Make room Jack Reacher

I’ll admit to being a tad obsessive. Once I find something I like, I can’t get enough of it. And then when I exhaust it, I look for something to replace it.

When I discovered Lee Child’s Jack Reacher I never let him out of my sight. He came with me when I went to Opatija in Croatia back in the day and ate with me every evening. I liked the fact that he went places and did things, paying little or no mind to possessions and stuff. It took me a while to get over the fact that Tom Cruise was cast in the role when they made the Reacher movies, but over it I am.

I fell hard for John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee.  In some ways, he seemed more real than Jack. The whole boat living thing, the salvage work, the introspection – all those ticked boxes for me. I liked seeing inside his head.

Mark Dawson’s John Milton fell somewhere in between the two. Michael Lister’s John Jordan, although a prison chaplain, was a little more normal. He had a partner and kids. He had some semblance of belonging. And I like his take on life. He has some interesting stuff to say on alcoholism. And I’d like to be more like Anna.

Had I to pick between them and choose just one, my vote would go to Travis McGee. It’d be a close call between himself and Jack but with Travis, you get a little bit more.

Recently I was introduced to Brian Haig’s Sean Drummond. And he’s made the list. He brings a wicked sense of humour to the table. Some of the conversations he has in his heard are laugh-out-loud funny. Others tick the ‘I wish I’d said that’ box. And more stuff is just plain interesting.

“In the eyes of the great American public, the Pentagon is a huge and confusing labyrinth that somehow burns through some four hundred billion dollars of taxpayer cash per year. The building, however, in nearly every human and architectural sense, is amazing. There actually are tours, and the guides will inform you this is the earth’s largest office structure, comprising some 6,636,360 square feet, occupying 29 acres, able to house about 23,000 workers, in varying levels of comfort and discomfort. In short, it is a gigantic memorial to function over form, and incredibly, the entire thing was constructed in a sixteen-month span of hyper-frantic activity during the heyday of the Second World War, at the amazing price of less than fifty million bucks. I once cited this remarkable statistic to a defense contractor pal. He laughed and commented, “Morons. We’re gettin’ ten times that just to refurbish the basement. And we stretch it out for years.” Other interesting esoterica—the building boasts some 284 rest-rooms, the world’s largest collection of white porcelain bowls under one roof, over 2,000 freestanding commodes, and half as many wall-mounted urinals. Regarding this inviting statistic, I’ll restrict myself to one useful observation: You would be an idiot to buy a home downstream.” (from “Man in the Middle” by Brian Haig)

He doesn’t get the publicity that the other boys get and isn’t nearly as well known, but he’s a great read. He’s been described as a cocky Army lawyer and a legal maverick. His irreverence makes him. Brian Haig is a military analyst for Fox News, no less. And owns his own helicopter company. His dad, Alexander Haig, was United States Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan. mmmm…. I briefly wondered if this had anything to do with the lack of attention he gets?  Nah. Surely not. The series gets a consistent 4.5 stars on Goodreads. I did some digging and it was me – all me – I was the one who hadn’t heard of him – my bad. No conspiracy.

There’s an interesting interview with him on The Novel Road, in which he gives a list of his favourite fiction writers, none of which make my list. My only complaint about him is that there are only seven books in the series so far…

He’s worth checking out. If you’re in the market for a summer fling, you could do worse than Sean Drummond.

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