32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
PERSUADER, the seventh installment of Lee Child's Jack Reacher series, is perhaps the best so far.
On a Boston sidewalk, Reacher almost collides with a man shot three times - including twice in the head - and pitched off a cliff into the Pacific ten years before. Having a former colleague in the Military Police put a trace on the man's license plate brings the Drug Enforcement Agency to Jack's door. And what might your interest be, sir? Reacher, is it?
Jack, a former Army MP major that now wanders the United States as a near-vagrant always on the lookout for wrongs to rectify, finds himself aiding the Feds as he goes undercover to penetrate a fortified mansion on an isolated headland on Maine's wild coast. The DEA suspects that the mansion's owner, Zachary Beck, is using his importing business to bring in something other than Oriental floor coverings. And Beck apparently has a connection to Reacher's sidewalk ghost. Jack doesn't care about Beck or his rugs, but does have another old score to settle once and for all. And this time he going to get it right, or die trying.
The plot of PERSUADER includes the first time I can recall Jack feeling fear. Well, not fear maybe, but at least apprehension. Beck's gatekeeper, Paulie, is six inches taller, ten inches wider across the shoulders, and two hundred pounds heavier than our hero. Paulie's arms are bigger than Jack's legs. And he's surprisingly quick. Both you and Reacher know that, at some point, he's going to have to fight this monster. From Jack's point of view, that's going to be the dodgy bit. The reader savors the expectation.
Jack's my favorite Loner and Tough Guy in the Trashy Literature genre. But, his habitual physical impregnability becomes almost monotonous. So, the fact that Reacher's life comes within a gossamer thread of being extinguished more than once in this thriller is refreshing. Now that his vulnerability has been established, I look forward more than ever to Child's next volume.
Part of Jack's allure is that there's a hint of dysfunctionality to his personality. In PERSUADER, the reader learns that during Reacher's time in the service as an Army officer, he owned no civilian clothes. In an earlier book, it's revealed that Jack doesn't even know how to iron a shirt. Child's hero has some serious issues, which I hope someday the author will explore.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2007
I've read a few of the Reacher books, but I always prefer the ones written in the first person. I have no idea why this is...
The first chapter of this book (deliberately) misleads the reader, and then after that, everything is explained in the subsequent chapter(s). All very cleverly done, by the way.
The author then creates a very realistic impression of the main location where the story is set. A big house by the ocean. The characters also add to that realism. You could even argue that the location is an extra character in itself.
For me, this story is up there with my favourite book of the series (Killing Floor). I doubt you will be disappointed....
98 of 101 people found the following review helpful
on 15 December 2007
The characters are all well-developed and believable with Lee's trademark
strong women adding special dynamics to this story. Combined with an unusually twisted plot, it is probably one of Lee's best books yet. Written in the first person, Jack Reacher goes undercover, partly to help Duffy, a DEA agent chasing a major drug dealer in Maine, but mostly to try to find an old enemy he left for dead ten years ago while still in the army, an enemy who now seems to be associated with the dealer.
Reacher's motive is personal: unfinished business. Duffy's motive is personal: she sent a female agent in after being pulled from the case, and has lost contact with her. Everything is very off-the-record. It is a personal fight, and Reacher makes even more personal enemies with some spectacularly unsavory characters along the way. Expect some very dirty fights. The first person form does give a unique insight into the Reacher character and seems to work well, though I personally think Lee Child handles the third person better. The sentences do get very short, giving an almost staccato feel to parts of the story. Probably how Reacher is supposed to think, but at times the lack of rhythm makes the reading harder than it needs to be.
The characters are great. Duffy is a particularly fine portrait, and Dominique Kohl, the investigator in the original case ten years ago, is lovingly sketched. As usual, Lee excels in strong women. The weaker women are less convincing: Elizabeth Beck, the long-suffering wife of the drug dealer, is a good enough effort while the other women (e.g. Teresa Justice) are barely developed beyond their names!!! I would also recommend reading Tino Georgiou's masterpiece--The Fates--if you haven't read it yet.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 19 October 2006
Lee Child is one of those authors that I have seen around but not read. He seems almost too popular to me so his book must be middle of the road. How wrong was I. 'Persuader' is the 7th book in the Jack Reacher series and if the rest are like this, I can't wait.
Jack Reacher is an ex-Military Police officer who now moves around America working on covert cases for different departments. When he stumbles across a man he thought was dead he is forced to investigate the mystery. The case will lead him to missing agents, gun battles and fist fights with steroid bound henchmen. What more could you possibly ask for?
The plot is fast and the action is great. The characters are well written and Reacher comes across as sympathetic but very dangerous. The only misgiving I have is that the ending, like in so many books, is not of the highest standard.
People have mentioned that this is not the best that Lee Child has to offer so, in that case, his best must be excellent. I recommend this novel to fans of action books and crime thrillers. It's violent but the story is strong enough to warrant this.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2003
Persuader, is a powerful thriller, the latest in the Jack Reacher series. After the surprise opening, Jack finds himself on a mission. His task is to infiltrate and become an undercover agent, in the castle like home of drug baron, Zachary Beck. But it is not just the mission which is motivating Jack. It is almost as if a ghost from the past has reached out to him, with his one brief glimpse, of a man in Boston - Francis Xavier Quinn. A man whom Jack had been certain he had killed ten years ago. The events of this initial and extraordinary confrontation create a strong counter plot. Adding yet another layer of tension, intrigue and suspense enhancing the twists and turns, of an already pulsating main story line.
