For the past couple of years, I’ve been enjoying reading some action/adventure/thriller novels by three different authors — four of each, as of this writing. The first is the series by the late Vince Flynn that stars “Mitch Rapp”. Second are the “Scot Harvath” books by Brad Thor. The only problem with these two series is that the characters are so similar that I sometimes get them (and their previous adventures) mixed up. It’s not that Rapp and Harvath are carbon-copies. They aren’t, really. But, I just can’t read them too closely together. Consider…
They are both highly-trained federal agents/intelligence operatives in their early- to mid-30s. Each of them often works solo (or almost) and likes it that way, usually on counterterrorist operations (including assassination), sometimes involving going undercover and/or hostage-rescue. Smart. Stubborn. American patriots who aren’t afraid to bend the rules when necessary. (Think: Jack Bauer “meets” Jason Bourne, minus the amnesia.) They each have a high-ranking boss/advocate in the intelligence community and a good relationship with the President himself — especially since both Rapp and Harvath rescued their respective Presidents in their first chronicled adventures. Neither hero has much of a personal life and both have trouble maintaining a romantic relationship, for both personal and professional reasons. Still, I like both characters, partly because they are so good at what they do and because their different “origin” stories and relationships with various supporting characters — good, bad, and in-between — make them interesting individuals who have entertaining (for the reader) adventures.
The third series of books I have been enjoying is the “Jack Reacher” stuff by Lee Child. Reacher has some similarities to Rapp and Harvath, but he is also quite different. The first Reacher novel takes place shortly after he was forced to retire from the Military Police — after 17 years, with rank of Major — and assumed a nomadic lifestyle, traveling with only the clothes on his back and a toothbrush. So, he’s even more of a loner than Rapp or Harvath. He’s a man of very few words, as indicated by the recurring line, “He said nothing.” Reacher doesn’t go looking for trouble, but trouble tends to find him. He doesn’t make friends easily, but if one of the few (either old or new) needs assistance, Reacher will do what he can to help, especially if he perceives some injustice being done. He’s a pretty big dude (6’5″, ~250+ lbs.), clever, observant, resourceful, a no-nonsense streetfighter, and he lives by a unique set of rules. (If you’re curious, go to the bookstore or library and check out Jack Reacher’s Rules.) All of this makes for an intriguing, fairly unique character and “fun” stories.
So, if you enjoy action/adventure stories, spy thrillers, and somehow haven’t latched onto one or more of these series/heroes, I strongly urge you to check ’em out! (And, if all you read is sci-fi/fantasy or comic books, then for goodness sake, try something new!) You can thank me later.