Author Lee Child: Another Stephen Hunter?


Travis McGee
June 25, 2005, 10:51 AM
I was in a bookstore yesterday, and another browser introduced me to a writer I never heard of named Lee Child. He's a Brit, but has lived in the states and writes in an American style for an American audience. HIs current new best seller is called "One Shot." I didn't buy this brand new hardcover book at the time (I'm cheap) but I read the first chapter, and he gets the gun details right, like Stephen Hunter does. So at home I googled around, checked his Amazon reviews and so on. It seems like we might have another Stephen Hunter caliber of gun-oriented novelist to check out. Has anybody read any of his books?

This is his website. His reviews on Amazon are all 5 stars, raves.


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June 25, 2005, 10:58 AM
Damn. Looks like I've got to drive into town today.

Read 'em all.

June 25, 2005, 12:55 PM
Dangit, I'm gonna have to go get the book as well. Thanks for the heads up.


Travis McGee
June 25, 2005, 01:33 PM
What I've learned is that Lee Child has written about 9 "Jack Reacher" novels. "One Shot" is just his latest.

June 25, 2005, 05:00 PM
I will definitely check it out. I work weekend nights on an IT helpdesk, and I read like.... a novel a week! heh.

I'll try to pick up the first of the series (Killing Floor) on the way into work tomorrow...I'll try to get a review up quickly.

Old Dog
June 25, 2005, 05:40 PM
Having read four or five of the Jack Reacher books, I'd give 'em (at least the ones I've read) all thumbs up ... However, don't expect Lee Child to get anywhere near the detail regarding firearms and ballistics that Hunter is famous for. In the Reacher novels I've read, the gun stuff is mostly pretty general (and I've even found a technical error or two) and Reacher doesn't seem to be a dedicated "gun guy" such as Earl or Bobby Lee Swagger. Great books, though!

June 25, 2005, 06:07 PM
i've read em all, he does make some errors[gun and otherwise] but he is writing about something he has not done [i was an mp in the army] but he is close and each one is a little better.

Standing Wolf
June 25, 2005, 06:41 PM
Eh? What? No safeties on revolvers? No all-plastic Glocks?

Art Eatman
June 25, 2005, 06:47 PM
I've re-read all of his first eight. SAM's has the new one for around $17.

He's got a website; I haven't visited it, lately...

:), Art

Bruce H
June 25, 2005, 06:57 PM
Thanks loads Travis. :D Now I have nine more books to acquire and read. Since you and Mr. Ross are still screwing around I'll have time. :D

June 25, 2005, 07:23 PM
Auther Lee Childs, a former writer for (British) television has greatly improved his gun details in his later books. In the earlier ones his hero didn't use guns that often and when he did, they were of little note. Killing with his bare hands or by other catastrophic life ending events was as common as gunfire. Reacher is the name, ruthlessness is the game.

By the time he got to Persuader, one of the later novels, it was evident the author had either gotten some good training, had some range time or had begun collecting or using guns. The book just prior to Persuader, The Enemy is essentially a prequel to the whole series.

The way to buy Lee Childs' Reacher books is to go to Amazon and buy them used. Some are listed for as little as $.01 with the standard $3.50 shipping for used books (which the seller splits with Amazon). Sometimes you will find the hardcovers at the same or lower price than the softcovers. If you enjoy audiobooks, they are all read by Dick Hill an award winning and very good narrator.

The previously published books are listed at
though not in order (as claimed by the list maker).

The order you read the books is not too important because Childs moves forward and backward in the Reacher time line. But you may appreciate them more if you will read one or two of the earlier books to get an understanding of Reacher's lifestyle, why he carries little or no cash and buys his clothes as he needs them. I've wondered for some time how he smells because the early books didn't indicate he bathed too often though this was corrected in the later books. Didn't seem to reduce his time in the sack with the ladies, either.

So here's the question my wife and I cannot resolve:
Who would best play Reacher in a cinema version?

Worth a read for the quality of writing. I'd rate him above John Sandford and as good as Michael Connelly, though less poetic.

June 25, 2005, 07:58 PM
Don't remember how many or which ones(some of the Reacher ones anyway)...Good but not great, but well worth a read...At least a step behind Hunter though....(I'm a tough 3-4 books a week...yeah, I read real fast)

Travis McGee
June 26, 2005, 12:46 AM
I went to the library today, they had three Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child. I selected Echo Burning, because it's set in Texas, and I wanted to see how he described terrain and people rather similar to the novel I'm writing, set in New Mexico.

After 150 pages, I've about given up. It's so PC it's disgusting. You can tell that Child is an Englishman faking his way through his writing. All the anglos in Texas are vicious rednecks who basically treat "beaners" like the KKK treated blacks in Dixie in the worst of Jim Crow days. It's one PC cliche after another.