Throughout the novel, the characters remain clearly defined. The lingering romance ensuing between Jack, and DEA Agent, Susan Duffy, and his ongoing concern for her throughout the story, gives us yet another insight into the gritty, tough character of Jack. Creating another interesting layer of perception, which in no way interferes with the strength of the action. Lee snaps off his words like pistol shots, and Persuader takes off running, the pace holding right to the final nail biting pages. Edge of the seat, hold your breath suspense, combined with a confrontation with a killer, who is in every way as formidable as an enraged elephant, leads to the thrill laden climax and it is one that demands to be read in one sitting. With Persuader, there is no other way.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
I've been a Reacher fan ever since The Killing Floor (still his best, by the way) but what is particularly good is that Child is writing in the first person again. Reacher is much more impressive when not being droooled over by the author as a superman - smarter, funnier and more suspenseful when allowed to think for us instead of being observed.
This has a really clever opening, in which you think he's come apart - he kills two bodyguards plus a cop - in foiling a kidnap attempt on a student. But it turns out to be a way into the house of a criminal, who can lead to someone Reacher has his own reasons for wanting to terminate. The tension and violence are nail-biting, there's the usual romantic stuff (I rather wish he'd dispense with that, his female admirers know by now he's ace at everything and I'd far rather have Reacher outwitting the bad guys) and a humdinger of a climax. One day he'll no doubt be played by "The Rock", who seems made for this part - if ever a series cried out to be filmed, this is it. Great for beach-reading or insomniacs. Not great if you want to get to sleep.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 September 2012
(this review might contain spoilers)
From the beginning of my "exploration" of Lee Child's Reacher series I've decided to read the books in the strict chronological order. So this is my 7th novel and I think that I have a pretty good idea of both the character's development and the writer's style.
I must say I like a lot of things in these stories:
First, their originality. They are all action thrillers of course but they are also pretty unique and different from each other. "The Persuader" is no exception.
Second, the variety of the locations of the stories. Until now we had Georgia, New York City, Oregon, Montana, Washington, Texas and now Portland, Maine.
Third, Child's knowledge of guns and the way American government agencies work (not bad for a guy who until 1997-98 was living in the UK). We've had, police, army, FBI and now the DEA.
But there are also some downsides.
First of all, the actual writing. Child began his stories writing in a very elaborate and complicated style. For the first 4 novels, we had of course Reacher's POV but we had also small chapters that gave different and sometimes conflicting views of the story. They all came together in the final "scenes" (that seemed minutely and painstakingly planned in advance). I really liked this setup, although it always kept me second-guessing myself. Then, beginning with "Echo Burning" the stories became way more straightforward and direct. We got only Reacher's POV and nothing more, no other aspect of the story. This was good for a novel maybe, but it continued from then on and I don't like it because I think it "banalises" the story.
Then, we have the women of the novels. I mean, I'll buy everything that Child throws at me, that Reacher is almost a superhero, that he knows everything there is to be known about guns and human behavior, that he's smart and cool as hell but the fact that always the second most important person of the story is a woman that turns out to be an Uma Thurman or an Eva Longoria lookalike (and 6 out of 7 times ends up having sex with Reacher) is a little difficult to stomach. I know these books are not Nobel winner material but at least vary a little, please...
"The Persuader" is a typical example of both downsides as everything happens according to the formula established previously. Yes, Reacher feels somewhat *afraid* for the first time, but c'mon this is Reacher, you think that'll stop him?
Anyway this novel sinks more into run-of-the-mill begging-to-be-made-into-a-movie territory than I would like it to. I'll continue the series but if "The Enemy" is again like that...
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 26 April 2009
Child is back on form with 'Persuader', and I agree with all the reviews here: definitely his best book to date.
The chemistry between Jack and the other characters, as well as all the small details and first-person narrative makes this a joy to read.
And the fight scene which has you on the edge of your seat, this time Jack seems to have well and truly met his match!
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2003
Persuader – Lee Child
Jack’s back and he’s badder than ever. Lee Child has once again proven his now well established mantle position in the mystery thriller genre with the new Jack Reacher novel – Persuader.
Beginning with a shoot-out rescue of a frightened schoolboy, Reacher foils an apparent kidnap attempt on the son of a wealthy rug importer. Reluctantly, Reacher takes the boy home to the safety of his parents, where all is not what it seems.
Tasked by a government agency and haunted by a failing in his MP years of old Reacher must uncover the truth of the mystery house, it’s occupants, their colleagues and at the same time save the innocent victims. No problem to our Jack!
Going back to first person point of view (for the first time since the first Jack Reacher novel – Killing Floor), in book 7 Lee Child also returns to the action weighed fight scenes and brute force of Killing Floor and Die Trying. With excellent flashbacks to Reacher’s army days, we are treated to a vision of Jack Reacher – MP.
Action packed and written with Child’s distinctive easy-to-read style Persuader is a welcome return to the Reacher of old, as well as a thumping great read in it’s own right. A must for all Reacher fans, and essential reading any mystery/thriller fan.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 June 2010
I've criticised Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels before because they can be a bit of a no brainer. That is, Reacher is invincible, does what he wants, gets what he wants, etc etc
In a way, this is no different but at least I know what I'm getting. Where this does change for me, is this one doesn't let go, it's a genuine page turner, pulling you in, keen to know how the story develops and what happens.
Read it very quickly as a result.