It was posted on Dorothy L, a terrific loop for “lovers of the mystery genre.”
“I have lost it Lee Child-wise. In THE AFFAIR–the woman undressing Reacher bit by supposedly sensual bit, commenting on his cheap socks–I was laughing like a maniac. Then when they …er, you know…because of a roaring train–I was almost weak with laughter. A clothes dryer maybe–but a train, soot flying? When she said, “Let’s catch the train tonight…” well, I was completely undone. This is parody, right–RIGHT?”
There is no point in reviewing Lee Child.
You know what you are going to get.
The setting changes, the situation changes and in The Affair we are told this is a story from early days of Jack Reacher as the legendary and all-powerful Mr. Fix-It, when his uber-Mojo was in its early stages.
So Reacher is allegedly younger but still, the formula is the formula. We know Reacher must both taunt and battle the enemy forces. We know he will put his fist in a few faces. We know he will bed at least one lady, usually the most mysterious and alluring and most visible one on the radar.
“Then we moved lower.”
“She moaned a little. So did I.”
“Ten amazing minutes, we changed places.”
There’s the toothbrush, the personal upkeep, the clean shirts, the math, the ability to track time without a clock, the lack of wordly possessions.
Reacher is a bad-ass bohemian.
He’s Batman, Bond and Clint Eastwood in “Hang ‘Em High.” He’s the Lone Ranger and Jackie Chan and Buford Pusser. He can’t be intimidated, never flinches and feels cheated if he only gets to take on a handful of punks at once. He kills with his hands.
“He lived for the tactical victory. I lived to piss on the other guy’s grave. Not the same thing. Not the same thing at all.”
(If ever there was a better explanation of a character’s motivation than those few lines, let me know.)
Parody? Of what?
The Reacher novels aren’t parodies, they are carefully defined mystery-thrillers that pack a satisfying wallop of entertainment. Events are fantastic. The enemies are uniformly formidable. Reacher needs no help. We see what he sees until Reacher is already on the move, about to mete out considerable justice before he lets us in on who did what to whom and why.
For consistency book to book, it doesn’t get much better than the Jack Reacher series. The situations change but Jack Reacher does not. Reality is not a factor but it’s Lee Child’s universe and once you know how far it stretches, it feels comfortable.
Jack Reacher lives. This is not a review of The Affair.