Port De Soller Mallorca

Port De Soller Mallorca

Monday, 14 May 2012

Book Review: The Affair by Lee Child

You either like the Lee Child character of Jack Reacher or you don't, there really is no middle ground.  And can I just say at the outset, just to get it out of the way, Tom Cruise buying and starring in the movie franchise doesn't matter a jot.  A book is a book is a book, that sometimes gets made into a movie and generally the movie is well below the standard of the book, so people get over it and concentrate on the books and stop bloody whingeing!

Jack Reacher has been wandering around small town America for a couple of years now doing his best to wear out the tarmac of the roads leading into the middle of nowhere, arriving nowhere and finding the locals being bullied. Reacher doesn't like bullies and generally takes on the baddies in defence of the defenceless and cowered locals and he does it so magnificently and with so little effort, that we keep following him around from nowhere to nowhere, stopping occasionally to buy a new shirt and pair of pants; well when your walking and covering the miles that he does the last thing you need as an encumbrance, is a suitcase full of clothes.

The Affair takes us back to 1997 when Reacher was still a Major in the Army as an  MP and takes us back to the final case he worked on, before taking up his peripatetic wanderings through small town America.

1997 and Reacher is called to his boss, Leon Garbers, office. A woman has been Raped, killed and mutilated, her throat slit near an Army base in Carter Crossing, Mississippi.  Reacher is despatched undercover to get close to the local police while another MP investigates the Army side of things at Fort Kelham.  Sent off with half a story and finding that the local Sheriff is an ex Marine MP, Reacher discovers that there has been more than one murder and in fact there have been possible other murders elsewhere that can be linked to the local ones.  The nature of Army bases is that they can have followers who move around Army bases  setting up wherever they are, so they have no idea whether it is a civilian killer or an Army killer, but the underlying message is, 'that the good name of the Army, must be protected!'

As usual Reacher gets to the truth and all questions raised in the story are conclusively answered in the closing pages, including just why Reacher decided it was time to hang up his uniform.

Disillusioned with the Army at the same time that it was downsizing, a less than stellar report from an Army Colonel on his attitude and tactics which would have seen him marking time career wise.  The blackening of innocent peoples reputations by politicians, and the Army, these were all the things that were vaguely referred to in previous story lines, and going back to 1997 gave us the story behind the myth that is Jack Reacher.

Reacher is a killer, but a killer with scruples and a sense of what is morally right and what is not.  He knows that not everyone on the planet is capable of looking after themselves either physically or by engaging the law, and so he is prepared to look out for their interests.  Killing will never be right, but when it is done out of a clear sense of justice that the normal course of the law would not get to, whether it be for a cover up, or lazy and useless police work , he can easily become, judge, jury and executioner , even when it is the Army, Federal or Local  Government, or just pure criminality; he will take them all on....... and I will be there again, when Reacher arrives at the next small 'nowhere' town.

Editing for Kindle /iPad: 5 out of 5
Reading Enjoyment: 5 out of 5
Page length on kindle /iPad: 405
Plot: 5 out of 5
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Lee Child / Jack Reacher can be found here

Footnote:  I love my Kindle but I do wish they would take a leaf out of the Kindle App for iPad and show the book tile and Authors name on each page and more importantly, show the page number as it does when reading through the Kindle iPad app, just saying.


  1. I adore an ethical killer. Despite Tom Cruise, I have to start reading these books.

  2. "Disillusioned with the Army...?" How can that be? ;=)
    Okay, Tom, you're the tilting vote here, and I'll read THE AFFAIR. I was teaching a writing class of high school seniors and asked the students to list their 3 favorite e-books in general, their 3 favorite genre books that they REALLY liked reading, and their 3 favorite non-school-related nonfiction books (we divided them into groups based on their answers, and a great writing activity followed. Five of the students (two female) chose THE AFFAIR. You're in good company--er, they're in good company agreeing with you. Oh, and 3 of the 5 students have one parent in the Army, and the character's attitude affected their connection with the character.
    You've convinced me, Tom. I'll read it.

  3. Julia / Marylin

    They are a good read and while the concept of one guy wandering about from town to town and sorting out the baddies is not new , it doesn't seem to get 'old'!

    Disillusionment, I'm afraid Marylin takes many forms. In the end I too felt that way just before I left, and so with some other circumstances hovering, decided to call it a day. With hindsight and age sometimes a little wisdom window is opened and you look back at those decisions and think, 'I may just have been wrong' but I suppose I am not alone in that....

    Anyway, far to maudlin, yes your students are quite correct, and so were you the first time round 'I'm in good company with them and of course you and Jules.

    I know a lot of woman who like the Reacher books and when I ask why..... I think it is devilish good looks and and toughness

    With me I like the thought of a 'good guy' who can take pain and dish it out as well and who will always stand up to the A** holes of the world, wherever he finds them... and Child writes in a good flowing style with short chapters that keeps you wanting to turn thr page to find out what happens next

  4. one day I'll get around to reading these, you make a compelling case Tom and write an interesting review!

  5. Well thank you Morig and my sincerest apologies for not replying a long time ago, don't know why that was xx


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