That time of year again…

... Spring has hit Dunedin: blossom, ducklings, noisy birds in the light early mornings, students wearing as little as possible, bulbs doing their thing.

So it must be time for the new Jack Reacher. Hooray!
A little mayhem, violence, laconic heroism, twists and thrills to temper the Spring brightness is just what is required. Personal is a very good addition to the series, although I preferred the last one, Never Look Back, a bit more – there was a glimpse of an inner Reacher that was very interesting. The inner Reacher in this one is very deeply buried.

A major political assassination is planned in Paris, who you gonna call? Jack Reacher is soon on the case, defending the free world and spreading peace in his own special way. Some of the goodies might be baddies so there are some interesting twists and some satisfying bait-and-switch moments. One of the characters is simply enormous and has a house built to scale, so Jack has some Alice in Wonderland moments with a sudden perspective on being a ‘normal’ size.

It made me think – ‘cos of the Paris political association thing – of the iconic Day of the Jackal by revered elder of the genre, Frederick Forsyth. Child’s writing is direct and spare and oddly elegant, with a pulse-racing story in the same way as Forsyth.  It is personal, because Jack thinks he has come across the assassin before, and because, of course, the baddies keep making it personal. Sillies, it is obvious the only course of action in to give up and slink away into the shadows…

I also really enjoyed, surprisingly enough, all the mechanical and mathematical tech stuff about figuring out wind speeds and distances and the type of guns to use for long distance shooting – now I understand what vectors might be for! This is probably the most realistic bit of the book, but lets be honest, no one picks up a Lee Child novel for their searing social commentary and harsh realism, although Child’s portrayal of/Reacher’s treatment of women in the books, whether as enemies, victims, colleagues and lovers, is some of the most actively non-sexist I’ve come across in popular fiction.
Hooray for escapism in the Spring!

 

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