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Fraze



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PostSubject: Jack Reacher   Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:38 am

Anyone else read the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child? They're crime novels about a huge ex-military cop who travels across America righting wrongs, cracking heads and drinking gallons of black coffee. I guess he's a bit like a watered down version of Nick Hughes or Mick Coup. Smile

Personally I prefer the John Rain series by Barry Eisler for the tradecraft and the fights but Reacher has sold millions and the new book, "The Affair" came out a few weeks ago and my girlfriend and Mum are straight onto the books once I've read them.

They're good escapist fun although I can't see how the movie is going to work with Tom Cruise playing the 6'5 250lb Reacher. I was flicking through MAI in the station the other day and there was a photo of the Keysi guys on the set of the Reacher movie so I guess we know what to expect from the fights.
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Chris
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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:07 am

Love the Reacher books. Can't fault them for entertainment.

I'm also concerned about the Tom Cruise/Jack Reacher size disparity. I just don't see how that can get past it in the movie without changing the nature of the character and the plots.

I'm also a big fan of Eisler and the John Rain books. Missed the last one I must admit but not for any other reason than I simply have too many books to read and too little time.
Problem with John Rain is I don't know how long Eisler can continue to use him amongst the action without age deteriorating his skills to the point where it moves from improbable to physically miraculous!!

Of the genre, only Reacher and Rain have managed to maintain my attention. Everyone else has fallen by the wayside after a book or two.
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Dreads



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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:12 am

Hi,

I've read a couple of the Jack Reacher books and I'm not a huge fan, I found them to be basically all the same. Loner man finds himself in a strange town, meets some locals who up to no good, loner man doesn't leave town when warned because no one tells him what to do. Goes back into town, sorts it all out, scores the girl but then always leaves town again. Because he is the lone man.

It's like the same episode that just gets repeated.

I much prefer John Rain, the stories are much more substantial and to me the fights scenes and tradecraft make them more fun to read. Regarding the issue of age creeping up on John Rain. I like the idea that his age is suspended in time, he doesn't age and he goes on ad infinitum...
A bit like Bond really, I mean if James Bond aged he would have to be played by someone who is probably ninety.

This would probably throw up other issues like realism and authenticity, but ha ho...

cheers.
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Nick Hughes



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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:20 am

You guys need to try out the books by Coes. His character is called "Dewey" who's ex Delta Force.

Coes worked in Washington for a while before turning his hand to writing and his books are politically sound. His 2nd in the series "Coup d'Etat" is absolutely brilliant and shows just how a war between Pakistan and India would probably go down.

The whole Cruise/Reacher thing is just dumb no matter which way you cut it.

Went off Eisler after listening to his political ramblings. Can't abide guys who swing to the left, who write about characters to the right of Atilla the Hun and make money from it. Child falls into the same camp and when his political leanings made their way into a Reacher novel his sales dropped like a rock to the point where he had to remove all mention of them in later novels.

Nick

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Chris
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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:17 pm

Lee Childs WAS a left wing reporter for the Guardian for a while as well as being a television media type until the recession left him out of work.

I'm a fan of the writing style when it comes to Childs. All too often the genre is without real writing talent. The exceptions are Childs, Morrell and to a certain extent Eisler. These are guys who can write first and foremost and that ability, quality shines through.

Other entries in the genre are like bad television, instantly forgettable and horribly written. Leaves me cold.

For anyone who is into the "ex soldier/spec ops" genre I would always recommend the Bob Lee Swagger series. Can't go wrong.

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cartmelpete



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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:08 pm

One of the original 'lone mystery guy hits town and falls foul of the local thugs' books is a book called Hardacre or Hardacre's Way by William Wingate.

First read it in the early 80's and then got a copy from the local library and re read it recently, still stands up over time. Familiar plot, ex military guy comes to small town in Tennessee or Virginia and tangles with the local inbreds.

Read one of the Swagger books, quite good fun but I found the fight scenes although enjoyable a little unrealistic. Shall have to check out the Reacher and Rain series's

Of course, in my opinion the Morell 'First Blood' is a classic. I thought the movie version sucked, completely lost the character of the book as the book version of John Rambo was a badass to the end, no wimpy braking down and crying shit for him, went out in a blaze, if not of glory
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Dave



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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:54 am

Thanks for the heads up guys, I have read a reacher book 'Die Trying' wasnt a big fan a bit too unrealistic for me, but one of the guys at work loved it and has become a big Lee Childs fan because of it. I think I'll look into the Rain books as the fight scenes sound quite good. Very Happy
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Fraze



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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:46 am

OK, a quick rundown on the ‘tough guy’ genre. I get a lot of amazon vouchers for Xmas and birthday so I’ve read a bunch of these.

