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Showing 1-10 of 608 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on September 27, 2011
If you're a fan of the Jack Reacher series, you already know that Lee Child is currently the undisputed master of the unputdownable thriller. When it comes to narrative momentum and expertly wrought tension, his only rival is the late, great Dick Francis.

However, the last two Reachers - though good - left me a bit cold because I was getting tired of the "Reacher stumbles into small-town corruption" formula. Fortunately, THE AFFAIR flashes back to his army career, where he faces his true arch-nemesis, the military bureaucracy, and we learn why he decided to drop out and become a toothbrush-packing drifter. Even though the novel is mainly set in yet another bleak small town, I'm happy to report that Reacher is back to form. This latest adventure delivers the expected page-turning excitement, plus a few other bonuses:

* Both the beginning and the end are better than usual. Child tends to be too abrupt for my taste. Here he takes the time to set the scene at the Pentagon and ease past the climax in a very satisfying way.

* The love interest, the ex-marine sheriff Elizabeth Deveraux, is Child's most entertaining female character so far. She's not just there to be Reacher's girl. She has an extra dimension and is important to the story.

* The "midnight special" train that roars past Carter Crossing every night is an ingenious device Child uses to ratchet up the suspense, provide a menacing undercurrent, and structure the complicated action in a clear way. It's the most impressive example yet of Child's narrative skill. Plus, choo-choos are just plain cool.

A new reader to the series may find the staccato rhythm of the sentences a bit off-putting at first, and Reacher's tough-guy terseness here and there verging on self-parody. But they're essential ingredients in Child's hugely enjoyable, impressively consistent franchise. Overall, I rank THE AFFAIR with the best of the series, up there with PERSUADER, ONE SHOT, and THE ENEMY.
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on October 4, 2011
I'm a great fan of the Jack Reacher character and series and was left in two minds as to whether this does justice to them. On the one hand, from a character development point of view, I think that THE AFFAIR is excellent and is a natural extension showing us a younger slightly less experienced and more fallible Reacher. The writing is fantastic and as usual I was hooked from the first page to the last as we follow Reacher assigned to a case by the Military Police. The description is spot on and the pace frantic, even though there is are less violent parts than some of the earlier books in the series. He is teamed up with a beautiful local Sheriff and the inevitable happens as they carry out the investigation which proves to have wide-reaching implications.

On the other hand, there are some serious flaws to the storyline itself. One is Reacher's reason for leaving the Army and the other is the rather dubious conclusion to the book. The Sheriff is just too gorgeous and the gratuitous sex scenes are over-done and unnecessary. I would have preferred to see a deeper reason for Jack leaving the Army, disagreeing with Black Ops or cruelty to prisoners of war, that sort of thing.

If the storyline was as developed as the character then this would definitely be a great thriller. As it is THE AFFAIR is good, but for me far from the best in what remains a gripping series.
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VINE VOICEon October 21, 2015
In this intense mystery set in a small Mississippi town, we see Reacher in his last days as an Army MP as he has been sent to operate undercover to see if anyone stationed at the nearby Army base is involved in the brutal murder of a young woman. Actually, as it turns out, the Army does not care. Appearances are all that count. The Army’s Senate liaison office is concerned that the murder cannot be pinned on a big-shot Senator’s son at the base. If the Army and the kid are in the clear, Reacher’s job is over – not. Reacher doesn’t see it that way.

First, he is intrigued by the energetic, hot, sexy town sheriff, Elizabeth Deveraux, the daughter of the town’s long-time sheriff and an ex-Marine. While well-intentioned, Deveraux is not an investigator. With Reacher in town, they start making connections, but it’s not easy. Soon his cover is blown and he has to put several local toughs in the hospital when they block his way. In addition, it appears that the Army is also putting roadblocks in Reacher’s way.

The story is fast-paced with Reacher using his immense physical and mental capacities to wade through the flack. The sheriff is pretty skeptical of Reacher at first, but matters soon take a decided physical turn. Some of the Army shenanigans are a bit over the top, but not totally out of the realm of possibility. Covering-up is usually the first response of organizations and higher-ups in trouble. It’s interesting that after numerous Reacher novels, the author decides to fill in the background of Reacher before he leaves the Army.
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on April 2, 2015
My one concern about the past few Jack Reacher novels I've read is that it seems he is making some political commentary, and I don't read novels for political commentary. I suppose that is necessary somewhat since he deals with the Army and with the Pentagon, but again, I'd rather a little fantasy here. Otherwise, it's solid Jack Reacher and I'm hooked!
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on July 8, 2014
"The Affair" is the 16th published work in the action hero's series, but chronologically is the second Jack Reacher adventure... eh... actually, if you include the enclosed bonus short story "Second Son" about Reacher when he was 13, then "The Affair" is actually his third adventure. The only other Lee Child novel I've read prior to this one is "The Enemy" which was the 8th published work, but Jack Reacher's first adventure... eh... second if you include "Second Son." Man, this is starting to sound like Abbott & Costello's "Who's on First" routine. Look, I thought it would be more enjoyable to experience them in chronological order, so I read the short story "Second Son," then "The Enemy" and lastly "The Affair." Many of the one-two-and-three-starred reviewers have read most of the books in the series and were truly disappointed in "The Affair." Speaking as a newly deflowered virgin of only two Jack Reacher adventures, I, however, found the novel to be very enjoyable.

