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We had an interesting Crime & Beyond meeting on Monday. It appears that many people are Reacher’d out for the time being. We’ll have to see how the vote goes in April because I know there is a Lee Child book on there.

And while we’re talking about votes, I will remind you that book and/or author suggestions are due by tax day, April 15th. If you can only make the deadline for one of those things, I suggest you get your priorities straight and work on the book list. You can get an accountant for the other. Please log in to Book Movement and add the books you’d like to see on the list under the “Possible Club Selections” tab. My usual disclaimer: if you suggest a book and don’t see it on the voting sheet, it’s because the library doesn’t have enough copies. I usually draw the line at around 8 copies, but we’re a larger group now so I am looking for closer to 10 or more.

The book we discussed was Lee Child’s A Wanted Man, and is #17 in the series. It has Jack-none-Reacher hitchhiking his way to Virginia to meet the woman he talked to on the phone 2 books ago. He’s in Kansas or Nebraska, you’ll forgive me for forgetting where he’s picked up, because they drive back and forth (as Kim pointed out) just like Hope and Despair. He’s picked up by a vehicle that contains 2 men and a woman. The woman in the back is clearly distressed and eventually uses an extremely involved blink code to tell Reacher that she’s been kidnapped and that she has a child at home. As events progress, Reacher is left at a motel and the car speeds off, with the woman still inside. He joins forces with local FBI agent Sorenson to try and track down the people in the car because the men are linked to a murder that took place in an old pumping station, which seems to be linked to terrorism.

Sharon led the discussion this month. Since we’ve read Lee Child before, she decided to make it interesting and gave us a quiz. She asked questions about Jack Reacher and Lee Child and gave a prize (a copy of Gone Tomorrow). For once Jeff did not win the quiz, and I am happy to say that I did - insert party horn sound here. I have listed the Q&A below because they are all very interesting.

There was a wide range of scores for the book, from 4 blinks to 11 blinks out of 10 (the 11 was emailed in from Kryss, go figure). Amy at first gave it a twitch and an eye roll, but then we nailed her down to 4 blinks just so we were comparing apples to apples.

We had quite a few Reacher Virgins. It was the first Lee Child book for Raj, Janine, Bruce, Pat and Jody (I know Jody went out and read 5 more after this one, but I think she said this was her first). Of the first timers, the scores were mostly in the 6 to 7 range (Bruce primarily reads non-fiction and only gave it a 4). I thought this was interesting that the first timers gave it a decent score.

Of the non-Reacher Virgins, Jeff takes the cake because he’s read every book. Since we can consider him an expert on Reacher (Other than Kryss, who lets face it is really only an expert on him physically) it was interesting to note that Jeff thought this was one of the weaker books in the series. He still gave it an 8. I guess a weak Lee Child book can still be better than a good Lisa Jackson book. I’m just sayin’.

We had a few comments about the body count. Some people thought it was excessive, but most of us who have read other Reacher books weren’t shocked. I don’t know how accurate it is, but here’s a link to a site I found that lists each book in the series and gives facts about the books, such as locale, and includes the number of kills. Unfortunately, the book isn’t filled in yet:

http://www.yuchtar.com/Books/Reacher.html

Some of the negative comments were: boring, redundant, formulaic, far fetched on the blinking code, and irritating. On the positive side, some people really liked the blinking code, many thought the book was entertaining, we enjoyed the ride with strange people, and it was a fun read. Dave gave it his trademark distinction of “popcorn novel” but that’s not a bad comment. It just means fun and entertaining, but not a lot of substance. And let’s face it, we don’t read them for their deep meaning and philosophical insights. We want to see Reacher kicking butt and taking names. If the bad guys are punished, most of us are happy.

Here are Sharon’s Lee and Jack Facts:

  • Lee Child is his pen name, what is the name he was born with? Jim Grant
  • What is the title of the first Jack Reacher novel? Killing Floor
  • Before he was a writer what was his profession? Commercial television
  • Where did his pen name come from? Lee comes from a family joke about mispronunciation of the name of Renault’s Le Car, while Child would place his work on bookstore shelves between crime fiction stars Raymond Chandler and Agatha Christie
  • What uncanny ability does Reacher possess? He always knows what time it is
  • What rank was Reacher when he left the Armed Forces? Major
  • How many brothers and sisters does Reacher have? 1 brother, Joe
  • What was Reacher’s job/trade while in the Armed Forces? Military Police
  • In which branch of the Armed Forces did Reacher serve? Army, 13 years
  • What description best fits Jack Reacher? Tall, well-built, short fair hair, and blue eyes
  • Extra Credit – What country did Reacher’s mother originally come from? France

The one question we didn’t ask, and I’m curious how everyone would answer……if you saw Reacher hitching a ride, would YOU pick him up?

Next month we will be discussing A Tap On The Window by Linwood Barclay. I believe this is a new author for us. There weren’t that many copies, so please return your copy to a librarian for the C&B shelf when you’re done & email the group to let us know there is one available. Thanks, and see you on April 28th.

Mrs. Kerry Reacher (yes, I’d pick him up, broken nose and all)

I completely forgot to thank Linda for her great cookies! I think I forgot because they went so fast that all I saw was an empty basket halfway through the meeting. The adorable little waters were great too, thanks Linda.

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