Sunday, November 19, 2017


I'd like it to happen more often but who am I to complain.

I'm talking about the Aha-Erlebnis of coming across unputdownables. I've always been an avid reader and as such I know that the category in question is pathetically outweighed by the rank and file in Bookland. I can sympathize with authors, mind you. There's TONS of good books out there that are a joy to behold but often a well-written book does not digest easily. I'm nearing the end of Hornfischer's The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors and while it's a superb read I've advanced thru it at a leisurely pace. At age 52, I'm as clueless as I was at 12 at what exactly it is that electrifies a writer's pen in such a way that stories blossom that get you hooked like nothing else. What's their secret.

And so, unputdownables being relatively rare, on average I come across one only once a year. If memory serves, in 1983 it was One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, for instance. Or in 1997, Desperation, by Stephen King. 2012, The Killer Angels by Jeff Shaara.

But 2016 was different. Dunno why, cause normally I'm more of a sci-fi, horror, or historical fiction fan, but in 2016 I gave the crime thriller Without Fail by Lee Child a shot. And boy that was the start of a rollercoaster which by the end of the year had seen me through the entire series:

The protagonist in Child's books is Jack Reacher, an ex MP who left the US Army at age 36 and who roams the continental USA on foot, by bus or hitching rides. In doing so, he comes across a kaleidoscope of criminal cases, often illustrating extreme human depravity, which require his intervention.

There's no telling how it will work out for you if after lecture of this here humble blogpost you give a Jack Reacher novel a try, but for me it was like grabbing a tiger by the tail and being unable to let go. I know I have devoured masses of Stephen King and Dean Koontz novels, the Dan Brown books were/are excellent, Mo Hayder's got some irresistible pageturners (tip: Pig Island), but Lee Child's Jack Reacher is a class of its own. There are those snobs who say Child's a commercial writer. That's bool. I don't care to what extent an author uses a trickbag to generate sales. What matters to me is do I get hooked or not? Once upon a time, as an adolescent I chewed my way through La Peste by Albert Camus. It was atrocious. Same for Ivan Turgenev's Fathers and Sons. Or Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. OK, that's perhaps a tad unfair - but reading them through to the end required a huge effort. Camus bagged a Nobel Prize for Literature. I guess Lee Child never will. But trust me, if you were to be cast on an uninhabited island you'd be MUCH better off with Gone Tomorrow than La Peste.

Okay, enough talking. You can start with this one, 61 Hours. It will lead you nicely thru to Worth Dying For. From there it's but a short step to A Wanted Man. And bingo, off you go!

If you think you have even less time than ole Outlaw and you're looking for just one title, try Make Me. The worst in the series? There's no really bad ones, but Nothing to Lose came closest to boring me.

OK. Now get started.


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