Book Banter: The Affair

affairTitle: The Affair (Jack Reacher #16)

Author: Lee Child

Length: 405 pages

Genre: mystery/thriller

Where Bethany’s copy came from: The Indianapolis Public Library

Plot Basics: It’s 1997 and Jack Reacher is a major with the Army MPs. When a woman dies in a violent murder outside of an Army base in small town Mississippi, Reacher is sent in undercover to help figure out if the perpetrator was from the town or the base. With the help of the beautiful local sheriff, Elizabeth Deveraux, Reacher starts unraveling a cover-up that shakes his confidence in the Army, his mission and what he believes in.

Banter Points: Origin stories are cool. Reacher’s origin story, maybe doubly so because we’ve gotten dribbles of it over the 15 previous books but never the whole thing. It’s fun to see the cameos of other characters we’ve gotten to know in past books, Leon Garber, Francis Neagly, Karla Dixon for example.

For a while, I was thinking that I didn’t like the Reacher books set in the small towns as much as I liked the ones set in a city. This one may have me refining my stance as it was certainly set in a small town and I liked it a lot. What I like are the books where Reacher is more of an investigator and less of a thug and really pitted against the system. While in most of the books, Reacher is up against a system that he decides is unjust or unsafe for people, his method of approach is different. Reacher fighting a truck (in “Worth Dying For”) was over the top to me, but when he takes on 6 guys in this one, it’s because he’s better and needs to prove a point. While he’s faced conspiracies before, him against the Army is a great set-up in this one.

Bummer Points: Elizabeth Deveraux is a character I’d love to see come back in the series at some point.

Word Nerd Recommendation: I hope nobody tries to tell a reader new to the Reacher series to read it first. Absolutely not. Publication order is key here. Start with “Killing Floor” and get yourself good and hooked on the series first and then get to this one in order and devour it like the fan you’ll be.

 

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