Review: The Affair – Lee Child

4 of 5 stars

Series: Jack Reacher 16

My version: Paperback
Fiction Thriller
Bantam Books

March 1997. A woman has her throat cut behind a bar in Mississippi. Just down the road is a big army base. Is the murderer a local guy – or is he a soldier?

Jack Reacher, still a major in the military police, is sent in undercover. The county sheriff is a former U.S. Marine – and a stunningly beautiful woman. Her investigation is going nowhere. Is the Pentagon stonewalling her? Or doesn’t she really want to find the killer?

Set just six months before the opening of Killing Floor, The Affair marks a turning point in Reacher’s life. If he does what the army wants, will he be able to live with himself? And if he doesn’t, will the Army be able to live with him?

Well, maybe most noticeable for Reacher getting a bit. As I’ve read up to about half way through the latest, I can say it’s the start of a hot streak for the Reach. Lucky the ‘Marine‘ in question, is a woman, really. Anyway, we’ve got a very long way back, in terms of Reacher’s time-line. In relation to where he is now, in 2017, that is. If he were real…well, you get the picture. This is as the blurb says, set just before the start of the post-Army Reacher. Thing is, while the back of the book trumpets ‘the story of how Reacher became Reacher,’ it doesn’t. It just shows that Reacher always has been Reacher. The Reacher out of the Army, isn’t a whole lot different from Reacher the MP in the Army.

The Affair also settles us well into the formula of not very much happening for the first half of the book, that has a whole lot of relevance to the solving of the case later on. You are, of course, on the lookout for clues that could solve it, but then, so is Reacher. He’s not ahead of us at any point that I could see. And the breakthrough isn’t wholly dependent on Reacher being Reacher either. I’d love to be completely flat-footed by a deduction, or a link made, or a surprise. That’s what’s missing really.

However, it’s a pretty good one all in all. I could have suggested a couple of ways to have made it really spring some surprises, were I his editor, but I was pretty happy with all the build-up and the characters and the execution. If there’s one thing to be said about Lee Child and Reacher, they don’t let you down.

You can buy The Affair from

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