Review: Echo Burning – Lee Child

echo-burning-lee-child3 of 5 stars

Jack Reacher 5

My version:
Fiction Thriller, Crime
Bantam, Transworld

Jack Reacher, adrift in the hellish heat of a Texas summer.

Looking for a lift through the vast empty landscape.

A woman stops, and offers a ride.

She is young, rich and beautiful.

But her husband’s in jail.

When he comes out, he’s going to kill her.

Her family’s hostile, she can’t trust the cops, and the lawyers won’t help. She is entangled in a web of lies and prejudice, hatred and murder.

Jack Reacher never could resist a lady in distress.

So, the one where Lee Child got the title to his memoir from, then. And it’s very irritating. Very. Very. Irritating. More than the short sentences. Though he has developed that one on a little from the first two books. And! Reacher isn’t incarcerated in one form or another at the start of this one. Second book in a row. Or something. However, back to the irritation. Yes, the Reacher said nothing. Works a couple of times, would work spread out throughout the book, or used as, as it should, a way to get information out of the other person. If you are talking to someone, they come to a pause, you say nothing, they’ll say something to fill the gap before or because, it’s embarrassing. It’s a technique used by interviewers, police or otherwise. It isn’t a technique used in that way by Reacher. It’s supposed to make him strong and silent. Still waters running deep and all that. OK, I could go with that. But after the hundredth time (after the fifth or sixth time actually, but it felt like the hundredth) STOP IT! Just stop! How did the editor let it get through? Was Lee Child selling books by the lorry-load by this point, so they didn’t feel the could stop him? Did they wait until a reviewer (at the time) got bored reading and said something, then they decided to take the air out of it by announcing it as Lee Child’s memoir title?

Whatever. It doesn’t work.

What also doesn’t work, is the length of the book. If you’re going to write a(nother) long one, then the fill had better be good. It isn’t here. This feels like a half decent half idea stretched out beyond breaking point. The fill isn’t interesting, then I think: maybe the long wait is to build suspense for a hum-dinging pay-off? Nope. The pay-off isn’t worth the wading through pages of wordage to get to.

The final third does build up some interest and contains the best sections of the whole book. But it’s not worth what went before. So the stars in the rating are for the final third and what the book should have been.

Also, having just seen the latest (second) Tom Cruise Jack Reacher film, I can safely say, this one won’t be made into a film. Not as it is. If so, then old TC won’t have much trouble remembering his lines.

You can buy Echo Burning at The Book Depository

I’m on Goodreads here.

Related reviews on Speesh Reads:

Killing FloorDie Trying

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