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Books with main character like Jack Reacher

Discussion in 'Books and Anime Discussion' started by James, Sep 15, 2018.

  1. James

    James High Inquisitor

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    Hey all,

    Looking for cop/detective/spy thrillers with distinctive BAMF!MC, something like Lee Child's Jack Reacher.

    Now, main protags in these genres often fall into certain tropes: you've got the boy-scout (~captain america), the alcoholic with inner strength (~bruce willis), or the PTSD post army type (~Rambo?). These tropes usually direct what type of drama/personal development is in the book, I don't enjoy these mentioned, and I'm especially tired of alcoholic/burn-out, but inside actually top gun cops.

    Jack Reacher, on the other hand, has this sort of zen like quality about him: he knows what he wants in his life, and even though life sometimes takes him different places and he thinks about e.g. settling down, in the end he sort of gets back to his equlibrium. If he has to make hard/unclear decisions, he just makes them, and if they turn out bad, he's like "well, shit, in the hindsight it wasn't good choice. Too bad." and just moves on without too much angst.

    This the thing I'm looking for. I don't care much neither about the setting, nor about particulars of the character, I'd just like to get recommendations for cop/detective/spy thrillers where the MC has this particular quality about him (or her! I'd love good woman MC). Maybe a bit less cookie-cutter plot would be appreciated, but I'm okay with the same plot quality (in better JR books :D)

    Pinging @The-Hyphenated-One @Mage @Gabrinth, who I know from search like Jack Reacher and might have found comparable stories.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Trig

    Trig Auror

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    If you enjoy scifi I'd suggest Altered Carbon, first book in the Takeshi Kovacs trilogy. Ignore the bad TV-adaptation. The main character borders some of the tropes you mentioned, but I think he definitely exemplifies this self-assured quality you're looking for.
     
  3. ThePinkTomato

    ThePinkTomato Prestigious Tomato ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    If you want the Australian version of Jack Reacher, try the Les Norton books by Robert G Barrett. They're very...Australian. 'You Wouldn't Be Dead For Quids' is the first in the series and a good place to start. The MC is a bouncer at a Kings Cross illegal casino, so it's not exactly a detective MC, but they're still ripper reads.
     
  4. The-Hyphenated-One

    The-Hyphenated-One Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

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    Nick Petrie and his Peter Ash novels.

    Mark Greaney and his Grey Man novels.

    Gregg Hurwitz and his Orphan X novels.

    Terry Hayes and his book I am Pilgrim

    Vince Flynn and his character Mitch Rapp (not as much of a loner, more Captain America type)

    Brad Thorr and his character Scot Harvath (also more of a team player than Reacher)
     
  5. Puzzled

    Puzzled High Inquisitor

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    Tom Clancy's Without Remorse fits. John Clark is a recurring side character in Clancy's universe, and Without Remorse is his origin.
     
  6. Gengar

    Gengar Polymagus ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    As cliche as Reacher seems sometimes, I've actually found it hard to find many novels based around characters like him.

    Often you get the cia/super spy stuff like Rapp and Harvath (which I read and enjoy), but I struggle to find the bamf sherlock types on Audible.

    The Penderghast books are cool. I've only read the first few because the blurbs for latter ones just sound stupid. Penderghast as a character is pretty great though - a Louisiana born super fbi agent - and the mysteries in the early books are engaging.
     
  7. Gengar

    Gengar Polymagus ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I've tried Without Remorse because I wanted to start the Jack Ryan universe from the beginning. I'm still half way through but holy shit, that book is a bit of a slog...
     
  8. James

    James High Inquisitor

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    So, I finally got to some of the books recommended here: I've started reading first Orphan X recommended by @The-Hyphenated-One novel about three times now - It's not bad or anything, but my attention always sort of peters out, and then I just lose my place.

    So I am back to looking through recommendations - I am now trying to get ahold of the Les Norton books @TheWiseTomato recommended, because I am quite curious what you mean by the books being "quite australian". :D
     
  9. ThePinkTomato

    ThePinkTomato Prestigious Tomato ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    @James it'll be interesting to see what you think of them because the humour is very Aussie and also very much a product of the decades in which the various books were written. I really can't describe it better than that. Your best bet will probably be getting them on an e-reader.
     
  10. James

    James High Inquisitor

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    So, updates:
    - i failed to ehm find the Les Norton books for acceptable price
    - i’ve read peter ash novels. Definitely close, enjoyable read, althou Peter is definitely more “damaged” by the war than Reacher, and his white static (his nickname for his ptsd/claustrophobia combo) has bordered on overdone at moments. Overall enjoyable.
    - i’ve also stumbled on Acer Sansom novels by Oliver Tidy. Genre close to Reacher, except the MC reminded me more of Harry Potter - blindly stumbles around, is trusting idiot (insofar as he’s three times as old as HP) and is overall much less “zen”, but the action was fairly well done. Couldn’t quite continue the fourth book, where I’ve felt that the author failed to give enough of a breathing room to the character, and as it started with another clusterfuck, ive had enough.
    - I’ve reread Reacher again, except three books - the one with the stupid fbi agent, and two stories that are not as engaging for me. Holy shit, Reacher is awesome.

