Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Latest Jack Reacher - Personal by Lee Child

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the latest Jack Reacher novel, Personal.

So when it came out in September this year I downloaded it pronto.

After a bit of dip, I thought Lee Child was getting his mojo back and the last one Never Go Back was pretty good. Not quite back to earlier form, but that’s to be expected after eighteen books.

Unfortunately Personal left me very disappointed and a little bit bewildered.

After a strong start, with the premise being that Reacher is needed by the US Government on an overseas ‘off the book’ job, the story totally peters out.

We find Reacher jet setting off to France and England with a cast of international spies, assassins and assorted shadowy government types.  

Sounds exciting and the all the right ingredients for a great thriller right?

That is why I'm so disappointed because all the elements are there and the first few chapters set everything up so well.

But then the story becomes really flat and sort of meanders to a rather desultory ending.  

While the international element was initially interesting it just wasn't sustained throughout the novel.

Plus the secondary characters were all under developed and I was a bit surprised at just how quickly the story was neatly wrapped up.

Reacher pretty much deals with the main bad guy in one page or so and by the end of the major twist reveal had me thinking ‘meh’.

But where the story really falls flat is Reacher’s partner, a young analyst named Casey Nice who is in the field for the first time. 

Reacher plays the mentor role her and it just doesn't work at all. In fact, I found Casey Nice an extremely boring and very annoying character. 

She constantly needed reassurance from Reacher that she was doing okay and it really slowed the story down.

I don’t need to see this ‘caring’ ‘sharing’ side of Reacher, I just want to see him kick butt! 

This is probably the second time Child has tried to put Reacher in a broader environment and it doesn't really work again.

The best Reacher novels are what I call the "local stories", where he is in a little US backwater town battling for the underdog.

So here’s hoping, the next one is set in a small American town.