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Die Trying

Die Trying

4.1 608
by Lee Child, Johnathan McClain (Read by)

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See Jack Reacher now in his first major motion picture.

When a woman is kidnapped off a Chicago street in broad daylight, Jack Reacher’s in the wrong place at the wrong time. He’s kidnapped with her. Chained together and racing across America toward an unknown destination, they’re at the mercy of a group of men demanding an impossible ransom.


See Jack Reacher now in his first major motion picture.

When a woman is kidnapped off a Chicago street in broad daylight, Jack Reacher’s in the wrong place at the wrong time. He’s kidnapped with her. Chained together and racing across America toward an unknown destination, they’re at the mercy of a group of men demanding an impossible ransom. Because Reacher’s female companion is worth more than he imagines. Now he has to save them both—from the inside out—or die trying…

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
August 1998

There are essentially two ways in which gratuitous violence can be used effectively in writing. If it is overwrought, appearing in excess in scene after scene, even the most severe violence becomes commonplace and bland. It's the Mortal Kombat syndrome: You can only watch a guy get his spine ripped out so many times before it loses its luster. For violence to really be exciting, it must either be sudden, so that the shock of brutal imagery you can't help but envision catches you unprepared and makes you cringe, or be unleashed after a careful buildup, so that you anticipate its arrival long enough for its absence to become excruciating, to the point where you're lusting after it, needing it. Lee Child, the author of Die Trying, is a master of both techniques.

Die Trying is Child's second book featuring Jack Reacher, an ex-Army Military Police major who is everything you want in an action hero and more. He is intimidatingly enormous. He is shrewd to the point of deviousness. He is good, but only when pushed. This is a guy who you just know, from the moment you meet him on the page, is capable of the most horrendous mayhem. And you want to see it, as soon as possible. Child, who is pretty shrewd and devious himself, makes you wait.

In Die Trying, Reacher gets tangled up in a kidnapping he's not supposed to have anything to do with. Gallantly stepping in to help a beautiful woman on crutches who is struggling with her dry cleaning, he puts himself in exactly the wrong place at the wrong time. The woman is FBI agent Holly Johnson,andoutside her dry cleaner's she, and Reacher along with her, is forced at gunpoint into the backseat of a car (which has been stolen in the opening scene in a breathtakingly sudden explosion of violence).

Their kidnappers are members of a highly organized neo-Nazi militia conglomerate who want Holly because she is very important to some very important people in the American government, and they have big plans to use her as a bargaining chip in a plot to mount a massive political insurrection. They really don't want any part of Reacher, but they don't quite understand that until they get him back to their Montana compound.

On the trip there, several days' journey in the back of a stolen delivery truck, Reacher's anger has time to fester and build. He has several chances to escape, but he is too calculating to take unnecessary risks. When these moments arrive, the pent-up violence waiting to be released swells off the page. But again and again, you have to wait — until finally the driver of the truck steals into the barn where Reacher and Holly are chained to the wall in facing horse stalls for the night. He takes advantage of her injury and the fact that she has only one free hand to viciously beat her into submission, intent on having his way with her. Reacher is ten feet away and bound by a heavy iron chain looped through a ring in the wall. After desperately defending herself and almost defeating her assailant, Holly is conquered. The moment has arrived.

She undid the top button. Reacher counted: one. The driver leered down. Her hand slid to the next button. Reacher tightened his grip again. She undid the second button. Reacher counted: two. Her hand slid down to the third button. Reacher turned square-on to face the rear wall of his stall and took a deep breath. Turned his head and watched over his shoulder. Holly undid the third button. Dark peach brassiere. Skimpy and lacy. The driver shuffled from foot to foot. Reacher counted: three. He exhaled right from the bottom of his lungs. Holly's hand slid down to the fourth button. Reacher took a deep breath, the deepest breath of his life. He tightened his hold on the chain until his knuckles shone white. Holly undid the fourth button. Reacher counted: four. Her hand slid down. Paused a beat. Waited. Undid the fifth button. Her suit fell open. The driver leered down and made a small sound. Reacher jerked back and smashed his foot into the wall. Right under the iron ring. He smashed his weight backward against the chain, two hundred and twenty pounds of coiled fury exploding against the force of his kick. Splinters of damp wood burst out of the wall. The old planks shattered. The bolts tore right out of the timber. Reacher was hurled backward. He swarmed up to his feet, his chain whipping and flailing angrily behind him.

"Five!" he screamed.

What Reacher does to the hapless driver is pretty satisfying, all in all, but it's nothing compared with what happens when his captors get him back to Montana, where a ruthless psychopath named Beau Borken, a huge, hideous, brilliant monster of a man, lives like a god, ruling by fear over hundreds of militia men and women. The FBI, struggling to piece together the kidnapping from scant evidence, believes that Reacher has masterminded the entire thing and has tracked him back to Montana. Borken has some awful plans for both Reacher and Holly, as well as for the country as a whole, but when Reacher gets loose in the compound (it's only a matter of time, but you'll be fidgeting as you wait for it), the pure, unthinkably brutal mayhem he unleashes changes everybody's priorities.

