Reach for This One

1216_book-reviewFor those who’ve never heard of author Lee Child or seen the movie Jack Reacher, starring Tom Cruise, it’s time for an update! With the second installment of the Reacher series due to soon drop in cinemas, I decided to pick up Child’s most recent work after a few years’ hiatus.

Make Me is the latest in a long line of novels that stretch back almost two decades to Child’s first book, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Killing Floor. It was here, so many years ago, that we got our first-ever glimpse at the character who was destined to become immortalized on the silver screen.

The character of Jack Reacher personifies a striking combination of Schwarzenegger, Stallone and Willis. He is the archetypal hero and an easy character to like: women want him and men want to be him. Having already read at least fifteen of Child’s novels, I was originally both surprised and disappointed when I saw that Tom Cruise was portraying him, as this was totally different from the image created in my mind. Nonetheless, it was still good to see One Shot turned into a movie. I’m anticipating seeing the second installment, which is based on Never Go Back.

In Child’s latest tale, Reacher finds himself stuck in a remote American town called Mother’s Rest (seemingly for no other reason than he liked the name). There, he winds up helping a former FBI agent solve the case of her missing partner. Ultimately, Reacher’s modest machismo gets to shine through, via a medley of compelling twists and turns. It’s safe to say that Child again successfully delivered another “well, I didn’t see that coming” moment.

I previously went through a phase of binge reading Jack Reacher novels a few years back, but started to feel that they were getting a touch monotonous. Reacher drifts into some new place, meets a damsel in distress, kills the bad guys and saves the day. I mean seriously, how many crazy situations could one guy ever encounter? That said, individually Child’s novels are good reads and well written.

For me, Child’s stand-out book will always be Killing Floor, but at the end of the day, fiction readers will certainly also find it easy to become immersed into Make Me. With its detective story and rom-com elements, coupled with sly humor and traditional, set-piece violence, Child delivers his best psychological work in quite a while, which is sure to leave fans and new-comers, alike, turning page after page until the end. Then, ready to ride all over again.