Jack Reacher series by Lee Child
Seems like everyone has a good handle on this.

John Rain series by Barry Eisler
Half American-Half Japanese assassin. Lots of tradecraft, judo, combatives, jazz and single malt whiskey. Rain reminds me of a more contained version of Tom Cruise’s character in Collateral. I prefer these to the Reacher books but maybe that’s because Lee Child comes across as a pretentious ass whereas I met Barry Eisler once at a signing and he seemed pretty cool and bought a round of beers for us. Good fight scenes in these books, Eisler has put his time in at the dojo.

Mitch Rapp series by Vince Flynn
Rapp is the CIA’s top deniable counter-terrorist agent who spends most of his time hunting and killing Middle Eastern terrorists. He’s also a competitive triathlete. If you like 24 you’ll probably like these as Rapp is basically Jack Bauer. Flynn is not quite as much of a flag waver as Tom Clancy but not far off. He can tell a story though, these are good page turners.

Samuel Carver series by Tom Cain
Ex-SBS turned freelance assassin. Carver comes across as the Daniel Craig Bond. The books vary in quality. I think there are 5 out now and I have the 4th in my to read pile. Good for passing the time on the train.

Myron Bolitar series by Harlan Coben
Myron’s a sports agent and is a tough guy but the real badass is his best friend Win – a real life Batman (rich sociopath who travelled the world learning how to mess up criminals.) Myron is the most humorous character of the lot with a nice trade in one-liners and self-deprecation. Mostly the stories revolve about his sports clients.

Nick Stone series by Andy McNab
Stone is obviously based on McNab himself and he is definitely a squaddie rather than a suave James Bond type. Stone is usually down on his luck and struggling to make ends meet so when he goes into the field he is usually getting by on a budget. McNab has turned into a decent thriller writer, certainly a lot better than Chris Ryan and Duncan Falconer who are the other ex-SF guys turning out fiction these days. Firewall is being filmed at the moment with Jason Statham as Nick Stone.

Atticus Kodiak series by Greg Rucka
Best name of the lot. Atticus is an army trained bodyguard based in New York and he has evolved quite a bit over the series. Rucka is a good thriller writer but his stuff only seems to get published in the US but bigger comic book shops carry his books because Rucka is known mainly for comics. He has also written a few novels about Tara Chace, one of three ‘Minders’ for MI6 who are basically like the ‘Double Oh’ section from James Bond.

Hap and Leonard series by Joe R Lansdale
Something different. Hap is a straight, white, slacker. Leonard is a gay, black Republican ex-soldier. They are a pair of middle aged guys who live in Texas and get into a variety scrapes with drug dealers, bikers, the Klan and other assorted hillbillies and backwoods types. In a scrape they are also rely on boxing, kenpo and hapkido like Lansdale himself who also founded his own style, ‘Shen Chuan’. One of the books, ‘Captains Outrageous’ features Hap taking on a guy who is high on PCP. It’s a chaotic fight and was based on a fight one of Lansdale’s students had in his role as a cop.

James Bond by Ian Fleming
If all you know are the movies then these are worth a look. The Bond in the books is a more human, fallible and slightly darker character. At the start of Goldfinger he has just killed a drug dealer with a chin jab and an axe hand.

That should keep everyone going!

Someone mentioned the Scott Harvath series by Brad Thor (!) as being worth a look. It sounds pretty similar to Mitch Rapp. I’ll have to look out for the Dewey books Nick mentioned as well.
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Chris
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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:11 am

Hap and Leonard rock hard!!! Very Happy great shout out from Fraze.

I've heard bad bad things about the Brad Thor stuff so have steered clear.

I do like Coben though, probably the best story-teller of them all.

I tried the McNab stuff and enjoyed them for a while but then drifted away. I do think he's the best of a pretty bad bunch but I don't waste time on anything that I don't really respond to these days. Must be getting old!!

You could try the Dave Robicheaux books by James Lee Burke. Different and offbeat but definitely worth a look.
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Nick Hughes



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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:03 pm

Stephen Leather wrote some great books when I was still working in the UK. The Chinaman is awesome. Can't find his stuff here at all.

The Bourne books are way better than the movies - at least the first 3 are...give the latter ones a big swerve.