Die Trying starts off brilliantly, gets wilder, and finishes up way over the top. Though the plot becomes a bit too implausible, it's of little consequence — it involves you early on, and by the time the heavy artillery starts going off, you only want to see more and more. You're in it for Reacher, for the violence. You want the full theater of pain, and Child gives you everything. This one is definitely worth the price of admission.

—Olli Chanoff

Rocky Mountain News
A thoroughly engrossing tale....Jack Reacher is one of the more fully realized and intelligently resourceful heroes to come along in years.
Chicago Tribune
A suspense writer to be reckoned with.
The guy must be channeling Dashiell Hammett.
Kirkus Reviews
Furiously suspenseful, but brain-dead second volume in Child's gratuitously derivative Jack Reacher action series (Killing Floor, 1997). Reacher, a former Army Military Police Major, has now moved on to Chicago, where he gallantly assists a beautiful mystery woman hobbling on a crutch with her dry cleaning. Seconds later, Reacher and the woman, FBI agent Holly Johnson (also daughter of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as goddaughter of the President), are kidnaped by armed gunmen. Handcuffed together and tossed in the back of a van, the two are taken to the Montana mountain stronghold of Beau Borken, a fat, ugly, psychopathically vicious neo-Nazi militia leader given to sawing the arms off day laborers and making windy speeches about how he brilliant he is. Of course, the kidnappers don't know that they have a former military police major in their clutches who, in addition to having a Silver Star for heroism, is one of the best snipers the Army has ever produced, can pull iron rings out of barn doors, and kill bad guys with lit cigarettes. Meanwhile, a team of FBI agents, at least one of whom is a mole leaking information to Borken, identify Reacher from a reconstructed photo taken from the dry cleaner's surveillance camera. Borken, impressed with Reacher's military record, lectures him about his brilliant plan to overthrow the US using a hijacked Army missile unit, with Holly held as a hostage in a specially constructed, dynamite-lined prison cell. Borken stupidly lets Reacher best him in a shooting match, then grandiosely turns his back on his captives enough times for Reacher and Holly to escape, cause havoc, get captured, escape, make love in the woods,cause more havoc, and get captured again, as General Johnson, FBI Director Harlan Webster, and General Garber, Reacher's former commander, plan a covert strike on Borken's fortress thatþs certain to fail. Another Rogue Warrior meets Die Hard with all the typical over-the-top plotting, blood-splattering ultraviolence, lock-jawed heroics and the dumbest villains this side of Ruby Ridge.

Product Details

Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
Jack Reacher Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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What People are Saying About This

The guy must be channeling Dashiell Hammett.

Meet the Author

LEE CHILD is a #1 bestselling author worldwide. His debut novel, Killing Floor, won two awards for best first mystery and was nominated for two more. Foreign rights in the Jack Reacher series have been sold in ninety-five countries. The movie franchise stars Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. Child, a native of England, is a former television director. He lives in New York City, where he is at work on his next Jack Reacher thriller. He can be contacted through his website.

Brief Biography

Birmingham, England
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Coventry, England
Sheffield University

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Die Trying 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 608 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Die Trying was an incredible book. One of my favorite Lee Child books so far. I have read most of his books but I especially liked the theme that he used for this book. It starts out in typical Lee Child fashion when Jack Reacher finds himself swept into some kind of mischeif. In this book though the bad guys are a malitia group that want to turn the state of Montana into their own country. As always Lee Child adds lots of action and twists and turns. Who can he trust? One particularly tense part of the book involved crawling through a small tunnel in the middle of a mountain with a small flashlight that of course dies so that he is left in the dark and the tunnel narrows till he is stuck! Great book and I highly recommend it!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one book I really didn't want to put down. (and that's saying a great deal for me) Jack is the man!, the writing was thrilling, a movie for the mind. I'm going to pick up 'Tripwire' tomorrow
Hiredoutlaw More than 1 year ago
I started this book with little in mind. I had read Killing Floor a week prior to this and in my mind I had an idea of what the second novel would hold within. A light-read with a heavy romance between the main character and a broad he meets. Boy, was I wrong about this installment. Mr. Child follows up with a story that takes some getting used to and understanding but soon enough you can't put it down. You HAVE to know what will happen to Jack.

Basically, the book starts off fast. Reacher (the main character) is helping Holly, an FBI agent located in Chicago. She hurt her leg and carrying her laundry out from the laundromat has proved more troublesome than ever. Reacher lends a hand and shares the butt of a gun in his gut from a mysterious man who forces both of them into a car that speeds away from Chicago. Reacher has just been the victim of the old proverb: "wrong place at the wrong time." Only, Reacher soon realizes Holly is not just your ordinary FBI agent.

