You gotta love Lee Child & Jack Reacher too. Child is a ballsy Brit, straight out of England’s Industrial heartland, the City of Coventry to be precise, which is like Detroit, but without the nice weather, fine cuisine, or tourist attractions.
Child, born Jim Grant, worked on big time English TV shows, like Brideshead Revisited, and crime classics such as Prime Suspect and Cracker. A victim of Corporate restructuring, he relocated, with his American wife to New York, to become a Crime writer. Crimezine applauds his chutzpa, for making as bold a move as it is possible for any man to make.
Fortunately, Child had a winning idea, and that idea was Jack Reacher. Tall guy Child was told by his wife Jane while shopping one day: If this crime writing thing doesn’t take off you can always get a job as a Reacher— reaching things down for people from the top shelves of the market. And thus a crime fiction legend was born.
So who is Jack Reacher? Reacher is a hard-hitting tough guy drifter, a former U.S. Army MP who travels around the United States, solving the problems that small town Joe’s suffer from: murder? corruption? Diabolical conspiracy of any kind? Reacher is your man, he has a nose for these things. He is like Kung Fu– The Pale Rider or Shane, whenever a town is in trouble Reacher is there in a timely fashion. In addition, there is always a sexy love interest on hand, for our hard knuckled hero to console. Child taps into the classic formula: the omnipotent loner righting wrongs, with a side order of sex to go.
The Child formula is a winning one. After 16 novels, the Reacher juggernaut is still rolling strong. Reacher has been described as a detective who commits more homicides than he solves, an endearing trait in these times of touchy-feely characterization and fluffy family values backstory.
But wait! what’s this? Reacher has a backstory too? The latest Reacher novel is The Affair, and there are dark goings on in Carter Crossing Mississippi—murder, rape, mutilation—the son of a powerful US Senator involved? A conspiracy of cover up by the US Army? In this novel Child delivers us back to the point where Reacher became a drifter. There is bone crunching action and tough-guy histronics galore in this latest installment of the series, but Reachers square jawed appeal is universal, and if you are a fan of fast paced crime fiction, then The Affair by Lee Child is the book for you.
Title: The Affair
Publisher: Bantam Press
Hardback: 427 pages