THE BLOG
10/12/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Jack Reacher, Once More Into the Breach - An Audio Book Review

TITLE: "Nothing To Lose"

AUTHOR: Lee Child (The Jack Reacher Series)
GENRE: Muscular Mystery
LENGTH: 14 hours, unabridged
PUBLISHER: Random House Audio
NARRATOR: Dick Hill, (The Alan Gregory Series, "The Way We'll Be," By John Zogby, The P.T. Deuterman books and 153 others)

LOG LINE
Rugged wanderer Jack Reacher takes on a whole town and the evil-doer who runs it. Some mayhem follows.

COMMENT
Every once-and-a-while you need a Jack Reacher to-the-rescue story. Forget nuance. Jack usually plows through his brawny adventures wrapped in a strong sense of duty. He's a mammoth 6'5, 250 lb., former MP who travels alone, carries no bags, no wallet, no watch, answers to no-one and has a philosophy that says, I leave them alone. If they don't leave me alone, what comes at them is their problem.

And of course, they never leave him alone. The opening set-up here is like "Rambo: First Blood" meets "Bad Day at Black Rock." A slightly disheveled stranger wanders into a tiny Colorado town called Despair. The unfriendly authorities kick him out with a warning to never come back. Seems they have a dangerous secret they will keep secret - at any cost. You never tell Jack Reacher to go away. He's constitutionally incapable of being bullied.

The brains behind the town's secret is the 70 year old zealot and owner of Despair's main economy, a huge military scrap metal operation. Nobody, but nobody, does anything without this guys say-so. So, when people in town start mysteriously dying, Jack wants to know why.

Of course, there's a lass who needs Reacher's help, a by-the-book sheriff of the tiny town down the road from Despair called Hope. Lady sheriff has her own secret that keeps her from bedding down with our hero - at least for a while.

Jack Reacher is reminiscent of the early Clint Eastwood spaghetti western hero: an unflappable stranger who cleans out the vile swamp - with a minimum of words. Author Child's most used line in all his stories is, "Reacher said nothing."

Unfortunately for the listener, "Nothing to Lose" is minor Reacher fare. Yes, he takes down six mugs with his bare hands without breaking a nail. But the action throughout is kind of meager. No vitality. No drive. And The 'B' story with the lady sheriff takes the listener on a bridge to nowhere.

The main problem is the 70 year old bad guy - he's just not scary, or compelling enough to significantly propel the friction.

Dick Hill is Reacher's voice in this series. He does his best to goose up the drama here with his sincerely ripe narration but alas, it doesn't help.

BOTTOM LINE
For Reacher fans, this will disappoint. For a first-time Reacher listener, try the book before this, "Bad Luck and Trouble." Good muscular entertainment. Classic Reacher.