A Wanted Man

Lee Child, read by Dick Hill. Random House Audio, unabridged, 12 CDs, 14 hrs., $45 ISBN 978-0-307-74960-4
In Child’s latest Reacher novel, his ex-army hero is hitchhiking to Virginia, battered but unbowed, when he’s picked up by a car carrying three men and a woman. Much of the book takes place in that car, with the always-suspicious Reacher doing a lot of sleuthing into the backgrounds of his mysterious fellow passengers. His suspicions are, of course, well founded. The four are connected to at least one murder. Before too long, Reacher has switched vehicles, now driving with a beautiful FBI agent and following his former companions into the heart of a seemingly inscrutable conspiracy. Some listeners may find the road trip a little meandering and the arbitrary death of a likeable character off-putting, but none should have any complaints about narrator Dick Hill’s vigorous, sardonic performance in this audio edition. His reading is perfectly tuned to Child’s hardboiled prose, and the narrator maintains an energy level that’s high enough to carry the listener past some of the book’s slower passages. Of special note is Hill’s ability to pick just the right word to linger on, nicely capturing Reacher’s attitude, be it one of distrust, sarcasm, anger, or, in rare instances, warmth. A Delacorte hardcover. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 12/24/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
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