I’ve one rule when it comes to reading. Never read thrillers, but as always I ended up reading the latest Jack Reacher…
Always coming back to the Jack Reacher novels reminds me why thrillers are such an engaging reading experience (maybe that’s why I keep coming back for more, Jack-Reacher-wise):
- The visceral pull of the plots;
- The lure of identification with the action hero;
- They persuade us that however terrible the situation, some sort of fight or flight is always available to us;
- Reacher’s intellectual faculties are always masterclass and they never interfere with him throwing a punch (I’m always flabbergasted by his ability to perform complex arithmetic operations while preparing to engage with the bad guys…);
- He gets mixed up with other people’s business because he has none of his own;
- It’s always a delight to hide inside the heroe's perspective for the ride;
- He comes out nothingness (roaming the good USofA until the action bumps into him);
- (feel free to add your own)
All the Lee’s books are essentially the same book, but I've read 18 (now 19) so call me a fan. One of the books a few years ago did have a cliff-hanger ending when it appeared he may not have survived. But why should he not keep on? Going back to Sherlock Holmes but more pronounced in recent years, characters have outlasted their authors (e.g. Robert B. Parker’s Spenser). Lee has always acknowledged his debt to John D. Mcdonald and McGee but also mentions the traditions of knights errant and Ronins.
What about the 19th? It's still nonsense as the previous ones (we even have a Giant à la James Bond posing as the bad guy). When reading a Jack Reacher I always try not to over think it. Lee’s books are every bit as unimportant as Jack Reacher's toothbrushes and shirts. This one tops it all up. One’s Suspension of Disbelief must be at its best this time… Silliness is more pronounced than in the previous books, and I started picking it apart (which I won’t do here, because I don’t want to ruin your potential reading of the book).
What kept me racing from one chapter to the next? Was it because I was on tenterhooks? Was it because I was involved with the narrative? No to all the questions above. There's “something” about Child's prose that makes you rush through it to the next chapter. What happens later on? I usually put the book in the pile for the charity store because I know I’m not reading it again.