Thor's stuff is great. I really like his series but it is interchangeable with the Rapp character by Flynn.

+1 re the Bond series by Fleming...good stuff.

You also might want to try...

The Jonathan Quinn series about a cleaner by author Brett Battles. Very cool series about a guy who cleans up the other guy's messes instead of the usual gung-ho crap.

Anything by A.J. Quinnel (a pseudonym) who wrote Man on Fire (ex Legionnaire turned bodyguard unlike the American movie versions where he's always CIA *sigh*)

If you can get them in the UK read the Prey series by John Sandford about Lucas Davenport - a homicide cop in Minnesota. Brilliant brilliant series and awesome writing.

Also, our mate Marcus Wynn has his stuff out and is writing new stuff as we speak. His "Air Marshalls" was brilliant and 100% accurate because as most of you know, Marcus was one back when they were first created.

Finally, Daniel Silva's books about Gabriel Allon the Israeli assassin and art restorer are always good.

Nick


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Peter
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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:35 pm

As I spend a lot of time in motorway hotels, for legitimate reasons I hasten to add, I have read all but one of the Jack Reacher novels and they are good pulp, dont want to think too hard 'cos I'm tired bedtime reading. But the film sounds like it will be rubbish, especially with the Keysi involement!

The John Rain books were good.

I'm currently getting through the old Wilbur Smith "Courtney family" books which are excellent.
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Fraze



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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:00 pm

I forgot about Quinn. I read the first one of his and it was OK but it didn't make me pick up the second one.

The Chinaman - is that the one where the guy's wife and daughter are murdered in London? I think I looked at it once. I'll look it up though.

I forgot about Gabriel Allon. Those books are pretty good but there is some silly stuff in them like in one book there is an ex SAS assassin who hides a hunting knife up his sleeve which seemed a bit silly. Good stories though.

I just looked at my book shelf and have to give a shout for the Burke series by Andrew Vachss. Vachss is a lawyer who deals exclusively in child protection cases and Burke is his NY based mercenary character who works with a curious crew of off the radar criminals for hire. A lot of neo nazis, people traffickers and pedos come to grief at the hands of Burke and his crew.

Chris - Vachss and Lansdale collaborated on a short story where Veil, Vachss' alter ego comes to Texas at Hap's request to represent Leonard after he burns down the local crackhouse and hospitalises the residents. Again.

Finally - way before there was Tomb Raider and Charlies Angels there was Tarantino's favourite: Modesty Blaise. The Peter O'Donnell are surprisingly good thrillers with decent fight scenes and Nick will like them as Modesty's right hand man is Willie Garvin - unparalleled with throwing knives, Muay Thai expert, irresistible to women and an ex Foreign Legionnaire.

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Nick Hughes



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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:09 pm

Mate, I read a lot of Modesty Blaise stuff (O'Donnell was ahead of his time). Used to like the syndicated cartoon strip to but sadly can't find his books here at all. I've looked a million times and they're nowhere to be found.

Have you read any of Baldacci's stuff?

Also David Hagburg's stuff about Kirk McGarvey is good if you haven't read any of it.

Nick

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Mr Nobody



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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:59 pm

Chris wrote:

You could try the Dave Robicheaux books by James Lee Burke. Different and offbeat but definitely worth a look.

Definitely agree Chris. Burke is a very good writer too and sets a great mood during the story.
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cartmelpete



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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:13 pm

Nick Hughes wrote:
........If you can get them in the UK read the Prey series by John Sandford about Lucas Davenport - a homicide cop in Minnesota. Brilliant brilliant series and awesome writing......Nick

I second that. Fantastic series, realistic characters with human faults, good dialogue and good plots.

The only one of the current crop of writers I can get into. I've read the whole series.

If you can get them second hand the first three by George V Higgins are good. Friends of Eddie Coyle, Coogans Trade and The Diggers Game.

Gritty, realistic Crime fiction books set in the Boston underworld. Still good reads and the dialogue is great.
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Peter
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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:49 am

John Sandfords books are all available on Amazon UK, I'll give them a try.

Thanks for the tip
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Fraze



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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:04 am

A lot of people rate those Lucas Davenport books. I've heard really good things about James Lee Burke too.

Anyone read the Dennis Lehane novels about Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro? One of them was made into the movie Gone Baby Gone. Really good thrillers and Lehane did some writing for The Wire (best TV show ever.)

