Sometimes I am in the mood to read a page-turner – a book that you just can’t put down even though you should sleep before getting up for work the next morning. So it was a joy to discover Lee Child, an author who can make you do this and a long back-catalogue that I look forward to making my way through.
Normally I would never have picked up one of Child’s books because the covers and titles imply they are aimed at men who are into guns. However this podcast had a review of Child’s latest novel, 61 Hours, by two women who both raved about the book being well-written and how much they liked his lead character, Jack Reacher.
Reacher is an ex-military policeman and a loner who doesn’t like to stay in one place or own anv possessions. He may sound like a cliche but I like Reacher’s take on life:
“Just a freak of chance had put him alongside Holly Johnson at the exact time the snatch was going down. He was comfortable with that. He understood freak chances. Life was built out of freak chances, however much people would like to pretend otherwise. And he never wasted time speculating about how things might have been different, if this and if that.”
Holly Johnson is an FBI agent and I also like the fact that in both novels Reacher is attracted to smart, strong women who can take care of themselves :
“She’d blitzed the intelligence tests and the aptitude assessments. ….She was fit and strong, she learned to shoot, she murdered the leadership reaction course, she scored outstanding in the simulated shoot-outs in Hogan’s Alley.”
But the thing I loved most about both books is the intricate plotting as Child constantly winds up the tension. In both cases, I didn’t see the endings coming but then realised the importance of small observations or overheard comments by Reacher and they suddenly made sense – both hallmarks of a really good thriller.
Another being the ability to stop you sleeping because you want to find out what happens – and Lee Child has that in spades.