Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Affair

Once again I find myself reading another Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child, easily read with all the distractions of traveling last week. "The Affair" (528 pages) is Child's most recently published work from late last year. From Goodreads:

"Everything starts somewhere. . . .

For elite military cop Jack Reacher, that somewhere was Carter Crossing, Mississippi, way back in 1997. A lonely railroad track. A crime scene. A coverup.

A young woman is dead, and solid evidence points to a soldier at a nearby military base. But that soldier has powerful friends in Washington.

Reacher is ordered undercover — to find out everything he can, to control the local police, and then to vanish. Reacher is a good soldier. But when he gets to Carter Crossing, he finds layers no one saw coming, and the investigation spins out of control.

Local sheriff Elizabeth Deveraux has a thirst for justice — and an appetite for secrets. Uncertain they can trust one another, Reacher and Deveraux reluctantly join forces. Reacher works to uncover the truth, while others try to bury it forever. The conspiracy threatens to shatter his faith in his mission, and turn him into a man to be feared."

The good:

I was little dubious going into this novel as it was another one of Child's retro Reacher stories, taking place in 1997. His other attempts at doing this fell a little flat with me. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised with this read. Though it is set back in time many years it also explains how Jack Reacher became disenfranchised with the military and why he chose his lifestyle that he lives in more current stories.

As with most of Lee Child's books the mystery is usually entertaining with a few twists and turns. Moreover, Reacher is such a bad ass character that often the plot doesn't matter when he's involved. His sense of justice sometimes blurs the line with morality and this mostly is what makes him such an intriguing character.

The paperback version of "The Affair" that I read included a short story as well called "The Second Son," another Reacher story. I love bonus materials in books!

The bad:

There were a couple of areas of the book that were kind of hard for me to suspend my disbelief. Without spoiling anything, a trip by Reacher to the Pentagon and an encounter with a Senator comes to mind. While these unbelievable occurrences didn't ruin the story for me, it did knock it down in my estimation a bit.

I get it, Jack Reacher is a ladies man who always seems to get with a lady or two in his adventures. While that's fine I could have done without the three chapters dealing with his sexual escapades. Obviously I'm no prude but it just read and filtered into the story a little awkwardly, for me, like something out of a cheap romance novel.

The ugly:

Descriptive fight sequences. Sometimes just brutal.

Another solid effort by Child. Great characters with a decent plot makes for a must read for fans of Child and mystery/suspense novels. Recommended.

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