If you have been following me for any length of time, you know that I have a serious infatuation with the Jack Reacher series. Or to be more exact, I have an infatuation with the anti-hero Reacher, not the series. I know it is illogical. This is man-fiction. Reacher wanders around with no extra clothing and only a toothbrush, so he probably smells. He has commitment issues.
But he can take down ten guys by himself. He fights for the underdog. He has a soft spot for old women and children. Women fall into bed with him with the curl of a lip, so he must be attractive. It is a fantasy thing.
Therefore, I will forever read these books. I didn't go back and check, but I believe in my last review I expressed some displeasure in the predictability of the plots. Something drastic needs to change pretty soon, because even loyal fans like me are getting restless. Jack needs to get married, or lose a limb, or discover that he has a child. Something major. I knew that the plot of "The Affair" took us back into his past and I got excited. Recently, the Lucas Davenport Prey series tried that tactic, and it left me exhilarated.
Synopsis: It is March 11, 1997. Jack Reacher, an Army MP, is standing in the lobby of the Pentagon, about to enter a meeting that will ultimately end his career and catapult him into a lifetime of the drifting vigilante we know and love. He has just returned from an assignment in Mississippi, where he was to impersonate a civilian to investigate a potential scandal involving three beautiful, murdered women, and a local military base. What he didn't count on was falling in love with the gorgeous, ex-Marine local town sheriff, discovering that sometimes things are rotting from the inside, or developing a taste for diner food and strong coffee.
And so it goes, finally a peek into a past that made Jack Reacher who he is today. He is a little more gullible, a little less hardened and chiseled (but still able to take out an angry mob by himself), and little more willing to give away his heart. In fact, voila! We have sex, quite a bit in fact, all made hotter by some clever timing with a midnight train rolling through town.
My thoughts: This was a wonderful diversion from the same old entertaining smelly butt-kicking wise-cracking evil-military-guy-chasing Jack Reacherness that I'm used to. The genius in a series, I believe, is keeping the protagonist a mystery for as long as possible. And just when things need a shot in the arm, we are given a glimpse; some insight. I loved it when we got to see a younger Lucas Davenport, and I loved this.
What if you have never read a Jack Reacher novel? Why not start here? You can start at his roots, see where he picked up some of his enduring habits, then go back to the beginning and work your way forward. (I worked my way through almost all of them one summer at the beach, prior to blogging. Allow yourself some time - it is pretty difficult to stop.)
If you are a long-time fan, you will get a few geeky thrills from being able to fill in some of the more mysterious and quirky aspects of his personality.
I hesitate to say this, but I'm just going to put it out there. What sets this 15th installment apart from the rest, besides the general Reacher sneak peek, is the sex. While Jack has his exploits over the years, we rarely get the details. Alas, now we have them. All of them, down to buttons and textures and very specific timing with the aforementioned midnight train that shakes the entire room, bed and humans lying on top of it.
The mystery and the action scenes are good too. Exactly what we have come to expect from Mr. Child.
A few words about the audio production: Dick Hill is, and always has been, our narrator for this series. He is the voice of Jack Reacher. If something ever happened to this arrangement, I would not be able to listen to the audios again. Dick always does a wonderful job, but people, he pulled out all the stops for this one. In these sex scenes I was talking about, he was smoking hot. How does a narrator get themselves into that mode? I felt like Dick (or Jack) was having sex in my back seat. I almost had to pull over. Wow.
4.5 out of 5 stars