The first 100 pages or so are very interesting. They speed by fast as you you need to know what happens. Reacher causes an epic fight in the first 100 pages or so and you are locked in. However, it starts to drag when the two of them are finally prisoners at a militia camp in Montana. It got to a point where I was questioning myself. "Should I stop?" It wasn't leading anywhere and frankly, I was a tad bored. I had other books on my mind.

I decided to keep reading and I am glad I did. The book picks up and the last 100 pages are so thrilling and so suspenseful, you can't help but keep the book plastered in front of you. It finally finishes in a "bang" and ends almost abruptly leaving you hungry for more. The mysteries within the book are surprising however I was picking up on some clues in the beginning and analyzed them to conclude the mysteries and on some I was right and others wrong. In a way, the end of the novel also leaves you a little shocked as the question "Who is it?" is finally answered.

I'll be picking up Mr. Child's next installment soon. Die Trying was an amazing sophomore attempt and is showing bright things for this author's future. And judging from his large array of installments in this series currently, I'd say Mr. Child will be writing Reacher novels for a long time to come.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed Killing Floor, the first in the Jack Reacher series, but I think this one might be better. In this book, Lee Childs manages to weave more of an air of antica (waite for it) pation. You KNOW Reacher is going to bring a world of hurt upon the bad guys, you just dont know when. When it explodes, its like real violence, nasty, brutal, bloody and with consequences.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have finished the first 4 books in the Jack Reacher series. Jack is a really cool character. I have truly enjoyed them. I recommend the series to everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good, and held my interest and almost a "cannot put it down" read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jack Reacher is who Jack Bauer would like to be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you read one you have to read them all and wait for the .next one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the book mainly for the level of detail in it. Mr. Child described each scene and situation with enough detail for me to visualize each and every moment in my head (the only other authors who did that for me were Christopher Paolini and Jean Craighead George). The plot was amazingly paced and very suspenseful, and I loved watching the relationship between Jack and Holly develop as the story progresses. The little, frantic scenes from within FBI headquarters as they tried to track Holly down lended a sense of depth as the reader figured out what was happening on both ends. This book did not seem drawn-out to me at all; on the contrary, I found it to be marvelously paced. I give this book a 4.5/5 stars.
Anonymous 25 days ago
Love the series, gonna be pretty sad when i finish the all of them:) Just buy the book and get to reading lol
JCD2 More than 1 year ago
Early Jack Reacher. Walking down a street, minding his own business, Jack Reacher tries to help a woman with a crutch and finds himself taken hostage. The fast passed story is action packed and brings in the highest levels of government and military who are set to take on a militia of mountain men. Very entertaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
E books are the best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Goes to res two
Carl80 More than 1 year ago
Lee Child spins a terrific yarn that is entertaining, fast-paced and spiced with enough character delineation to keep modern readers interested. Die Trying is a rollercoaster of a suspense novel and if the reader has to work a little harder in spots to buy the action, the pace will sustain. Jack Reacher is ex-army, ex-military police. He was a decorated, upstanding officer who slipped through the downsizing cracks of the peace-time military establishment. Reacher is going no place fast now he's in civvies, but that isn't to imply he's become a bum, far from it. Because of his long service career and extensive overseas assignments, Reacher is taking his time and exploring civilian options. He's becoming acquainted with his country. That puts him in sudden jeopardy. In the wrong place at the wrong time, he's kidnapped with an FBI agent named Holly Johnson. In a fine twist, Reacher and the reader begin to suspect some unseen dimensions to this woman. That thread carries through for a good part of the novel and adds interesting dimensions to the main plot. In some fascinating ways, Jack Reacher is a throwback to the hard-bitten, stalwart, stand-up heroes of an earlier time. If he can maintain the pace and the level of good quality writing readers will find here, his scarred hero will live a long and fruitful life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lee Child just writes good books. He gets you involved with his characters and keeps you there. This time Jack Reacher is caught up in another situation not of his own making. He is abducted along with a woman he was trying to help and is transported a great distance away where they are held captive. He then begins the process of discovering who this lady is...and why they might be in this predicament. He doesn't let on his own background until it is necessary. The whys and the solution will keep you very interested. I want more..........
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lee Child is a master-mind! I love his books. This book was my favorite one so far. I could not put it down. Your mind will wonder where it is going even when you are not reading it. I plan to keep reading till I finish the whole series and then wait for the next one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book by Lee Child, Die Trying, shows a very brite side to this fine writer.the book, i thought, was very good and discriptive. As I read the book i got a mental pictureand that is very good for a person as young as me. I would recomend this book to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anonymous 6 months ago
Quick, easy read. Was entertaining and fun to see a hero who won every battle but was still flawed and more human because of the flaws.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very nice. I like ones like these where you are reading from an abstract or inanimate object's point of view.
PennyDread More than 1 year ago
These books have become quite formulaic, so much that it feels like the same book sometimes. I don't think Lee Child can write very good women characters, he has them fleeting in Reacher's life. The military details are a bit much, and becomes boring. I guess it's because it is information I don't care about. I love immersion but at some point you are like, do I need to know this for the story? Not really. I still love Jack though, he is compelling.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago