It's official: I want to be Jack Reacher.
That basically never happens to me. Only once in the bluest of blue moons do I encounter a fictional character I want to be, but Jack Reacher is one of those. I've read two novels about him, The Enemy and The Affair. And now I've read this collection of short stories, which span his life from his teen years to present, and zowie! I loved this book. And this character.
Rather than try to review each story, I'll just tell you my five favorites, and a little about each of those. They are:
+ "Second Son" -- Thirteen-year-old Reacher solves big problems for his dad and his older brother. I loved how fiercely intelligent he is, and yet still believable as a teen guy.
+ "High Heat" -- Sixteen-year-old Reacher takes on a New York City mafia boss. He's so confident, and yet not entirely sure of himself, still growing into himself.
+ James Penney's New Identity" -- Reacher changes a man's life. Most of this one focuses on a new character, and Reacher only comes into the story at the end, but in an awesome way.
+ "Everyone Talks" -- Reacher takes on a small-town mafia. I loved the twists to this story.
+ "No Room at the Motel" -- Reacher gives strangers a merry Christmas. Just sweet and adorable. He deserves a hug.
Why do I want to be Jack Reacher? I suppose because he possesses a very specific skill set that I don't, he's honorable and kind, and he champions those who need a champion. But mostly that first bit.
Particularly Good Bits:
At nearly seventeen Reacher was like a brand-new machine, still gleaming and dewy with oil, flexible, supple, perfectly coordinated, like something developed by NASA and IBM on behalf of the Pentagon ("High Heat," p. 115).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG-13 for most stories due to violence and a few bad words, but R for "High Heat" due to sexual content. "No Room at the Motel" would be a G.