Nothing to Lose by Lee Child

A book review of ‘Nothing to Lose’ by Lee Child

This was the second “Jack Reacher novel” (the character created by Lee Child) I have read and I didn’t enjoy it that much (see ‘Persuader‘ which I think was a better book).

The whole premise behind the character of Jack Reacher is that he is supposed to be the quintessential man who other men wish they could be.

But as a character he is way too far-fetched. He is 6ft 4, built like a brick house, an ex-military man who is now a drifter with no home and no possessions. In this story, besides being an expert about guns, weaponry and the law, he also has extensive knowledge of chemicals, metals, coffee, and is an atheist who can recite the Bible with all correct verses and can take down six large men without any injury to himself.

Just all a bit too far-fetched.

Also, while reading it, I began to understand some of the complaints about Tom Cruise playing the part of Jack Reacher in the upcoming movie: One Shot. I have nothing against Cruise, but Reacher is clearly described as a man over six feet tall with huge forearms and wrists thicker than two-by-fours. Not exactly a fitting description of Tom Cruise. Anyway, I’ll make my judgment once I’ve seen the movie.

Back to the novel. It starts with Reacher drifting into a town called Despair and being forcibly driven out by some of locals as they “don’t like strangers”. Reacher takes exception to this and, at the same time, his curiosity is piqued as to what they are hiding.

The town is owned and run by one man, who runs the local scrap and metal-recycling plant, which is the heart-beat of the town. But Reacher thinks the plant is really a cover up for something else, so he defies all the warnings and threats from the locals and continues to sneak back into Despair. The more he investigates, the more he starts to unravel a huge mystery.

Not a terrible book, the main story is plausible and there are some interesting theories about the current world wars. It would be better though, if Lee Child made his main character just a bit more believable.

Get Nothing to Lose through Amazon here

6 Comments

  • Pushtrak says:

    I love the books, have read them all. I’d suggest maybe trying Killing Floor next. It is his first one, and it is fantastic. Other ones that stand out for me personally would be Echo Burning and Tripwire.

    I’d say that Running Blind (as its known in the States, or The Visitor to me) is the book I find weakest. The most recent of his books bucks a trend that had been happening for the few before that. Perhaps after Bad Luck and Trouble, though would have to read through again to be sure.

    The trend is that the books seem more tailored to be adapted to a big screen. That isn’t to say I find them bad. I still enjoy them, and get the new one as soon after release as I can.

    The issues you have with the character are probably not going to be alleviated any but the plots should be enough to keep you going.

    As for the movie, well I’ve been hearing about movie plans for Lee Child novels for years. Just as I’ve been hearing plans for a new Dune movie for years. I’ve taken a stance for a long time on both “I’ll believe it when I see it”. Years back, Tom Cruise was supposed to be in the movie but it fell apart for some reason or another.

    To me the movies in the case of both Lee Child novels and Dune have elicited the same attitude from me. They’ll not live up to the books for those who’ve read them. In the case of Lee Child, his writings are so much about what is going on in Reachers head that it’ll be difficult to convey that on screen.

    • Rory says:

      Hi Pushtrak,

      Thanks so much for your in-depth comments, it’s always nice to hear thoughts straight from an author’s fan.

      I don’t think I’ll give up on his novels yet and I’m sure I’ll read a few more in the future.

      I agree with you wholeheartedly about Child’s stories transcending to the big screen. As you say; so much of the story is what goes on in Reacher’s head. I was very aware of it in this book, and I thought they would battle to convey that accurately in a movie.

      Thanks for visiting the site.

      • Pushtrak says:

        Hopefully you enjoy them as you get to them. His books vary between those he writes in a first person and third person perspective. I think the first person perspectives are the more enjoyable reads. Well, that is to say I enjoy them more.

        Oh, just in case you didn’t know, on the leechild.com site on the books section, you can get an excerpt from each of the books. I believe each of them is either a chapter or a segment of a chapter. It might whet your appetite for choosing the next one you might end up reading.

  • […] even more than that the entire book seemed to be a complete rip-off of Lee Child’s ‘Nothing to Lose’.  And I don’t mean there were a few similarities here and there; it’s as if the entire […]

  • As with all Jack Reacher novels this was a quick entertaining read. It just takes the ability to temporarily suspend belief to really enjoy these novels.

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