Tuesday, August 31

The Hard Way - Lee Child

Former MP Jack Reacher lives in the moment, undistracted by possessions, relationships or responsibilities. Apart from money in the bank and the clothes on his back he owns nothing, and he won't even commit to a china cup when he drinks coffee in a New York café. gazing out the window, alert as always to every detail, Reacher notices a man climb into an expensive car. taking another cup at the same café the next night, Reacher is approached by a mysterious man interested in witnesses - when Reacher is able to describe the man and the car, down to the license plate, he's escorted to the home of Edward Lane. Employer of mercenaries, Lane's wife has been kidnapped, and he want Reacher to help track down the abductors. But int he process Reacher discovers a couple of facts about his new employer - facts that cause him to start his own investigation, which takes him to the English countryside, and the kind of action he thought he'd left behind in the service.
The Hard Way is Reacher's tenth outing, and my fourth - he's a little less cynical here than in the earlier novels, but just as decisive, action-packed and free. There isn't much I can add, having only recently written a review, about the third Reacher novel, Tripwire - it captures all the key components, which change only in the narrative details but not in the substance. All of which makes it sound as though The Hard Way is a poor knock-off of its owner's former creation. That impression does the author and the novel a disservice, but it's certainly true to say that all the Reacher novel's I've read thus far are more strongly short term enjoyment than food for long term thought, and all the more enjoyable for that. - Alex

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