Thursday, October 11, 2012

A WANTED MAN Audio Edition

    Admitting my bias up front - for these ears Dick Hill is certainly one of the most capable voice performers working today.  In fact, while they’ll not be named in my opinion he has narrated some novels I’d consider pretty ordinary but his narration alone lifted them up several notches.  Somehow, he tends to totally capture the characters with both sound and nuance.  In this case when I heard him read A Wanted Man my first thought was ah, this is exactly what I thought Jack Reacher would sound like.
Not mentioning Hill’s numerous awards this voice performance is one of the best.

    And speaking of the best, after 17 books featuring the popular contemporary knight in shining armor who wants to  make things right in the world and will risk all to do so,  author Child is not only at the top of his game but also at the top of bestseller lists.  A Wanted Man delivers not only the heart stopping suspense fans have come to expect but also insights into Jack Reacher’s heart and mind revealed through both words and action.  He’s up against insurmountable odds, seemingly signing his own death warrant when he singlehandedly challenges powerful enemies.

    He’s offered a chance to save his life, “If you come back with me, you’re guaranteed to survive the night.”   Reacher replies, “No.  If I come back with you, I’m guaranteed to die of shame.”  That’s who Reacher is and why readers stand in line for his next book.

    Following on the heels of Worth Dying For (2010), picking up where it left off Reacher is hitchhiking, trying to reach a woman in Virginia, hoping to catch a ride out of the Midwest and due east.  But it’s tough hitching a ride nowadays, and he looks more than scruffy with a broken nose.  Unaware that near an unnamed Nebraska town an eyewitness just saw three men go into a concrete bunker and only two come out, Reacher just wants to get out of the freezing cold and on his way.  At last, a car stops for him.

    Inside the car are a trio who appear to be business people - Alan King, Don McQueen and Karen Delfuenso.  In brief chapters Child alternates between the  county sheriff and FBI agent Julia Sorenson who are trying to identify the man found stabbed to death in the bunker and those in the car carrying Reacher, who is trying to figure out not only who they are but what their relationship is to one another.

    It’s soon clear to him that the two men know each other better than they know Delfuenso.  (A give-away when he’s sent for coffee at a stop and the men don’t know how Delfuenso takes hers.)  Further, much of what the men are revealing about themselves simply is not true.  Why?

    However, this wondering comes to a halt when after a surprising shot missed at an Iowa motel Reacher seems to be on his own until Sorenson arrests him.  Shortly the two hook up in an attempt to locate Delfuenso and her daughter.
 who has recently gone missing.  More surprises and chills follow as before long they find themselves confronted by the realization of how deeply and significantly our enemies have invaded the heart of America.

    A Wanted Man is a superbly narrated topnotch story with a socko finish.

    - Gail Cooke

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