    Now I’m looking at something else. @Puzzled: is it hard to get into Tom Clancy? As far as I remember, his storylines/book continuum are a bit of a spaghetti mess, right? Ill have to check goodreads or wiki. Penderghast sounds good too, or I could try another one of @The-Hyphenated-One ‘s suggestions.
     
  11. Puzzled

    Puzzled High Inquisitor

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    Not really, each book that he wrote is pretty self contained and as the main hero works for the CIA his adventures don't have big ripple effects on the world until suddenly he's extremely prominent. The sequelish ghostwritten stories and the ones published after his death seemed to have a lot more dependencies on the earlier books, but if you skip them you won't miss much. His cold war books are the most fun in my opinion. That said, they aren't very much like Jack Reacher. Without Remorse is closest, but the others are technothrillers with usually only a chapter or two of violence that's pretty clinical.
     
  12. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Good book recs in this thread, thanks.

    I've read a few of them but nothing I loved and nothing to rec that hasn't been said.
     
  13. The-Hyphenated-One

    The-Hyphenated-One Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

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    I'd also recommend trying out Reacher in audiobook form. Definitely a different experience.
     
  14. point09micron

    point09micron Groundskeeper

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    I haven't read any of his books past Teeth of the Tiger, but up to there I didn't find them hard to follow at all. There's a ton of characters to keep track of, but the individual books are presented sequentially with no jumping back and forth in the timeline. There will be references to the prior stories, but they're just Easter eggs for the most part. I'd recommend reading them in publication order rather than chronological. Without Remorse and Patriot Games are really meant to be prequels read after the original appearances of the characters. Like how you shouldn't watch Fate/Zero before Stay Night, or the prequel trilogy before watching the original trilogy.
     
  15. James

    James High Inquisitor

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    Following @The-Hyphenated-One suggestions:

    I've read I am Pilgrim on my way to Jack Ryan and it was very enjoyable. The character wasn't quite Reacher-ish, but for a thriller fan, it was enjoyable: the whole time it straddled the line between tension and melodrama rather well, with only a few over the line moments.

    Then I started the Jack Ryan universe; The first, John Kelly book (Without Remorse) was by far the best; the rest of the Jack Ryan books (I got to #11, I think) was okay. I've mostly enjoyed my time with them, but I don't think I'll ever re-read them: they are too military-tech oriented for my tastes, and, as the time goes on, it feels as if author got more in love with himself—his own writing and opinions. It almost got to propaganda levels in the later books, and it really could use quite a word culling.

    Oh well, still liking the way Jack Ryan (and Cathy!) is in the Amazon series, which is IMO, much better.

    Now onto the Mitch Rapp series: I've started first few (5) books and I enjoyed them more than Jack Ryan. I'm reading in timeline order - so first two books ('prequels') were written almost 10 years later then the original 'first books' (timeline #3 and #4), and are much, much better: Mitch Rapp in #1 is much closer to Reacher than is the Mitch Rapp in #3, and Vince Flynn has no idea how to write compelling (potential) love interest.

    I am now hoping, as the series move on, it will get back/closer to the #1 book character.

    Again, @The-Hyphenated-One, thank you for your suggestions - I've enjoyed reading through all of them, and will definitely check out Scot Harvath and Grey Man.

    I'll note here the Red Sparrow trilogy and John Grisham, ofter recommended as an alternatives by readers not liking these books.

    Also, The Prey Series, Jack Ryan and (so far) Mitch Rapp #3-#5 series have one thing in common: Absolutely unlikable, pushy mary-sue wives. It's as if these authors thought: "This man is too 'manly'. I'll throw in a blind devotion to a wife to counter that." Ugh
     
  16. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Thanks for that update - nice to hear what you thought of them. Without Remorse has always been my favorite Clancy book, for what that's worth.
     
  17. Gengar

    Gengar Polymagus ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Don't worry, the author agreed with you, or at least listened to feedback regarding Anna in the Rapp series. By the time Consent to Kill rolls around she really mellows out.
     
  18. Spanks

    Spanks Minister of Magic

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    There's the Logan West Series by Matthew Betley. Betley is a veteran and recovering alcoholic with ptsd so his main character reflects that part of him. The first book is his first attempt at writing so it's pretty formulaic, but you can see him growing as a writer from the second book on.
     
  19. James

    James High Inquisitor

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    @Spanks thanks for the rec, will probably check it out. The “badass despite ptsd/alcoholism” trope is precisely what I don’t really like, but we’ll see-i’ve nearky hone through all recs anyway.
     
  20. ThePinkTomato

    ThePinkTomato Prestigious Tomato ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    @James it's not what you were asking for, but the Les Norton books are getting a TV adaptation starting within the fortnight. You'd be able to find it somewhere online to see if it's worth tracking the books down.
     
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