Mr. Child has created a hero that seems to be a mixture of Dirty Harry, Mr. Spock and, in this story, James Bond's libido. Jack Reacher is relentless as well as methodical in his pursuit of the truth and has no qualms of being judge, jury and executioner when he feels the urge. No one is going to mistake him for Gary Cooper in "High Noon." That's for sure. I liked how Mr. Child continually walked us through Reacher's thought process throughout the book. The reader knows that, despite what happens to Reacher, the big dude will come out alive at the end, but for crying out loud, nothing ever seems to inflict damage to his psyche even when he was a 13-year-old kid. The murders in "The Affair" are truly disturbing and the duplicitous behind-the-scenes political machinations don't phase him at all. Geez, I would've thought Reacher or someone else in the story would've dropped at least a few F-bombs here or there.

"The Affair" won't be nominated anytime soon for a Pulitzer Prize. And, sure, some of it is boiler-plate action-hero stuff like the Mississippi sheriff being a single, gorgeous ex-MP (surprise, surprise) and him predictably running into a handful of the local yahoo bullies who would give Beavis & Butthead a run for their money in the brains department. But so what? The material has virtual no profanity and the few sex scenes are described in pretty mild terms. The story kept me absorbed and the conclusion of the murder mystery came as a surprise. If other reviewers felt "The Affair" was one of his weaker efforts, then, hell, I'm in for more Jack Reacher adventures.
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on January 10, 2012
This is a thrilling read about Jack Reacher when he was still a military cop and (sort of) following orders. The story centers on a murder in Mississippi in the year 1997. A woman is dead (and others soon follow) and it appears that a soldier at a nearby military base is responsible. But that soldier has a powerful senator for a father and favors are called in.

Reacher is ordered undercover in the town to find out what is going on and to keep the local police in line. Reacher is supposed to just assess the situation and not make waves - but this wouldn't be much of a story if Reacher backed off from finding the truth. So even though he is ordered to be a good soldier, Reacher works to find out the truth no matter where it leads.

He soon links up with the local sheriff, Elizabeth Deveraux, a former military cop who just happens to be drop dead gorgeous (naturally). Soon Reacher is working closely, very closely, with Deveraux. But other forces are at work and Deveraux may be more than she appears to be. As usual, Reacher needs to find the truth and to hell with anyone who gets in his way.

This is vintage Jack Reacher who plows headlong into a full investigation of the underbelly of this small town, its sheriff, and those in the military and politics who want these crimes covered up and hidden. Despite his orders, Reacher only knows one way: straight ahead. And pity anyone who gets in his way.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 3, 2011
There's an uneasy feeling in fighting circles that the world is changing, the military may be downsizing, and yesterdays heroes may be on the voluntary separation list tomorrow.

At thirty-six years old, Sergeant Jack Reacher could be one of those fading heroes. He's sent on a mission to Mississippi about a murder that threatens the reputation of the Army, but not as the main investigator. A rival Army cop is making inquiries among the Rangers inside the local base. Reacher, posing as an aimless ex-military bum, is only there to observe the local police.

Reacher has never posed as a civilian before. He hardly knows how to act or dress, which is amusing. But as a man of action forbidden to act, he's seriously frustrated.

The plot delivers a good strong mix of gory crime, corruption in high places, dirty fighting in low places, clever women, and surprising deductions by Reacher. The sheriff is a gorgeous ex-Marine with "the metabolism of a nuclear reactor." People keep warning Reacher not to sleep with her.

The Affair is written with Child's usual tough-guy wit and great pacing. My only reservation here is that Reacher takes the law into his own hands all too easily. His behavior would be criminal in real life. I had to get into fantasy mode to be okay with this reading experience. Which I did.
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on October 23, 2015
Like any Jack Reacher novel it is fun, satisfying and a quick read. The Affair has some implausible moments, more so that other Lee Child novels, but enjoyable none the less. The problem with any serial mystery is you know half the story going in. If the main character is the same in each story the potential for surprise is halved. On the other hand in an age when there are so many mysteries to choose from there is much to be said for knowing up front you are going to be satisfied with your choice.
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on October 12, 2011
Love these Reacher novels. I've read all of them, and I think this is the first in which Reacher turns totally murderous -- and it's placed before the other books in time, so that's a sign the author wants us to think of Reacher as a stone-cold murderer from the beginning.

He murders three people in this book. Two of them are smart-ass murderers themselves, one of the two a serial killer. The third person is an annoying amoral politician who is not a killer, and has only helped a killer out of a mix of love and ambition.

Luckily I remembered that this detective/murderer business has been going on since at least the Philo Vance stories of the twenties, and that Sherlock Holmes let a thief or two go in his time. And of course there was Mickey Spillane. Still, I got a little queasy at this new, more murderous Reacher. He was always a little bit of a bully, but in this book he sets up some sex so he can orgasm as the bodies of his victims are torn apart.

Isn't that a touch too cruel?
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on February 12, 2016
In this book Lee Childs gives us a picture of Jack Reacher when he was still an MP. Reacher is sent on a mission to help find a murderer in a small town, and potentially cover up any army scandal. Lee, as always fills the book with visually pleasing descriptions, strong character development, and helps us see into Reacher's past.
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