Top positive review
Jack is BACK!
26 April 2015
Oh, what a relief. Having read all of the Reacher books - some more than once - it is so good to have our Jack back again with 'Personal'.
The last 'decent' Reacher book was, IMO, Worth Dying For (no. 15). The others since then have left me feeling disappointed, and more than a little bereft. I missed my favourite action hero. But here he is, back again, large as life (pun intended).
I won't summarise the plot because other reviewers have done that. What I will say is that if you like your Reacher to be involved in fist fights, gun fights, and outwitting people with that oh-so-logical mind of his, then look no further.
I liked the location being moved (briefly to Paris, and then to London/Essex). I think the last time Reacher was in the UK was for The Hard Way, but that was a rural set-up, and it was good to see him in London (with some amusing, tongue-in-cheek observations about British peculiarities along the way). I know that the Reacher we know and love is the one doing his Littlest Hobo routine, moving from one US state to another, and those stories are still my favourites, but I don't think a change does any harm once in a while.
Living oop North, I don't know how realistic the Romford Boys are but really, does it matter? They made for a satisfying gang of baddies, especially 'Little' Joey who, at 6'11", is Reacher's largest adversary since (I think) the huge guy in Persuader. As someone who's never had any training in unarmed combat, nor often finds myself in situations I need to fight my way out of (thankfully), I always find the fight scenes fascinating. Lee Child is the only author I know who goes into such lengthy descriptions of a fight which only lasts for a couple of minutes maximum.
As regards the character of Casey Nice, I liked her. She was well fleshed-out and intriguing. She demonstrated that even CIA agents are human. Lee Child did a good job of keeping their relationship purely platonic/professional (the bit where Reacher has a right old perv at her arse notwithstanding). Nice is in her twenties, Reacher is in his fifties. A sexual relationship between them would have been gratuitous and inappropriate.
The reveal at the ending was a good'un - I didn't see it coming - and things were tied up nicely. All in all, a really satisfactory read. If you've not read a Reacher book before, you won't be disappointed. If you're a Reacher fan who feels he's gone off the boil of late, then take heart from him being back.
All we need now is for the next book to be Jack, on foot, righting wrongs in some dusty, sparsely-populated US state, smashing faces with his elbows and drinking gallons of coffee, for him to be right back on track. Yay!