Today I am reviewing Personal by Lee Child.
About the book (from the publisher): You can leave the army, but the army doesn’t leave you. Not always. Not completely, notes Jack Reacher – and sure enough, the retired military cop is soon pulled back into service. This time, for the State Department and the CIA.
Someone has taken a shot at the president of France in the City of Light. The bullet was American. The distance between the gunman and the target was exceptional. How many snipers can shoot from three-quarters of a mile with total confidence? Very few, but John Kott – an American marksmen gone bad – is one of them. And after fifteen years in prison, he’s out, unaccounted for, and likely drawing a bead on a G8 summit packed with enough world leaders to tempt any assassin.
If anyone can stop Kott, it’s the man who beat him before: Reacher. And though he’d rather work alone, Reacher is teamed with Casey Nice, a rookie analyst who keeps her cool with Zoloft. But they’re facing a rough road, full of ruthless mobsters, Serbian thugs, close calls, double-crosses – and no back-up if they’re caught. All the while Reacher can’t stop thinking about the woman he once failed to save. But he won’t let that happen again. Not this time. Not Nice.
Reacher never gets too close. But now a killer is making it personal.
My review: In the interest of complete transparency, let me tell you that I am a huge fan of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series. I’ve read every one of the books, in order, and I’ve come to expect nothing but excellence from Child. This newest Jack Reacher adventure didn’t disappoint.
What makes these thrillers so compelling, so addictive? Child has created a character in Jack Reacher who lives life on his own terms. He travels from place to place, toothbrush in his pocket, with only the clothes on his back – that is, until he buys something new out of necessity and sheds the old clothes. That’s it. He has a past, as a military cop, and that past invariably comes into play in each novel. He’s big. He’s intimidating. He does his best to answer to no one and to avoid conflict. But it finds him, of course. Reacher is smart. He’s analytic. He can figure out the trajectory of a bullet or the size of a threatening presence and the number of feet between the threat and him and quickly figure out how to deck him. That analytical mind serves him well as he battles all sorts of bad guys. When the mystery is solved, he is once more on his way to another destination, always hopeful that he can live his life in peace.
Child is an incredibly talented writer. His plots are complex with an enormous amount of detail that is never boring, always compelling. He knows how to throw in a twist that will knock your socks off. I finish a book like this one, and sit here marveling at how he did it. I find myself going back through the story in my head, thinking of moments that seemed inconsequential at the time, but, put together, ended up being subtle clues for the eventual resolution of the plot. It makes me want to grab the book and reread it immediately, because it’s such fun to see how he weaves all these seemingly disparate strands together. He stumps me every time and I love that.
This one, as are all Child’s novels, is a real page turner. Make a pot of coffee or tea. Turn off the phone. Tell everyone you are not to be disturbed. Because Jack Reacher is back.
About the author: Lee Child is the #1 internationally best-selling author of the Jack Reacher thrillers. His debut, Killing Floor, won both the Anthony and the Barry Awards for Best First Mystery, and The Enemy won both the Barry and the Nero awards for Best Novel. Child, a native of England and a former television director, lives in New York City and the south of France with his wife and daughter.
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I purchased this book.