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29 December 2012

Lee Child: The Affair: (Jack Reacher 16)

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Vintage Major Jack Reacher MP
The last few Jack Reacher books seemed to me to be running out of steam because they were becoming a bit repetitive. Many authors who have written several books with the same character try to spice things up by writing a prequel or revisiting an earlier time in the character's career and mostly they fail to achieve their objective. In "The Affair" Lee Child not only succeeds but IMHO serves up one of the best of the Jack Reacher series.

The reason this book works so well is that Child has never really fully explored the background to Reacher leaving the Army and becoming a drifter. This book is very good because it is great vintage Reacher and goes back to the time when he was at the top of his game as a military policeman. Reacher displays all of his great investigative skills, an unbelievable ability defend himself against overwhelming odds and a tenacity to close a case even if it goes against orders by his superiors.

In this book we are introduced to Elizabeth Devereaux, the Sheriff of small town in Mississippi close to a large US Special Forces Base. Devereaux is a stunningly beautiful woman who has recently returned to her home town after several years with the military police of the Marines. She is investigating a brutal murder of a beautiful woman she suspects may have been committed by someone from the Base. Because of the potential impact on the Base, Reacher is sent there undercover, but with her military police background Devereaux soon spots Reacher and they start to look at the case together. As they progress their investigations they become more closely involved.

Lee Child has written a Jack Reacher book with a bit of everything - a murder mystery, military cover-ups, hired militia, corruption at the highest political level and some romance. This is all set against the strange background of a huge freight train that shakes and deafens the small town every midnight.

While it is clear that his superiors are not happy with him, we learn the actual reason why Reacher leaves the Army and becomes a drifter - and it really is something of a surprise.

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