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XII No.2 - Sunday January 27 - Saturday february 9, 2013

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Book Review: by Lang Reid

Jack Reacher - One Shot

Lee Child’s thriller One Shot, was released in 2005, but has now been re-released as Jack Reacher - One Shot (ISBN 978-0-857-50119-6, Bantam Editions, 2012) following the release of the movie taken from this book called just Jack Reacher and starring Tom Cruise.
To me this does sound rather odd as the fictitious Reacher is 6’5” whereas Tom Cruise is 5’7”, but has a strong following in action movies after the Mission Impossible series. Apparently the Cruise Reacher works OK on the silver screen. (Perhaps he stands on telephone directories?)
Like all of these Jack Reacher books, author Lee Childs has developed the Reacher persona into someone believable. As well as his height and weight, Reacher is supremely logical. He can look at a threatening group of five assailants and work out the ringleader who will move first, then the second and third who will be wary after seeing the ringleader go down, and the fourth and fifth will run away, so he has only one to hurt and the fight is over. That sounds logical, the way Childs has written it, but I admit I have never been that brave, personally adhering to the dictum, “He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.”
In this book, a small town in America is awakened with a mass shooting in the center of town. The police wrap up the investigation in a couple of hours and the DA is primed, ready to proceed with this watertight case. There is only one problem, and that is the fact that the guilty party refuses to respond to questions, but only says, “Get Jack Reacher for me.”
It turns out that the guilty chap and Jack Reacher were at one stage both in the military, though they were strangely in opposite corners. It is these series of conundrums that Childs lays out for you that makes the reading irresistible. You know he’s wrong, using your own logic, but using Jack Reacher’s logic, you are the one that is wrong, because you are not such a student of human nature as Reacher is portrayed.
To complicate the situation even further, the accused is set upon in the city jail and ends up with concussion, bleeding into the brain, leading to a coma and multiple fractures.
Other characters include the daughter of the DA trying to make her way in the legal world, a TV anchor lady who is (almost) ready to do anything to be noticed by one of the major networks. Even to the stage of lending her Ford Mustang to Reacher to go off on what might have been a wild goose chase. And someone known as the Puppet Master with his half dozen minions.
Reacher does not manage to go a complete novel without receiving a few body blows himself. He bleeds!
At B. 385 on the Bookazine outlet shelves in Big C Extra, it is an inexpensive read for a weekend, and you will curse every time you are interrupted! If the film is anywhere near as good as the book, it will be a blockbuster!

Mango Rains

I was sitting having a quiet beer and chatting with Kim Fletcher, the Landlord of Jameson’s Irish Pub, when the subject of books came up. In his opinion, one of the most powerful books from a local writer was Mango Rains by Daniel M Dorothy (ISBN 978-1-905379-66-8, Maverick House, 2010) the 442 page blockbuster. I had to agree.
The epic revolves around the two principal characters Nid and her daughter Lek. Nid loses her daughter while still an infant and spends the next 20 years looking for her. Dan Dorothy uses a cinematic technique, developing each character individually but yet side by side.
Nid is sold into indentured prostitution as a very young teenager, and being a bar girl would seem to be her future. She knows of nothing else, nor has the education to allow her to improve on her prospects. The shallowness of the life as a bar girl is brought out very clearly, with Nid saying, “It was such a stagnant lifestyle, the quick and easy money had a way of destroying a person’s ability to dream for a better life.”
The supporting cast is brought into the narrative and given enough characterization to be credible, such as the Akha woman Malee, who at one time has possession of the child and Chatchai the teenager who is attracted to Lek, by then herself also a teenager. Incidentally, that childhood love is soon destroyed under most horrific circumstances. This is one of the many times that this book will move you to tears.
Author Dan Dorothy has lived for over 20 years in Thailand and his observations of Thai behavior are spot on. While Lek and a friend were attempting to find the bus station in Korat, but after arriving by train and asking directions, “It took a couple of hours before they were finally able to locate the bus station, which, by the way, turned out to be only about one kilometer from the train station.” Anyone looking for clear directions in Thailand will always be disappointed.
The pace is kept up all the way through, but even the ending is not what you, as the reader, hope will happen. This is a most moving book, showing just how difficult life can be for Thai women from the poor and underprivileged portion of the community. As quoted on the back cover, “That two women can have lives so devastating will come as a shock to those who imagine that Thai community life revolves around the common good. This is not a tale of foreigners and Thais trying to outwit each other, but one of Thais taking advantage of other Thais. It will put a new slant on life in the Land of Smiles.”
At B. 525 this is a book you will never regret reading, and one you will read more than once. It deserves to be adapted for cinema. A “must read” publication.
If you have not come across this book, you will find that copies are available in most Bookazine and Asia Books outlets. Well written and very powerful. It deserves to be on your bookshelf.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Jack Reacher - One Shot

Mango Rains



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