Ann Collette's Reviews > The Affair

The Affair by Lee Child
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's review
Nov 29, 2011

really liked it
Read in November, 2011

His writing can be repetitive, but Lee Child knows how to structure and pace a book; combine that technical knowledge with a strong plot and this book is hard to put down. The tough, super-competent Jack Reacher is a super-hero fantasy character, of course, along the lines of Jason Bourne. What makes hin engaging is the purity of his ethcial code; the reader can always trust him to be one step ahead of the other manipulative characters in the book (not to mention the reader). And the reader can trust the author to pull off a perfect balancing act in this novel, where one minute you're absolutely positive who the murderer is and the next minute you'd swear it's someone else. In this novel, Child goes back to Reacher's roots and shows him still in the army, and still believing in its' code of conduct. Sent to a small Mississippi town that caters to a nearby army base, Reacher's assignment is to solve the murder of a beautiful young white woman. Once there, he discovers two other beautiful young women, both of whom were black, were murdered some months before the white woman was. Reacher teams up with yet another beautiful woman (for a small town, it sure has produced its share of beauties!)who happens to be the local sherriff also looking to solve the murders. Child's clever sleight of hand and the uncertainty he fills almost every page with keeps the reader hooked until the very end, where the truth of what happened exposes military corruption that's not the least difficult to believe (especially since Child has taken care to scatter numerous other incidents of such behavior throughout the book). Both the resolution of the murders, and what Reacher has to do to make things right with himself and those he's come to care about in the small town, sit right with the reader who won't feel ripped off by one of those phony, non-organic endings and who can now understand how Reacher became the hard ass readers depend on to do the right thing, even when legally, it's anything but right, in this series.

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