Jack Reacher himself is supposed to be a former Army MP, who was also a Major (he mentions). His backgrounders on the US military are laughable. This "former MP major" just strolls around America like Kwai Chang Cain in Gung Ho, with no ID and a few thousand bucks in the pockets of the one set of clothes he's wearing. No bag, no nothing. **Somehow** he stumbles onto the most incredible damsels in distress, needing rescue. R-i-g-h-t.

On his website and in an interview I read (Googled) he said he picked America to write his novels about because it's a bigger market. Fine, but I think he would have been better off writing what he knows about, than faking his way across America in an utterly phony way. Gerald Seymour and the guy who wrote the Sharpe's Rifles series are Brits who write Brit thrillers, and they ring true. I can't recommend this fake wannabee ersatz American.

I'm sorry I posted this thread. Lee Child is no Stephen Hunter, that's for sure.

Travis McGee
June 26, 2005, 01:26 AM
"Kwai Chang Cain in Gung Ho"

I meant Kung Fu, the classic 1970s television series.

(And even Kwai Chang Cain carried a bag with some valuables.)

June 26, 2005, 09:14 AM

I've read all of the Reacher books out in softcover so far, and it's been pretty hit or miss. He gets some gun stuff right, but misses the mark so far with others that it's laughable. The whole "walkabout" thing is just plain wierd and I don't see what good it is other than a gimmick. The book I liked best was the last one where he's still in the Army.

He doesn't compare to Hunter, even Hunter's weaker books. But we have to make do while waiting for something better to come along. (Hint... Hint... :rolleyes: )


PS: Last week a local radio station had an interview with ex-Gov Dave Cargo who related some history about the TA Courthouse raid. Interesting stuff.

Travis McGee
June 26, 2005, 11:43 AM
I read an online interview with Child, and he says he writes a Reacher novel in 6 months, start to finish. I wish!

Bruce H
June 26, 2005, 11:51 AM
Maybe he writes for the audience of desperate housewives, or american gladiator. Several words but no meaning. Look I read a book. :D

Art Eatman
June 26, 2005, 11:52 AM
Isn't Reacher's "walkabout" a dream for a lot of folks? What's different from reality is the style, but the appeal for "footloose and fancy-free" is there...

As for the time to complete a novel, one wonders how Johnstone cranks out so many, so fast. :)


June 27, 2005, 09:30 AM
My wife LOVES Lee Child, and I've read all his books. I just got his latest for my birthday :)

You really should read them in the order they are published, there is a overall story that is slowly developed. Echo Burning is, in my opinion, the absolute worst of the bunch, just skip it if you're reading through the series, you won't miss anything. Die Trying and Tripwire were my favorites.

June 27, 2005, 01:33 PM
I have read all the Reacher novels and have enjoyed most of them. The gun details have improved over time. Child's knowledge of the Army is not always accurate either; I'm a former MP myself and I don't think I ever saw a Major investigate anything. Oh well, they are entertaining.

I do think the footlose approach to life that Reacher lives could be more accurately portrayed. It wouldn't hurt him to have a daypack/bookbag with a change of underwear. I cant imagine a guy consistently picking up gorgeous women who hasn't changed his underwear in 4 days :rolleyes:

edited to add: I did recently read an author -- William Christie -- who does get the gun details right, and does so in a detailed way (Title: Mercy Mission). I think he is a retired Marine though.

June 27, 2005, 01:50 PM
I read one of the Jack Reacher books a few months ago.

Overall, I was not impressed.

July 22, 2005, 04:12 AM
Digging this thread up to add my 2bit review of Killing Floor.

The gun stuff wasn't great, but it gets better in later books, supposedly. Lots of 'movie' type misconceptions: Shotguns have Incredibly huge and destructive 'cones of lead', .44 Mag practically break your arm while blowing people (literally) out of their shoes, supressed .22 to the back of a head completely destroys the person's face, rendering the body unidentifiable.

It doesn't feel very American, though. Too many English phrases like Straight-away, get my head round it, etc. (no 'chap' or 'bloody' though) I actually started reading it with a slight british accent, and it 'sounded' much better. Also, alot of the characters were very cliched and stereotyped. And man...people sure 'shrugged' alot in that book!! But, this one was his first book, so I kept that in mind.

But, all that said, once I realized that it wasn't going to be Hunter or Clancy on the guns, and that it's more of a 'Man's Daydream' type of writing, I enjoyed it. I actually busted out laughing a few times, at both Reacher's 'Clint Eastwood' type lines, and a few times when the writing was trying to be a bit too serious.

I'll probably pick up a few more, as I said, I work nights, and need a lot of light reading to pass the time!

July 22, 2005, 10:48 AM
I have read them all. They are entertaining. I have some issues with his carrer path of an Army officer, moving every 6 months to a year is not normal at least when I was in. Anytime you have a series with 9 books and the same guy, you are pretty much getting out there. There has to be a major event/mystery/something, to make it a book, that many to that extent is not realistic. But if you take each one for a seperate story, they are ok.

