. It’s not going to blow you away with the action or the emotional experience, however. Reacher is more human (and fallible) in this novel but you may not feel a strong investment in his story this time around.
Lee Child leaves you guessing what’s going on at the start of the book. Some carpenters walk into a building, get to work and afterwards the owner shoots them dead. Next you meet FBI agent Holly Johnson who runs into Reacher and is kidnapped moments later.
Reacher gets dragged along for the ride.
As a reader you have no clue how the two are linked but you have an inkling it’s a kidnapping of some sort. What you don’t know is “why”. That was one of the good points of the novel — you thought one thing and the reasons turn out to be completely different.
The twists and turns after this also keep you guessing and on your toes.
There was little that I felt that was “bad”. Some of the things that happen in the end seemed strained more than anything else. Reacher certainly made mistakes and was more compassionate than in later novels — that’s hardly a bad thing either.
There was something that felt off to me (and it’s purely an opinion). Maybe it was the use of the Montana Militia. In Killing Floor, it felt like Reacher was dealing with an international counterfeit ring. In this novel, he was dealing with a homegrown terrorist group.
Compared to the action in Killing Floor, it felt like there was a lot less of it throughout the novel. Reacher spent most of his time pretending to be trussed up or trying to outwit the Montana Militia. Most of the real fighting came nearer to the last act.
Lee Child’s “Die Trying” was a good read but somehow it didn’t excite me as much. It didn’t feel as tied to the story as when I was reading Killing Floor where Reacher was out for revenge against the people who killed his brother. There were more than enough twists, turns, betrayals and surprises however to keep you on your toes.
You won’t be blown away by the level of action or the portrayal of emotional experiences though it’s still worth a read if you want to go through the whole Reacher series in order.