Monday, May 11, 2009

Guest Blog – Nothing to Lose by Lee Child

Nothing to Lose was released in the paperback edition this spring. Child’s novels are usually around 400 pages long. This one had another one hundred. And I got bogged down in the middle. Probably largely motivated by the fact that my reading materials were limited, I slogged on.

The villain in this story is a man who owns the metal recycling plant in a small town called Despair in Colorado. Thurman not only owns the only place of employment but he owns his employees' homes as well. On top of that he is the local preacher at the only church in town. Thurman is a believer in the rapture and in Armageddon. As the story progresses, it becomes evident that he is a fanatic.

I am not exactly sure why I enjoyed Tripwire (see an earlier blog) so much and struggled through Nothing to Lose. Perhaps it was because in Tripwire, Child allows us to see what the antagonist is doing while Reacher is slowly gathering facts and information. I had a sense of two forces building and getting ready to collide at the end of the novel.

Nothing to Lose is well constructed but there was just something that rubbed against me. Perhaps it is the fact that although I don’t believe in ‘the rapture,’ I do believe in respecting other people’s religious beliefs. I am aware that there are extremists among all followers of religious or philosophical thought, but the small town in the middle of nowhere that was a fortress against the world did not sit well with me. I have never been a fan of the story where the stranger walks into a small town and discovers that the whole town is evil and out to get him. Nothing to Lose just didn’t work for me.

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