July 22, 2005, 11:34 AM
I've read them all, too, and they're great. My sister and mom turned me on to them last year and I'm glad they did. I kind of have a hard time reading other fiction in this style after reading Child's books. The bar gets set a bit too high for most.

July 22, 2005, 12:59 PM
I've read them and enjoy them. I'm saving One Shot for the beach in a few weeks. Suspension of disbelief is important.
The Reacher books to me seem to borrow more from Heroic Fiction than anything. Almost like a Conan the Barbarian in the 21st Century type of thing. Fun to read, but how realistic is it really that Conan killed the evil sorcerer and all his minions, saved the girl and got away with all the treasure...?
If I want all the details exactly right I'll look elsewhere, but Child's books are fun & entertaining for the short while it takes to read them.. kinda like literary junk food.

(Stephen Hunter is now on my list of Authors to check out, thanks all)

John Ross
July 22, 2005, 01:16 PM
Matt, my jaw hit the floor when I read your first post.

I read "The Persuader" on a flight to Vegas last week and although it was entertaining at times, the plot was ludicrous (a BG making MILLIONS selling Title 1 guns on the black market, guns that he purchased through legitimate channels) and some of the gun stuff was just awful. How about a single shot from a 12-gauge slug gun cutting a grown man IN HALF? Or putting a Beretta 92 in a pants pocket?

I concur with your current assessment.


July 22, 2005, 07:53 PM
Or putting a Beretta 92 in a pants pocket?

Big pants? :D

I started a Reacher novel and quickly lost interest in both the content and style during the opening scene involving a .44 outside a private school.

Oh, Mr. Ross, I lent a coworker (who's father-in-law is a tin foil hat kinda guy) UC and he couldn't get into it, but his wife is loving it, I haven't asked if it's the sex scenes though.

Which leads me to, what's your opinion of Eisler and the John Rain novels?

John Ross
August 10, 2005, 12:54 PM
Haven't heard of them.


pete f
August 10, 2005, 06:45 PM

"Jack Reacher himself is supposed to be a former Army MP, who was also a Major (he mentions). His backgrounders on the US military are laughable. This "former MP major" just strolls around America like Kwai Chang Cain in Gung Ho, with no ID and a few thousand bucks in the pockets of the one set of clothes he's wearing. No bag, no nothing. **Somehow** he stumbles onto the most incredible damsels in distress, needing rescue. R-i-g-h-t.

I do not know about you, but when I have had the opportunity to walk a bout with a few thousand dollars in my pockets, the most incredible damsels all seemed to find me.....fifty ben franklns in my pocket must put out a pheromone no woman can resist.

Chris Rhines
August 10, 2005, 07:39 PM
John (and anyone else who likes a good thriller,)

The title character in Eisler's (to date) four novels is John Rain, an introspective, half-Japanese assassain who specializes is arranging "accidents." Eisler has a strong martial arts background himself, and he knows firearms pretty well. Only mistake I've found in his work is a somewhat optimistic view of what can be concealed under a tailored sport coat.

I also suspect that Eisler has worked for the CIA or some other intelligence outfit, or has some contacts who do. Check that - I just read the bio on Eisler's website. He worked for the DO for three years. I'm totally not surprised.

Really good stuff. Check it out.

- Chris

August 10, 2005, 11:43 PM
Was just at the bookstore today. I picked up "Rain Storm" by Eisler. I'm gonna start it when I finish a Dean Koontz book I'm reading.

I gotta do something while I'm waiting for Travis to finish his sequel. hint hint.

I've read a number of "Reacher" books. Good entertainment if your not parsing fantasy for facts. Some are better than others. I just picked up "The Enemy" today.

I've also got to pick up UC. (Sorry I haven't done so yet, John.) I'm gonna save it for my January trip to Key West for poolside escapism.

August 11, 2005, 09:33 AM
F. Paul Wilson...Has a whole series of novels starring "Repairman Jack"( gets the gun stuff right, and the plots are amusing, and different, and entertaining..Not really high for "liturature points", but entertaining...WARNING: He does throw in some "supernatural" goings on which makes them a little weird, but they aren't the entire focus of the stories...IMHO, similar but much better than the "Reacher" stuff

August 11, 2005, 10:23 AM
Like to get them as ebooks and put them on my palm pilot for reading on the airplane or in airports while waiting.

August 11, 2005, 10:33 AM
Who would best play Reacher in a cinema version? Ahhhhhnold - of course...

August 11, 2005, 11:54 AM
dfaugh, I'm also a big Repairman Jack fan. F.Paul Wilson doesn't really know guns that well, but he is humble enough to admit it, and has gotten better as the series has gone on as fans have written him. He is an excellent author. And the supernatural stuff is what makes it cool. :)

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