Posted in Books

Book Review: The Affair (Jack Reacher #16), by Lee Child

About the author:
Lee Child is the nom-de-plume of British thriller writer Jim Grant. Child’s novels follow the adventures of an American military cop Jack Reacher who is a wanderer.

The book in a nutshell:
So this story is way before the setting for the first Reacher novel, Killing Floor, okay? Our hero is still in the army, and he’s taking orders from those higher up in his chain of command! Those of you who know our hero Jack Reacher would be surprised at that part, since we’ve not seen him take commands from anyone. We’re more used to seeing him break orders, and bones (more often than not).

In the town of Carter Crossing, Mississippi, a woman is found dead. That’s all okay, local police might handle it, but then comes the catch: the town is right nearby an army station, Fort Kelham. The soldiers there when on break, come to the bar in the town for a cooling off… and one of them is a suspect in the murder. That ain’t cool with the Army supremos, who send Reacher undercover to the town to snoop into the local investigation. Enter the chief sheriff, the beautiful lady Elizabeth Devereaux (no surprises here… where Reacher goes, a pretty dame follows more often than not!) She’s also a Marine btw! And she gets one over on Reacher and Neagley in their deductions and plans… (not very often you get someone outthinking that duo!)

While Reacher snoops in the investigation, and gains Elizabeth’s trust, the army also sends another MP Major Munro to keep an eye on the base. The story hinges around the investigation, with some Reacher on Devereaux action as well. We see an appearance from Reacher’s known associates, General Garber, Stan Lowrey and Frances Neagley. You see Reacher breaking orders, and also bones. And taking things personally of course. You can’t expect Reacher to be Reacher and not take things personally!

What I loved:
This is an end-to-end thriller. It’s like an investigative thriller, not the Shane Schofield types where there are global villains and such. I loved the idea of going back in time. This is the 16th novel of the series, and we go back to way before the series began. You get to know why Reacher left the army, and that Reacher was his usual uncaring self even back then. You see a wonderful new character in Elizabeth Devereaux. If you know Reacher novels, then the romance scenes are quite expected – not let down in that part either. You see Reacher’s talent for analyzing things quickly, and forming his opinions. There is a twist, with more murders in the weaving.

What I felt lacked:
I thought if Reacher is still in the Army, he might not be completely a drifter. So the no suitcase and clothes thing in this novel didn’t make as much sense as it does in prior novels. Other than this, nothing to fault.

Closing thoughts:
No doubts on Child’s ability to weave thrillers. If Ken Follett means what he says on the cover page, then yes, even I agree. Reacher series is one of the best in thrillers, presently and in recent times. Another brilliant novel.

Rated a 9/10
Rated a 9/10

Book details:
Title: The Affair
Author: Lee Child
ISBN: 9780553825510
Genre: Thriller
Publishers: Bantam Books
Price: Rs. 350
Pages: 528


This book was given to me for review by Random House India. This is not a paid review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.

Shared with the Mixed Variety Challenge.

(March 13th, 2013)