Worth Dying foreBook - 2010
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“I knew it,” Reacher said again. An old, old process, exploited by fortune-tellers everywhere. Steer a guy through an endless series of yes-no, right-wrong questions, and in no time at all a convincing illusion of intimacy built itself up. A simple psychological trick, sharpened by listening carefully to answers, feeling the way, and playing the odds. Most people who wore nametags every day forgot they had them on, at least initially. And a lot of heartland cops were ex-military. Way more than the average. And even if they weren’t, most of them had big families. Lots of brothers and cousins.
Reacher was spending no time on regret or recrimination. No time at all. The time for ruing mistakes and learning from them came later. As always he was focused in the present and the immediate future. People who wasted time and energy cursing recent errors were certain losers.
Intermodal shipping containers were corrugated metal boxes. They could be easily swapped between different modes of transport, like ships, or railroad flatcars, or semitrucks. Hence, intermodal. They were all a little more than eight feet high and eight feet wide. The shortest and rarest were twenty feet long. Most were forty feet long, or forty-five, or forty-eight, or fifty-three. But traffic was always measured by reference to the basic minimum length, in multiples called twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs. A twenty-foot container was scored as a one, a forty-foot as a two, and so on. Port Metro Vancouver handled two million TEUs a year.
BIC was the Bureau International des Containers, which was headquartered in Paris, France, and the code was a combination of four letters from the Latin alphabet and seven numbers.
Outside, the sun continued to climb and the light grew a little stronger. The air was damp and heavy, cold and dense, the kind of air that keeps a baseball inside the park, the kind of air that cradles a bullet and holds it straight and true.
Enough, a person might say, if that person lived in the civilized world, the world of movies and television and fair play and decent restraint. But Reacher didn’t live there. He lived in a world where you don’t start fights but you sure as hell finish them, and you don’t lose them either, and he was the inheritor of generations of hard-won wisdom that said the best way to lose them was to assume they were over when they weren’t yet.
They were from Vegas, which as always meant they were really from somewhere else.
Reacher said, ‘It’s make-your-mind-up time, boys. Either do what I tell you, or get shot.’
All bullies are cowards, but these two had a little more pussy in them than he had guessed. They had a shotgun, for God’s sake, and he assumed they had found a flashlight. What the hell were they waiting for? Permission? Their mommies? He waited.
Case in point: bad choice of weapons. Best are shooting weapons, second best are stabbing weapons, third best are slashing weapons. Blunt instruments are way down the list. They slow hand speed. Their uncontrolled momentum is disadvantageous after a miss. And: If you have to use them, the backhand is the only way to go, so that you accelerate and strike in the same sudden fluid motion.
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Why is Jack Reacher hitchhiking through Nebraska in the dead of winter?
How does he stay in such great shape so that he can pound the living daylights out of multiple attackers?!
The retired MP (Major?) rights wrongs wherever he walks/hitches. In this town he stumbles 1st upon a woman who is being beaten by her husband and exposes the husbands' family as bad guys. The bad family has kept the town hostage for years. Jack cleans this mess up and also solves a decades old murder.
Amazing. Maybe this routine is getting a bit worn out.