Want an Action Movie in a Book? Read A Wanted Man by Lee Child

November 19, 2012 Book Club, Crime, Mystery 12

Hello my dear Bookworms! It’s Monday, which stinks, but it’s a short week, so that’s something to be excited about, right?

Friday night, we had our latest meeting of the neighborhood book club. Now, I had been calling it “Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons,” after a really sweet book I read once upon a time, but I think I’m going to stick with referring to it as “My Neighbors Are Better Than Your Neighbors Book Club.” It seems more fitting. Plus, this week’s hostess made us delicious soup and served it in mason jars… Which means, of course, that my neighbors are not only inherently better than your neighbors, but they’re also more Pinteresting.

This month’s selection was A Wanted Man by Lee Child. I was kind of concerned that I wouldn’t be able to catch up when I saw that this was book number 17 in a series. Luckily, this series is the literary equivalent of CSI. Procedural dramas are good for that sort of thing- you can pick it up anywhere and not be lost. A Wanted Man is a crime novel starring Jack Reacher. Reacher is ex military police. He doesn’t like to be tied down and as a result lives a nomadic life roaming around the country. As A Wanted Man starts out, Reacher is hitchhiking to Virginia (for reasons that must have been explained in books 1-16.)

Does hitchhiking ever end well for anyone? I mean, really. What kind of crazy picks up a stranger off the side of the road? If you’re in this novel, the kind of crazy picking people up off the side of the road are terrorists trying to confound the local police road blocks after committing a murder (I mentally pronounce “murder” in the most evil way possible, but that’s difficult to translate phonetically.)

You’ve probably figured (since this is one of the first ones I’ve ever reviewed) that mystery and crime novels aren’t typically my cup of tea. That’s part of the beauty of being in a book club though, you step outside your comfort zone. I found this to be a fast read and it kept me engaged, but it’s unlikely I’ll pick up another Jack Reacher novel. I assume that people who really appreciate these type of books don’t appreciate spoilers, so I’m not going to discuss much of the plot. After our book club discussion, the plot isn’t what sticks out to me anyway.

Reacher wasn’t given a whole lot of description, beyond the fact that he was an older man, tall, bulky, and had a broken nose. In MY mind’s eye, I saw a rather frightening and not at all attractive fellow. My mind was pretty well blown at book club when the other ladies started mentally casting Jack Reacher’s movie. I can’t even pinpoint an actor I would have pictured as Jack Reacher. The ladies of book club, however, had some ideas.

Hello Handsome!

I voted this down because although he’s one dishy Bond, his American accent is pretty bad.

So yeah. Jack Reacher is pretty much an American retired James Bond. A little less martini and a little more moonshine perhaps, but a similar character nevertheless.

Would it be a terrible thing for me to admit that I might have enjoyed this novel a little more if I’d been picturing eye candy while reading it? Probably. It probably means I’m shallow, but come on. George Clooney makes pretty much everything better. What do you think, bookworms? Are you ever shocked that what you imagined a character to look like was SO DIFFERENT in a movie? Tell me about it!

12 Responses to “Want an Action Movie in a Book? Read A Wanted Man by Lee Child”

  1. Rhian

    I love, love, love (love!) Jack Reacher, but I have a thing for smart, action types (I blame Indiana Jones). I must respectfully disagree with your fellow bookclubbers about the gentlemen above (mmm George) as they are all a bit pretty to play Jack. Plus Reacher is *huge* (6’5″ 250lbs).
    Want to talk about the worse casting ever? Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. Travesty!

  2. Jayne

    My husband and I had this exact discussion this weekend! I have read the books (well, one of them) and he hasn’t, so I was trying to explain why Tom Cruise was the WORST CHOICE EVER for Jack Reacher. Yes, I will give you that Tom does a decent job in action movies and, yes, he usually throws himself completely into all his roles. But he looks NOTHING like the character’s description, waaay too short and too small in stature. However, as we started talking about it, we actually had a really hard time coming up with any actors that would fit the bill. I disagree with a “pretty boy”. I think of Reacher as a rugged, rough type, and strongly built. Even if the actor isn’t 6’5″, he needs to come across as big and strong. I picture someone like Clint Eastwood in his younger days. The Rock has a good body type, but his acting would absolutely NOT be up to par. Most of the actors we thought of were still under 6’5″, but were definitely taller than Tom Cruise (not hard to do…) and weren’t necessarily blonde and blue-eyed, but otherwise seemed like they could fit the persona better.
    Our top choices were:
    Viggo Mortensen
    Hugh Jackman
    David Boreanaz
    Alexander Skarsgard

    No one seems just perfect, but surely they’d be better than little ‘ol Tom…

    • Words for Worms

      Viggo Mortensen is a BRILLIANT choice! Also, he’s pretty dreamy in a rugged way. Or that guy from Game of Thrones who got his head chopped off at the end of season one! He would have been good too! (Just got back from googling, “that guy” is Sean Bean.) Tom Cruise. Pfft. No, no, and no.

      • Jayne

        Yeah, I think Viggo is probably one of the best overall choices. He’s still too short, but I think his presence is bigger. I’ve never seen Game of Thrones, but just googled Sean Bean and he does look like a good choice too. But, alas, we’re stuck with Tom…

  3. Sami

    I loved loved loved the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich but when they came out with the movie and it starred Katherine Heigl who I can’t stand…I think it’s because I didn’t like her character on Grey’s Anatomy but I didn’t even want to see the movie. I’m sorry but Katherine Heigl is not my big hair, trash talking Jersey Girl Stephanie.

    • Jayne

      I completely agree as well! Katherine Heigl was definitely not a good choice for Stephanie Plum.

    • Words for Worms

      I only read one Stephanie Plum book, but I must admit I was appalled to see Katherine Heigl cast in that movie. Travesty. I would have preferred Ginnifer Goodwin, as she is impossibly cute and inherently lovable. Plus she has a wig clause in her contract, which is pretty funny.

  4. Lyssapants

    Sounds like this book was like sex. It’s better if you picture it with a handsome fellow.

    And yes, I’ve had the experience many times where my book person was different than the movie person. First one to come to mind is Cinna from Hunger Games. I can’t think of any more right now….

    • Words for Worms

      Lenny Kravitz was pretty much how I pictured Cinna, so that I was cool with. You know who I didn’t care for? Lupin in the HP movies. He was not at all how I pictured him. I pictured much younger, and, dare I say, handsomer.

      • Lyssapants

        Lupin was fine by me, but now that you mention it, I pictured Sirius as much bigger, much burlier.
        And don’t even get me started on Michael Gambon……(Richard Harris, may you rest in peace).

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