Night School: Lee Child

I’ve found you have to pace yourself with the Reacher series. Read the series order too quickly and it gets dull. Wait too long and you forget the rhythm. I timed reading this one just right. I was exactly ready for it and Child didn’t disappoint. He got it just right. Goldilocks right.


O’Farrel’s Law: Brian Freemantle

Freemantle is usually a reliably good read, but this one rings false in its portrayal of the psychological makeup and breakdown of supposedly professional assassin. Where is the Muffin Man when you need him?

The Expats: Chris Pavone

Mm, mm, good! A spy thriller in the best tradition of Le Carre and Steinhauer. The tension and plot is almost entirely psychological, with multiple layers of deceit and lying among the characters. There is very little violence and weapons appear only rarely, but the pace and tension crackles.

Reamde: Neil Stephenson

Neil Stephenson must have heard the joke: a priest, rabbi and a minister walk into a bar…

Except in Stephenson’s universe it’s an Ethiopian girl, Russian mercenary, Hungarian computer hacker, Chinese gamer, Idaho survivalists, Muslim jihadists, pot smugglers, game developers, MI6 and CIA spies and Russian mafia who all stumble into a terrorist plot.

If we were back in the bar joke, the entire menagerie would simply walk into the plot. Here, they amble, stroll, sashay, drift and saunter.

Stephenson creates great characters but although a lot happens in the book, it is definitely not, as one reviewer called the book, “fast-paced.”