Reacher strikes again
Jack Reacher returns in the 14th installment of Lee Child's manic series and neither the action hero nor his creator seems any worse for wear in "61 Hours" ($28, Delacorte Press). The ever-nomadic Reacher, sleeping on a tour bus in South Dakota, wakes up to a near-fatal collision, and a bruising blizzard. From there, the story takes off, ticking down in the manner of another hero's story – Jack Bauer of "24" – as buried secrets, international drug kingpins, and small-town corruption propel the novel to its nerve-rattling finale.
Call in the choir
Bobby McFerrin's new album "VOCAbuLarieS" is like traveling a Silk Road of sound with its European, African, Middle Eastern, and North American rhythms fused with McFerrin's joyful spirit and the strength of 50-plus singers. His most creative (and collaborative) work, "VOCAbuLarieS" has already reached the top of the jazz charts. With the album's shortest track lasting over six minutes consider it a musical passport to transport you beyond the daily rush.
Natalie Merchant celebrates the language of poets, favoring the obscure and eccentric, in her ambitious 26-track double CD, "Leave Your Sleep." The result: an artful overlay of her distinctive voice and stylings with folk-infused music that bleeds into blues and even a rollicking, squeezebox sound. Poems and their back stories – Ogden Nash, William Brighty Rands (her co-writers, she calls them) – are packed into an accompanying hardcover book. Delightful.
Tools of war
From the Roman gladius to the AK-47, the chariot to the modern tank, PBS's four-part "Ground War" series, starting May 19 at 9 p.m., looks at how the dark science of battlefield technological innovation has changed the way wars have been fought. It's easy to forget in this day of remote-controlled sniper drones and high-tech munitions that there was a time when the simple stirrup made the difference between life and death for an entire nation.
'Glee' on the road
Fox's smash TV show, "Glee," hits the road, beginning May 18 in Phoenix. The cast, all from the Broadway stage, will trot out some of the TV show's beloved numbers, such as "Don't Stop Believin'," "Jump," and "Don't Rain on My Parade." From Arizona the stage show heads to Los Angeles, Chicago, and finally New York City's Radio City Music Hall. Ticket information at ticketmaster.com.
Victory for all
When Nelson Mandela was elected president in 1994, he launched the idea of rallying his divided countrymen around the South African rugby team, the Springboks, who were training to win the 1995 World Rugby Cup. "Invictus" tells the story of the tensions and triumphs of that political gambit with Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon leading the play. Out on DVD May 18.