The Affair, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Featuring Jack Reacher, hero of the new blockbuster movie starring Tom Cruise, in his coolest, sexiest, punch-packing thriller yet 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 career.

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?




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Better than the last few, but not yet back at the gripping page-turning heights of the first. Even though this is 16 books into the series, it is perfectly readable as a standalone. As it happens there are references to characters that have appeared in other books (almost for the first time in the series!) but there's no particular importance to them, they're just people Reacher knows.This is set back in '97 when Reacher is still in the Army - a Major in the Military Police. He instructed to go to a small country town near a local base. There have been some disturbing homicide reports and the Army wants to make sure no bad publicity gets out. If it was an Army person then it's to be handled descretely. Reacher's job is not on the base, other MPs are dealing with that, he is to liases with local law enforcement and ensure they're on the ball. The case is particularly delicate because a Senetor's son is one of the captains on the base, and being a bigshot ladies man is one of the prime suspects. Reacher quickly ascertains that the local sherif if a beautiful woman who was ex-marine MP - pretty much his equal. But every woman falls into his arms and within a day they're shagging like bunnies.All which was quite entertaining. After that it laspses back into the generic Reacher, with some of the faults from the later books. There's too much coincidence - Reacher happening to walk past the Sherif's former town house and discovering incriminating evidence. He was just cutting down a conveninent street, it asks too much of the reader to believ that 1 street in 1000 he picks would be the one with the details in it. Loose ends don't get tidyied up properly, there are no recriminations for shooting people etc etc. I think in the early stories it wasn't so obviously set in in an america where these things matter, more like Modern Wild West, but by now the whole basis of the novels is that they are contemporary. Hence it does matter. Also this is very much told retrospectively - how I got to be where I am today, which takes any of the mortal danger tension out of the equation. Whether it's six street punks coming for him or a bunch of annoyed Rangers (a unit that Reacher seems to have perenial problems with) we know he survives uninjured. One of Lee Child's tricks of the trade is a fairly meticulous detailed descriptions of a few items. When it works it's great this time the details again flow somewhere inbetween, they're slightly jarring whereas in the first books of the series they were seemless. But in the worst they were turgid lumps, and they aren't that bad either.Gripping aside it was fun, the plot twists were sufficiently devious. You could see how the evidence could be read weither way (is the perpetrator an army man or town one - and who?) but when one piece of evidence pointed one way, the next would lean the other. In the end I was disappointed with violence solves eveything approach - although that is classic Reacher - in that the consequences of violence weren't fully explored.

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