Review Blog

Apr 02 2012

The affair by Lee Child

cover image

Bantam Press, 2011. ISBN 978 0 593 06571 6.
(Age: Adult) Recommended. Crime thriller. Another in the series of stories about anti hero Jack Reacher, a military policeman, this has Jack going south to the 'armpit of Mississippi' to investigate a murder near the army base of Fort Kelham, but this time undercover. His longer than regulation hair along with a stubbly face and old army clothes give him the perfect look to infiltrate the small town, Carter Crossing, ask questions and gather information, or so he thinks. But the local sheriff is an ex Marine MP, so spots him as soon as she sets eyes on him. With an investigating officer already installed on the army base, Jack's job gets harder as the hours tick by, firstly investigating the murder a few nights ago, then being told it is the third such murder in the last nine months, this time investigated with more rigour because she is white, and then finding another body in the woods.
Exciting, brimful of jibes at government departments, Pentagon, army investigations, black and white relations in the south, poor housing, and the like, Jack Reacher wears his heart on his sleeve as he slides between the various defense departments which have shown an interest in this case. He is warned that this is a suicide job and to watch his back, but addicted readers will know that this is grist to his mill. With overtones of much deeper problems within the army base and its dealings with Kosovo, this is unputdownable as Jack is pursued by back woods thugs he has managed to antagonise, back woods militia camping out around the base and the US Army at every possible level. His solution to several of his problems reek of 007 power but by the time we are party to the corruption and nepotism involved, the readers' sympathies oscillate between Reacher and what is legal.
Lee Child's website has information and footage about this novel as well as the other Jack Reacher novels, one of which is at the moment being filmed with Tom Cruise as Reacher.
Fran Knight

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