Another of the Jack Reacher series from author Lee Child. The Affair (ISBN 978-0-553-82551-0, Bantam Books, 2012) is the 16th of the series, and hero Jack Reacher has an army of fans. To make the persona even more understandable, Lee Childs includes Jack Reacher’s CV at the front of the book, and he is a 6’5″ giant, explaining his ability to look after himself in the combat situation.
In my mind, Lee Child succeeds in this genre, despite rows and rows of similar books on the shelves. He writes with authority, and backs it up with extreme details. Did you know there was a NATO bullet, and this fact can be deduced from the weight of the shell.
Child himself was originally from the UK, but moved to the US. His books sell over 50 million copies and have been translated into 40 languages, showing the market for thrillers is rather enormous.
In this book, Child takes you through the Pentagon, in the guise of Jack Reacher, who is studying the security guards with minute precision. The type of boots worn can tell Reacher whether these are part-timers who work elsewhere, or the on-board highly trained professionals.
The plot revolves around a mysterious death of a young woman, found dumped in an alleyway with her throat cut. The township is just outside the perimeter of an army training camp, and the local police are sure the killer is an army man, whilst the army central command are praying for it to be one of the locals. Jack Reacher is sent in undercover to find the truth, but if it looks bad for the army, he is expected to bury the evidence. There will be those who would believe that such behavior would not be condoned by the army brass. And then there are those who will believe any far-fetched story involving the Pentagon will be 100 percent true.
As Jack Reacher delves into the circumstances surrounding the murder, he turns up more murders with the same M.O., by working in collaboration with the local chief of police, a rather beautiful woman and an ex-military Marine, so they do speak the same language.
As the investigation progresses, Reacher finds himself rather caught on the horns of an ethical dilemma. One plan of action will help the local police, another tack will exonerate the US Army, but the sticking point is Jack Reacher’s rather old-fashioned championing of what is “right”, even if it is “wrong”, and the fall-out likely to take Reacher down with it.
Lee Child has a droll sense of humor, which does come through in the book. “She asked for my help. ‘She called you?’ No, we had a séance.”
Jack Reacher does come across as having a rather paranoid personality, but always remember, just because you may be paranoid does not mean that someone isn’t out to get you!
At B. 385 on the Bookazine shelves, this is an inexpensive thriller. If you have enjoyed Lee Child before, you will really appreciate this one. If you have not read of Jack Reacher’s exploits, then you should, today!