Book Review: The Affair by Lee Child
Written by Dan Malone
“The Affair” is the 16th book featuring Jack Reacher. If you’ve never heard of Jack Reacher by now, you must have been living under a rock for the past 14 years.
Jack Reacher is the creation of highly successful English author Lee Child. The 6″5 former military cop turned drifter is one of todays moden superheroes. Reacher travels all over America with trouble usually finding him. Although not for long.
In The Affair, we go back in time to just prior to Killing Floor, the very first Reacher novel. Reachers army days are almost up, and this is his last mission which takes place 6 months prior to Killing Floor.
The story starts off simple. A dead woman is found in a small town, and a highly important Military employee may be responsible. The army send in a Military Cop for an official investigation, however they also send Reacher in undercover to find out what’s really going on.
One thing that really stood out for me in this book, is how much Lee Child enjoys writing about Reacher. Often with books featuring the same character, I find that at times the author starts to lose interest, only continuing to write due to the money. It’s very easy for authors to burn out with such a strong demand on their creative year after year.
Yet I just don’t see that with Lee Child. If anything, he is getting more passionate about Jack Reacher as time goes on. Reading through The Affair, what really stuck out to me was how much Lee Child was enjoying writing. His writing style is excellent too; as the books go on, the character has evolved and his invincibility has grown. Yet Child is able to handle it in a fantastic manner.
There’s one part for example, where two guys try to challenge Jack Reacher. He tells them not to bother until they get more guys. They come back with 2 more, and again Reacher sends them on their heels.
Those sequences can be really tricky because it’s easy to go overboard to the point of nauseating; yet Lee Child doesn’t come close to that. They are written extremely well, highly believable, and with just the write sense of humour.
That’s something else I noticed more in The Affair than anything of Childs other books. He’s slowly starting to add more humour into his books. It’s a dry sense of humour that is used sparingly and due to that works really well. It’s unexpected, and often resulted in me laughing out loud while reading.
The story itself is excellent. Lee Child gets a lot of props for “Jack Reacher”, however he also needs those props for writing such a compelling story. This one in particular I really enjoyed, and at the end I was ready to give Child a slow applause.
Around page 100, my brain couldn’t help but try and solve the “whodunnit” based on the little information that had been presented so far. I think this was presented as intentional, because after you think about how it may be, that person is seen as more and more of a suspect by Reacher as the page goes on. Lee Childs connection with his audience and ability to lead them where he wants is fantastic.
The Affair isn’t without faults. The detailed sex scenes got a bit ridiculous, for example. Reacher hadn’t had sex in his prior two adventures, so maybe Lee Child was making up for lost time.
However that is a really trivial complaint. All in all, The Affair is an absolutely fantastic book. I finished it, and immediately wanted to read it again, which is quite possibly one of the highest compliments you can give to a book based on a mystery.