A Wanted Man – I’m not sure what Lee Child has against Nebraska and its surrounding states, but he has placed several recent novels in that setting. Not just Nebraska, but Nebraska in winter, with flat, cold, muddy, stubbly cornfields. This story, like a wanted man, is are dark, which fit precisely with the setting. It’s a little like that scene in Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, where Cary Grant finds himself standing at that crossroads with absolutely nothing around him from horizon to empty horizon, except
Child’s stories usually happen at night. Clearly, the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce needs to have a talk with him. Stylistically, Child seems to be writing stories that are as sparse and Spartan as the landscape — no character back-story, very few adjectives or adverbs, just straight action. After 18 books in the Jack Reacher series, no one needs any back story on him, but would be nice to better understand some of the other characters. Lee Child and Michael Connelly are my two favorite authors. That said, I do have two criticisms about this book. First, the back and forth car trips and plot moves about two thirds of the way through the book get pretty confusing. Secondly, as with several of his other recent books. We know absolutely nothing about the bad guys. In “A Wanted Man,” Reacher kills them all, but they have no face, and we never do get a clear picture of who they are or what they are doing, much less how Reacher figured it all out.
Bill Brown is the author of eight mystery and suspense novels currently for sale on Kindle — Burke’s Gamble,” “Burke’s War,’ ‘The Undertaker,’ ‘Amongst My Enemies,’ ‘Thursday at Noon,’ “Aim True, My Brothers,’ ‘Winner Lose All,’ and ‘Cold War Trilogy.’ Enjoy!