Author : Lee Child

Release Date : April 26, 2005

According to a guy I met at the bookstore, I’d be doing myself a favor by picking up this book.  Well, why not, I said to myself, it’s on sale and it’s got all these glowing reviews by Newsweek, New York Times, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times,…

I was sadly disappointed.  The book did not live up to the hype.  Maybe I was just too ill (had a fever at the time I was reading it) to appreciate it or I was expecting too much from it.

I liked the beginning pages, though.  It was the middle part—where the hero, Reacher and his lieutenant, Summer, investigates the crimes — that left me flat and bored.

I had to read on though, because the good part might just be toward the end.  I was, in part, right. The end was a surprise as the hero, Reacher, does something I never expected a hero to do.  So, that was OK.

But overall, the characters were all too remote —so stingy with emotions.  It’s as if they actually reveled in their stoicism.  Maybe the author has this “macho thing”.   For instance, Reacher and Summer have sexual relations in the story but as the case closes, Reacher never sees nor hears from her again? Huh? What ever happened to cellphones and e-mails?  It’s not as if the story was set in the 50’s.

Oh well, the book was not a total waste of time.  The author peppers it with interesting bits of trivia on weapons, tanks, etc.   These made up for the book’s rather dull characters.

Entertainment Weekly commented, “[Child] emerges as a worthy successor to Tom Clancy. ”  I’ve read Tom Clancy and enjoyed him immensely.  I don’t think Lee Child’s style comes very close to Tom Clancy’s power to thrill.  But then, this is the first novel I’ve read by this author.  So perhaps his other lauded work, The Persuader, might just get me to change my mind.

My Mark : Mediocre

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