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Child keeps it simple ... again!
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...