Book Review: The Affair

The Affair (Jack Reacher, #16)The Affair by Lee Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I fell into the Reacher series part way through as a result of a recommendation, and having read a few recent stories, was confused to find myself picking up a brand new book and slipping far back into Reacher's past. However, I soon found myself loving the way The Affair steps back in time to illuminate Reacher's love-hate relationship with the military, while still delivering all the twists and turns that I expected from a new Jack Reacher novel.

Like Jeffery Deaver (whose books I also love), Lee Child keeps the reader guessing throughout.  What appears a simple enough case soon spirals out to include not one, but three, murders, one of which clearly has a lot more complexity than initially met the eye. Once the story gets going, it's no longer easy to tell who the good guys are. But there are always enough of them to sustain hope, even while Child, through Reacher, demonstrates a deep cynicism about the military system. Like every other institution, the military has its good apples and its bad ones, and Reacher is all about stopping the bad ones before they rot the barrel. (Sorry for the cliche but it felt appropriate in Child's good-vs-evil world full of coffee and apple pies!)

I can understand those reviewers who feel Lee Child has sold out with this book. There's perhaps a little too much sex and violence, but at the end of the day The Affair is another very entertaining, thought-provoking story, and hey, it never pretended to be great literature, just a great way to spend an evening or two.

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