One Shot


I picked this up because I’d seen Jack Reacher, the film version of this novel, and the plot and characters interested me enough to see what the source material was like. As such, I had a vision of the novel before I started reading it, which, with hindsight, may not have been a good idea.

I found that, in the same way people who love the book and go see the movie find it disappointing, the novel didn’t live up to expectations. Normally you expect the book to be the better version, because it has so much more time to spend developing the plot and characters.

That stood against it here, with the film using cleaner and far more succinct ways to deliver information. It left the novel feeling like there were a bunch of unnecessary characters and discoveries, although some of the latter felt less organic, seemingly relying on Reacher’s intuition far more than anything else.

One big difference between the book and the film is that Reacher is supposed to be a big guy, standing around 6’5″, but is played by Tom Cruise, not a man known for his height. In the movie, with the exception of perhaps one scene, that didn’t really matter, and Cruise managed to keep the angel of vengeance feeling the character portrays.

I didn’t dislike the book, it’s action-packed and far more brutal than the film, but it didn’t really click. I have a few more Reacher novels to read (the benefits of knowing someone who has read the lot), so will endeavour to give the series another go. Maybe if I haven’t already seen a version of the story they’ll be better.

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Reviewed: 3rd June 2013