When reviewing the Jack Reacher novels I believe that you need to write for two different types of readers. There are those who are new to the books and those who are already sold on Lee Child’s hero.
Let us start with those who already know what a Jack Reacher novel is.
The Affair is effectively a prequel and takes you back to 1997 with the tale behind Reacher leaving the army. This story is so much better than the previous couple of his novels released in 2011. Lee Child has written a good old fashioned “who-done-it,” taking the opportunity to fill us in on some of the characters who appear in the other novels.
Child doesn’t write good women characters. They have always just been Reacher’s girls but here he tries to remedy this. Unfortunately he also tries to dial up the sex scenes in typical Reacher fashion and for me this doesn’t really work.
The storyline is good although a little convoluted. There are parts where you can see where he has introduced scenes to just fill in the space without really being essential to the story. However, it works and works well.
The book builds well towards the end. Unfortunately when the end arrives it is almost as if Child has run out of steam and just wants to sign off on the project.
To summarise: If you have already read Lee Child’s work then you will enjoy The Affair. It is a step up from some of his previous ones and opens the door for more novels set in the past. We can expect the next one to deal with rhe death of his brother, Joe.
But what if you are new to Jack Reacher novels?
The novels are all very similar. You can just imagine Lee Child sitting down with a copy of USA Today, looking for tragedies and asking “how would Jack Reacher deal with this?”
He writes in short sentences without complications. Other than Reacher the characters are shallow and the storylines are rarely complicated. But herein lies the attraction. It is as if he found the exact cadence to entrance his readers. They know what is coming and they love it.
I have listened to most of the Reacher novels on audio book. They are read by Jeff Harding, who also narrated the John Connolly novels. His voice is perfect for the stories and the pace doesn’t slacken at all. If you are interested in trying out an audio book then a Jack Reacher novel would be a good place to start.