Thursday, September 23

Persuader - Lee Child

Jack Reacher, former MP turned self-directed trouble shooter, happens to be unloading a van outside a New England college when he witnesses an attempted kidnapping - armed as always, he intervenes, rescuing the anxious target, Richard Beck. Unfortunately, Reacher accidentally shoots a cop in the process, and for the first time needs to lie low out of necessity rather than choice. When the skittish Beck, a survivor of a previous kidnapping in which he lost an ear, insists on being taken home to Maine, Reacher is persuaded by the possibility of a temporary refuge. But he has another agenda entirely, and this apparently coincidental intervention is only the first step in what proves to be one of Reacher's riskiest, most dangerous and most important escapades to date.
The seventh in the best-selling Reacher series, Persuader is engrossing and engagingly twisty. The novels are pure escapism, and to that end they serve their purpose beautifully - the action is relentless and believable within the confines of the genre, the characters are relatively well drawn, and if I felt a little sketchily informed about some of the details I was happy to gloss over them in pursuit of the fast-paced plot and unwinding conclusion. There's a little Reacher back story, and these thinly sown glimpses into his past that build his motivation and character development are always an interesting addition to my mental picture of the man.
There was a, possibly unintentional, light moment near the end, where Reacher's thought of "Can't go round it, can't go over it. Got to go around it" irresistibly and unexpectedly reminded me of Rosen and Oxenbury's children's classic. I was also jolted out of the action at another point:
Her butt looked spectacular in the jeans. I could see the label on the back: Waist 24. Leg 32. That made her inseam five inches short of mine, which I was prepared to accept. But a waist a whole foot smaller than mine was ridiculous. I carry almost no body fat. All I;ve got in there are the necessary organs, tight and dense. She must have had miniature versions. I see a waist like that and all I want to do is span it with my hands and marvel at it. Maybe bury my head somewhere a little higher up. I couldn't tell what that might feel like with her unless he turned around. But I suspected it might feel very nice indeed.
Perhaps - but unless teeny tiny women's jeans are very different than plus-size women's jeans, the size tag is on the inside. Maybe those skinny bitches are happy to show their measurements off!
Those two moment aside, however, and I was fully engaged with Persuader from the opening rescue scene to the final flashback and Reacher's plan to take off, alone again, going wherever the road takes him. My life is significantly encumbered, and I suspect Corinna Lawson's take on why Child has a large female readership is on the money. Sometimes there's nothing better than pure escapism, and you can't get much better than Reacher. - Alex

The Jack Reacher novels
Killing Floor; Die Trying; Tripwire; The Visitor; Echo Burning; Without Fail; Persuader;The Enemy; One Shot;The Hard Way; Bad Luck and Trouble; Nothing to Lose; Gone Tomorrow; 61 Hours; Worth Dying For

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