Book to Film: the same, but different?

English: Tom Cruise on MTV Live in December 2008

English: Tom Cruise on MTV Live in December 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I’ve always found book to screen adaptations rather hit and miss. There are some that I’ve loved – The Shawshank Redemption and I am Legend, for example. And those I’ve regretted seeing, like The Runaway Jury.

So, as a fan of Lee Child’s fabulous character Jack Reacher, I had mixed feelings about watching the new JACK REACHER film.

Would it live up to the book (one of my favorite of the series)?

Could Tom Cruise really play the ‘larger-than-life’ character of Reacher?

But I was curious to see the film, and so last night I ventured off to the cinema to view it.

And I liked it.

It was true enough to the book and the character for me to recognise them, the action was slick, and the pace kept moving (and me interested). And it didn’t matter that Tom Cruise’s Reacher didn’t look exactly as I’d pictured Reacher in my mind as I read the books. The character was there, just a bit different. For me it worked.

I wonder if they’ll make another one?

I hope they do.

The Affair by Lee Child

A sizzling-hot thriller with enough twists to keep you guessing to the end

“March 1997.  A woman has her throat cut behind a bar in Carter Crossing, Mississippi.  Just down the road is a big army base.  Is the murderer a local guy – or is he a soldier?

Jack Reacher, still a major in the military police, is sent in undercover.  The country sheriff is a former US Marine – and a stunningly beautiful woman.  Her investigation is going nowhere.  Is the Pentagon stonewalling her? Or doesn’t she really want to find the killer?”

The story features a Jack Reacher who’s still employed by the army, and is set six months before the opening of The Killing Floor.  He’s still the Reacher fans of the series know and love, but he’s a little younger, a little less savvy of military politics, and perhaps (even) more of a Romeo than we’ve seen before.

To me this story is very much a modern day western.  There’s a town full of uneasy tension: where locals rely on the army base trade to keep the dollars flowing their way and keep their businesses alive, but harbour simmering resentment against them.  Reacher, as always, plays the inquisitive outsider to perfection. This story marks the beginning of the end for his military career.

It’s hard to write a review of this book without including a spoiler, but it’s a fast paced read with enough curve balls and misdirection thrown at Reacher to keep you hanging on right to the end.  While the story is just as strong as previous books, and Reacher is no less willing to fight (literally) for what he believes is right, personally I found it gave a little more time to a romantic encounter sub-plot than in the majority of other books in the series.  And this certainly added an additional fizz to the experience!

Okay, so you’ve probably guessed, I’m a bit of a Lee Child fan.  Even so, I rate this book as one of the best in the series.  Whether you’re a devoted regular, or a newcomer to the Jack Reacher series, I think you’ll find it a great read.

Highly recommended.

Ps.  The film JACK REACHER, based on Lee Child’s book ONE SHOT and staring Tom Cruise as Reacher is due for release in December 2012.  You can find out more at