After a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG while I’m writing again! Woohooo I can’t believe it myself.
The reason for starting to write is the shitty year we’ve been having. So, whenever I’m going through a rough time, I write. I personally am not going through a rough time, on the contrary, I’m having one of the best years of my life. But the world seems like it’s going to hell in a handbasket. It almost seems like this year’s death toll could be a plot like in a SF preapocalyptic book – the aliens are aware the world is on the brink of destruction and they are kidnapping cool people and faking their deaths (Bowie, Cohen, Wilder, Prince, Rickman….). And the rise of the extreme right parties all over the world does not help either…
So, with all of this it is funny (not ha-ha) that I just finished reading Lee Child‘s second book in the Jack Reacher series: Die Trying. In this book, Reacher is accidentally kidnapped by a group of militiamen from somewhere-in-the-middle-of-nowhere, Montana together with an FBI agent (and daughter of a US general), Holly. What follows is a book that really gets its claws into you and doesn’t let go. It’s tense, interesting and even teaches you things at times. The book is not perfect, but there are elements of this book that are really good.
Now how does all this connect to the shitty 2016?
I’m glad you asked – the leader of the militia is a d00d who has some really interesting (sarcasm font) ideas. I felt at times that Child described him wrong when he made him really pale and tall and of heavy build. He should have made him an orange man with questionable hair and proclivity to write his name on things. He is a leader who fosters fear by limiting the contact of his followers with the facts. He is a man who believes power is what you can force people to do. He is a man who believes in the supremacy of one race and nation over other races and nations. He builds on the basic paranoia of people today that government is everywhere and that the only way to avoid this or to fight this is to attack first.
There are some statements from those militiamen in the book that seem like they are being used today by the extreme right all over the world (especially in the US as we have seen during this election year)
“It is logical that whatever doesn’t appear in the media is what is really happening.”
“The brave man retaliates. But the man who is both brave and clever acts differently. He retaliates first. In advance.”
All of this is dispersed throughout the book in a way that simply makes sense. The sermons of the leader are not given as he threatens to kill the hero as we have seen many times in books and movies. They are incorporated in the plot of the book. Reacher is being told things when there is need for them to be told, when the leader either wants to persuade Reacher to join them or when he plans to use Reacher a s messenger.
Reacher remains the same character as he is in the first book – real-life man, but in some things extremely good. The other characters are equally human. Take for example Holly – there are some moments when she annoyed me to hell, but then I realized that the reason she annoyed me was that I was expecting her to be perfect – strong, self confident, rational…. when in fact she was average in many respects. She was annoyed when Reacher under-evaluated the cost of her wardrobe; she wasn’t happy that once again her life was affected by the fact that her father is a general… But in the end she proved herself to be a 3 dimensional being, with fears and insecurities and with strengths and value.
All in all I would truly recommend this book to anyone looking for a seemingly light read which in the end turns to be a real food-for-thought book. It will make you question the other side, it will make you examine your own paranoia and it will also present to you the most AMAZING description of the skill and procedure involved in shooting a sniper rifle. And one of the best descriptions of head-shots I have so far come across
“The pale sun glinted on the steel. Then their view was disrupted. A silent puff of pink mist obscured the picture. When it cleared, the knife was still in the guy’s hand. But the guy had no head. His whole head was a shattered pink wound, and he was toppling slowly sideways.”
I have to admit I laughed a bit at this point – it could have been because I was reading this at 3 in the morning, or I could be a psycho
we’ll never know