Author: Lee Child

Title: Tripwire

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: 1999

Number of Pages: 343

Geographical Setting: Mainly New York City but also Key West, small towns in New York state, St. Louis, Dallas, Hawaii, and Vietnam.

Time Period: Present day (1999)

Series: Jack Reacher series (Book #3)

Plot Summary: Jack Reacher is a former military policeman living “off the grid” in the Florida Keys.  Digging swimming pools by day and bouncing at a local strip club by night, Reacher’s reclusive lifestyle is interrupted when a private investigator named Costello comes looking for him and is soon after discovered beaten to death with his fingertips removed.  Feeling responsible, Reacher flies to New York City to track down Costello’s employer whom he discovers was his recently deceased mentor, Lean Garber.  Reunited with Garber’s daughter Jodie, Reacher and his forbidden love interest take up the case of locating an elderly couple’s son who went missing in Vietnam.  But many questions arise:  Why won’t the government confirm Victor Hobie’s death?  Who are the dark-suited goons trying to kill Reacher and Jodie in broad daylight?  How is the disfigured loan shark with the hook hand linked to the Hobie’s missing son?  Reacher and Jodie must travel from New York to St. Louis to Hawaii’s Central Identification Laboratory to solve the mystery and effect justice for the elderly Hobie’s.  But above all, Reacher and Jodie must stay alive.

Subject Headings: Reacher, Jack;  Murder — Key West, Florida;  Vietnam veterans — Key West, Florida;  Vietnam War, 1961-1975 — Missing in action;  Suspense stories, American.

Appeal: relentless, compelling, engaging and eccentric hero, strong female characters, series, action-oriented, cinematic, investigative, multiple plot twists, resolved ending, contemporary, details of military life and weaponry, edgy, menacing atmosphere, suspenseful, smart, clean and direct language.

Three terms that best describe the book: Cinematic, Menacing, Engaging Hero

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Closers (Harry Bosch series #11) by Michael Connelly —  After leaving the LAPD, detective Harry Bosch returns to the force to work the cold case unit.  When he’s assigned to investigate the shooting of a 16-year-old girl, he uncovers department politics, corruption, and a possible cover-up involving a white supremacist group with LAPD ties.  (engaging loner hero, series, plot twists, details of military life, suspenseful.)

Point of Impact (Bobby Lee Swagger series #1) by Stephen Hunter —  Twenty years after Vietnam, Bobby Lee Swagger is a disgruntled former sniper of legendary skill living in seclusion in the Arkansas mountains when he’s recruited for one last mission by a shadowy government agency.  When Swagger is framed for an assassination attempt on the president, he must use his unmatched skills to clear his name and achieve justice.  (engaging loner hero, series, plot twists, details of military life and weaponry, suspenseful, action-oriented)

Hondo by Louis L’Amour —  In this classic western set in 1874, a U.S. Cavalry rider named Hondo Lane defends Angie Lowe and her son from the vicious Apache warrior Vittoro.  (engaging hero, details of military life, clean language, commitment to justice)

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Where They Lay: Searching for America’s Lost Soldiers by Earl Swift —  This informative study by a seasoned military journalist chronicles the efforts of Hawaii’s Central Identification Laboratory to recover and identify the remains of Vietnam MIAs.  The book’s focus on finding a missing helicopter crew mirrors Jack Reacher’s work with the CIL to identify Victor Hobie’s remains.

Living Off the Grid: A Simple Guide to Creating and Maintaining a Self-Reliant Supply of Energy, Water, Shelter, and More by David Black —  This general guide to more self-sufficient living offers tips on living without being connected to major utilities.  Also included are guidelines to communicating and making a living “off the grid.”  These topics would be of great interest to Jack Reacher prefers to fly well under the radar.

Stoic Warriors: The Ancient Philosophy Behind the Military Mind by Nancy Sherman —  Written by a philosopher and US Naval Academy intstructor, this book examines how the ancient philosophy of Stoicism influences soldiers to “suck it up,” to endure, and to put aside their feelings to accomplish the mission at all costs.  Though he may not have read Cicero, Reacher’s single-minded relentlessness in pursuing justice may have its roots in Stoicism.

Name: Russ


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