There is nothing egregiously “bad” about this book; it’s just that there’s nothing “good. Everything here is pedestrian, the author choosing the first readily available cultural and social tropes that come to mind.
If this were an audio book, it’d come with the blurb, “Now available in stereo(type).
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.
Crais’ Elvis Cole and Joe Pike couldn’t be more different. They also couldn’t be more alike. Put them together in the same mystery series, and you’ve got double your trouble. And double your fun. Excellent read.
Child’s “Reacher” novels follow a very specific but successful and entertaining template. Occasionally, he does get some ‘facts’ very wrong, which makes you doubt the veracity of the truth given on other subjects you’re not aware of.
Then, there’s the “Chekhov’s Gun” unnecessary additions, which in this novel is Reacher’s concussion, which plays into both points one and two made here.
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.
Just think. A sixteen-year-old Reacher in New York City, alone, looking for good music and a chance to get lucky. Just think. New York in the middle of the blackout in a heat wave and Son of Sam stalking Reacher and his date as his luck plays out. Just think. Reacher’s sense of chivalry putting him between a tainted FBI agent and the mob leader she’s trying to bring down. Just think. A preternaturally mature Reacher bringing his finely honed sense of honour and inborn confrontation skills into play well before he becomes the man we know form the series. Just think. High Heat. Sucky ending, though.