I started reading the first book in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child last week. Written in 1997, it features what I can only describe as a “man’s man” protagonist – loner, strong, violent (only when needed, of course), keeping his feelings close to the chest, with few financial resources and average looks, but who still manages to get the hottest women. You know the type.
The story starts interestingly, but then there’s a hot girl and much violence. I have a low tolerance for violence where the author appears to try and top off others in shock value, but I can usually finish these stories when I can identify with the lead character in some way. Jack Reacher is unfortunately not that type of lead for me. I just kept seeing Jason Statham playing Terminator, but without the fun parts. (No need to remind me that Jack Reacher was played in the movies by Tom Cruise – shudders.)
It made me think of other male loner lead characters whose same genre stories I enjoyed much more. For example, the Hieronymus”Harry” Bosch character written by Michael Connelly. The series is set in Los Angeles and begins in 1992 against the backdrop of the Rodney King events. The aspects linked to police corruption anger me and, having had to live through them, I am not a fan of the 90s, but I figure the author will eventually move to the millennium decade. I am now reading Book 6 in the series. Amazon also began a TV series in 2014 featuring a favourite actor of mine, Titus Welliver, but I can’t quite figure out yet how to access it yet.
Lastly, but one I like most fondly as “loner guy” series go, offers you a fantasy and mystery mix rather than pure crime is the Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher. I’ve finished all 15 books and wait in anticipation for Peace Talks, the next in the series. Maybe I’m cheating here because Harry does accumulate close friends and allies as he rips through his encounters but he also makes a whole slew of enemies which makes him break even in my book. Having him played by Paul Blackthorne in the sadly short lived TV series did not hurt one bit either.