So I’m sorry to say I have never read a Lee child book before. If I had, I would have devoured each book like a lion tearing through raw animal flesh. Sorry for the bloody imagery. I had no preconceived notions about this book. I’ve seen Lee Child pop up on Joe Konrath’s blog called A Newbies Guide to Publishing, although I can’t remember the post. He was battling with their group over something. Not sure if it was about sock puppets or what.
Anyway, I was at Walmart, that huge conglomeration of Chinese made fluff, and I was wandering through the only isle of American made stuff, (books!) that my eyes fell upon the book. No, it wasn’t the snarky cover with Tom Cruise on the front. The cover had a bloody hand on both the front and back covers. Rather amateurish, but hey, at that point I wasn’t judging the book by its cover. I read the description. It sounded interesting. Then I started reading the forward, written by the author. Believe it or not, that’s what hooked me. We have been in similar situation. He was unemployed at the time of its writing, it being his first published novel, so I could definitely relate. I put it in the shopping cart and intended to put it down somewhere between the coffee isle and the mixed nuts.
I some how made it to the car with it still in my bags. I got home, devoured it in a mere 4 hours. (Not all in one sitting of course, I’m a busy guy.)
The story starts out with this guy, Jack Reacher, getting arrested in some small town as he’s sitting down for some eggs and toast at a small diner. At this point I’m probably supposed to say something flowery, but I won’t. Lee’s sentences are clipped. Short, and too the point. Jack tells the story, and he doesn’t bother over describing anything. It felt almost as if, in reading, Jack was recounting a story over a ham and cheese sandwich. Or maybe a rare steak and a beer. One thing I found in the writing was how real everything felt. Jack doesn’t punch people in the face. He knows he might break his hands. Instead he head-butts them. The details Lee Child decides to include don’t feel overdone, like he’s feeding too much information to you just because he knows it. The book is visceral without being overly descriptive, in a way that some horror writers are. There’s my quote: “The book is visceral.”
The book had a great ending, which I won’t spoil for you. But if you like action in your books, some whodunit, and stories where the good guy wins, this is definitely for you. I’d give it an easy 4 1/2 stars.