Sunday, June 24, 2012

Don't Know Jack

Don’t Know Jack by Diane Capri
The Search for Reacher #1

Hunting Jack Reacher is a dangerous business, as FBI Special Agents Kim Otto and Carlos Gaspar are about to find out. Otto and Gaspar are by-the-book hunters who know when it's necessary to break the rules, but they Don't Know Jack. Reacher is a stone cold killer. Is he their friend or their enemy? Only the secrets hidden in Margrave, Georgia will tell them.

--Don’t Know Jack
by Diane Capri
Copyright © 2012 by Diane Capri, LLC
Published by August Books

My Review

FBI Agents Kim Otto and Carlos Gaspar each receive separate phone calls at four o’clock in the morning, telling to get on the first flight to Atlanta.  They’ve been pre-cleared through security and the planes will be held for them.  Time is of the essence, so move.  They do, studying the files e-mailed to them along the way, giving them all known information on their target individual plus two associated parties to be interviewed.  Their job, as part of the FBI’s Specialized Personnel Task Force, is to obtain background information on those individuals with specialized skills that the FBI is interested in.  Their new assignment?

U.S. Army Major Jack none Reacher, retired.

You read that right.  Lee Child’s Jack Reacher.

As a Jack Reacher spinoff, the overall idea has merit.  A couple of FBI agents assigned to trace the whereabouts of a man who lives his life 99.2% off the grid.  Given the number of novels Lee Child has written on Reacher, there’s plenty of fodder for a spinoff series. 

The execution of the idea, however, fails.  Diane Capri does not know Jack as well as some of us Reacher Creatures.  Her writing also leaves a lot to be desired.  Some of the dialogue between characters seems unrealistic and the choppy writing style made it difficult to read.  Otto and Gaspar get involved in a situation that has nothing to do with Reacher and yet they stick around, offering their help in the hopes that the people they need to talk to will slow down long enough to answer their questions.  Come on, they’re the FBI!  As the writer herself says, it’s a federal crime to lie to an FBI agent…surely with that kind of power behind them they have the ability to make someone stop for ten minutes and answer some questions.  Those delays in momentum really irritated me.  Not to mention the trope of Otto catching a glimpse of a man she thinks might be Reacher on the very last page of the book.  Too convenient, if you ask me, and something I was expecting to see before I even got half-way through the story.

I did like some of the internal dialogue that Kim Otto went through as she’s taking the lead in an investigation for the first time (at least, I think it’s her first time as lead investigator).  She’s unsure of herself, but confidently pushes forward, hoping she’s doing the right thing.  While having a character who is very confident in themselves and in their abilities makes for a good read, having a no-so-confident character learn about themselves and grow over the course of the story is also good reading.  I can same the same for Carlos Gaspar.  I truly do like him. 

So, in summary, what we have is a not very well written story involving characters that Reacher fans know well, but the story has nothing to do with Reacher.  It’s not a very good investment of time or money. 

I give this story TWO STARS.

No comments: