Saturday 28 March 2015

REVIEW: Personal by Lee Child

Personal (Jack Reacher, #19)Personal by Lee Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As someone who has read all of Reacher's adventures to date I would class this book as a classic Reacher romp. It is not the best, nor the worst of Lee Child's works. Interestingly, it was an easier read than some of the more recent books because, for no reason I know of, Child has decided to go back to Reacher's roots and write this one in first person. It works well and I have always pined for the first person perspective of Killing Floor. It gives an immediacy to the story-telling that goes well with the almost total lack of internal dialogue Reacher has. His thoughts, as usual, only really focus on the nuts and bolts of how things work and how to beat his enemies. Is he a psychopath? A sociopath? Perhaps both? When reading these books the most important thing is not to probe too deeply into either the characterisation or the plot. Neither really stand up to hard scrutiny, but Child does tell a ripping yarn full of technology, espionage, violence and wise-cracks.

In this book, Child manages to steer away from some of the tropes that he has resorted to in most of the previous novels, but he has also made some real clangers in terms of cultural details. It's funny that Child is from England, as he has clearly been living so long in the States now that he is not au fait with all the intricacies of English life. I won't go into details here, but there is mention of buying burner phones in London that was blatantly not true to life.

Overall, a page-turning, unputdownable thriller, starring the inimitable Jack Reacher (not Tom Cruise!).

4.5 stars.

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