Those of us who were around in 1959 might remember THE HARDY BOYS DETECTIVE HANDBOOK. It was not strictly a part of the popular series, though it did feature Frank and Joe helping their detective father on a case involving a plastics company, if memory serves, and it got about as deeply into the nitty-gritty of detective work as a 10- or 12-year-old boy of that time was going to get. JACK REACHER’S RULES isn’t that book, but it’s still cool. It’s a digest-sized, library-bound book, one that will fit into your back pocket without too much trouble --- not that you will be carrying it everywhere with you (one would want to commit its contents to memory before, say, one was in danger of getting one’s posterior kicked on the street, rather than calling a halt to the proceedings while referencing the topic on page 36).
"Jack Reacher doesn’t suggest; he rules. If you want to be like him, or if you just like him, you need a copy of JACK REACHER’S RULES. It’s the perfect gift for the man who has everything and wants nothing; read it and see what I mean."
I confess that I was very under-impressed with JACK REACHER’S RULES at first glance, as it seemed to be a shameless shill to capitalize on the holiday season. Though that may be true, it’s a very entertaining one and is not lacking in utilitarian value. My initial sense of reluctance vanished once I picked it up and actually started to read it. The book contains some good advice, such as what to do before attempting to pick a lock; I actually know some otherwise very intelligent people who failed to include the crucial step in the lock-picking checklist found here.
Some of the “advice” is opinions on topics of which reasonable minds might differ. For example, Reacher doesn’t care much for the stopping power of .38 firearms; I would submit that, with the utilization of Corbon hollow tip ammunition, a .38 stops otherwise irresistible forces quite handily. If, however, you want to live off the grid --- and I mean really and truly off the grid --- this book will tell you how. It also contains a point-by-point set of instructions on how to do such disparate activities as burning down a building or hitchhiking. There is a thoughtful table of contents, and the text is mostly bullet-pointed with occasional boxes, posters, photos and pictures to break things up.
As far as format goes, it’s kind of a WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PARACHUTE? for ex-Army MPs (or ex-anybodies, actually) who are burned out and ostensibly just want to wander around and be left alone but who instead keep finding themselves in trouble. You can read right through it and be entertained at the least and informed at most --- I don’t know if I have the stones to try to get a $350 hotel room for 50 bucks without William Shatner backing my play, but this book will tell you how you can try --- and some of the passages that are included from past Reacher novels will bring to the forefront why the name “Jack Reacher” is important to begin with.
Jack Reacher doesn’t suggest; he rules. If you want to be like him, or if you just like him, you need a copy of JACK REACHER’S RULES. It’s the perfect gift for the man who has everything and wants nothing; read it and see what I mean.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on November 9, 2012