The best detective series I've read is the Javier Falcon series by Robert Wilson which all take place in Seville, Spain. No real combatives connection but really good thrillers with an interesting protagonist.

Nick - Titan books in the UK are reprinting the Modesty Blaise strips in large collections. They're pretty decent.
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GOVINDA



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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:42 am

Sorry to go off topic, but since we are chatting about books, did anyone see a programme called Banged up Abroad recently, basically it was about a guy, a long time Karate teacher who fell on hard times in Spain who needed to make cash pretty quick, anyway he made some wrong decisions and was caught, but I can't remember his name but he is now writing about his experiences and going by the programme it looks like its pretty good reading, anyone know anything ?
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Peter
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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:20 pm

I read the book once Govinda, I cant remember his name.

The book wasn't good it mostly "so I chinned him then was in charge" type stories.

If you want a great book about being banged up get "You got nothing coming" by "Jimmy Lerner". It is utterly hilarious and also conveys the boredom and fear of prison life.

As an aside, "Ice Man - confessions of a mafia contract killer" by "Philip Carlo" is also well worth reading
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cartmelpete



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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:56 am

Peter wrote:
...If you want a great book about being banged up get "You got nothing coming" by "Jimmy Lerner". It is utterly hilarious and also conveys the boredom and fear of prison life....

Funnily enough, (literally), I just finished re reading it for the second time last week. First time was about 7 yrs ago. Yes, he really has a way with words and luckily for him a lot of the guys inside didn't realise he was taking the piss out of them....ever so subtly

Don't know how much is actually true or just various composites of his prison experiences as there was some controversy about the way he portrayed in the book the guy that he killed which landed him inside on his manslaughter charge. Apparently the guy's sister took him to court to try to stop him financialy benefiting from the book sales.

Having said all that it really is a good read ,"Know what I'm sayin' dawg?"
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Peter
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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Tue Nov 15, 2011 3:19 pm

I do cartmel "Its all good in the hood wood" Laughing

Just a heads up, I have just been trawling for a new read and Marcus Wynne's novels are all 86p each on Amazon. Bargain, cheers Marcus!!
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cartmelpete



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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:45 am

Peter wrote:
I do cartmel "Its all good in the hood wood" Laughing

"I'm down wit' dat Bro" Very Happy

Anybody read any Tom Wolfe books?

If you want to get a good insight into a guy who is plucked out of his cozy, insulated world and thrown into a completely alien enviroment, ie being arrested and thrown into the police cells in the Bronx, one section of Bonfire Of The Vanities describes this beautifully?

Makes even more impact because the guy really is a fish out of water and a stranger in a strange land. Wolfe's powers of description and ability to capture the scene vividly have a lot to do with it as well. Apparently he spent a lot of time with some of the Bronx detectives whilst researching the book. Good book all round as are all his books.

Maybe a far cry from the original post about Jack Reacher though
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Chris
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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:11 am

Loved Jimmy Lerner's book. I was aware of the debate over the authenticity of some of the detail but put that down to the fact that there are always at least three opinions on "facts" and he was writing from his own perspective as a participant in the events. No way was he going to be objective.

If we're talking about "prison" memoir then I can recommend a few I have read recently.

I choose to live by Sabine Dardenne is fantastic but a tough read. Her complete lack of self pity is astonishing.

Screwed by Ronnie Thomson is an interesting view of the modern UK prison service and life behind bars.

Monster by Sanyika Shakur is an inteteresting read if you want to understand how kids in the "developed" world can be drawn into a gang mentality and subsequent criminal activity.

Papillion is a classic but more than a little dated now. Well worth a read.

I've got a load of the "hard man" memoirs that did the rounds a few years ago. Usually bought for me by well meaning friends and family. They tend to leave me cold. I'm much more interested in the attributes of normal people in exceptional circumstances. Give me something like "Zodiac" anyday rather than "Good guys wear black"

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rasdj



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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:37 pm

second the stuff by Marcus Wynne. his new Kindle books are great. Good fun. I like Barry Eislers' books and like his politics as it is a counter balance to some others. Bob Mayer's books are pretty good, he's ex special forces (Green Beret I believe) and writes a good story. The fight scenes aren't bad but I wish there were more detailed.
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Nick Hughes



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PostSubject: Re: Jack Reacher   Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:19 pm

I second the Mayer books...they are good. Yesterday I discovered a new author though and his first book is a cracker. His name is Marc Cameron and his book is called "National Security" Get it and enjoy. Five stars all the way.

Nick

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