Review – ‘Worth Dying For’ by Lee Child

Worth Dying For (Jack Reacher, #15)Worth Dying For by Lee Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been late coming to Lee Child’s novels featuring the iconic character of Jack Reacher. ‘Worth Dying For’ is undoubtedly a page turner, the writing style generates an urgency and is purpose designed for fast, breathless reading.
In this novel Child captures the isolation and vastness of Nebraska; in a curious way a spacious landscape yet at the same time claustrophobic.
The story follows Jack Reacher as he arrives in a remote farming community (how and why he’s there intrigue and as in all good suspense yarns you are kept waiting). A powerful family clan – the Duncans – rule the roost and impose their will on a cowed community. At the centre of the plot is a mysterious shipment moving overland from Canada to the US. Its content is the subject of tension and rivalry between competing ‘mobs’ and the Duncans. Jack Reacher is very soon caught in a maelstrom of personal jeopardy and violence as he deals with the Duncans and their ‘dissatisfied’ clients (over the shipment) while investigating the strange past disappearance of a young girl, the daughter of a member of this terrified community.
As a writer of crime/thriller novels myself, I was fascinated by the Jack Reacher character. He is fearless, has the courage of a lion, highly resourceful – even superhuman – but his drive as a lawless ‘White Knight’ hero to impose righteousness and avenge evildoing reaches psychopathic proportions. Did I feel empathy for him as a reader? Where are the human flaws, vulnerabilities that, as writers, we are supposed to imbue in our characters? Is he credible?
Putting that aside, all in all this is a compelling thriller read that sweeps you along to a satisfying climax and resolution.

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