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129 of 162 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Never Say Never
Avoiding a Jack Reacher book has been my forte over the years. I thought it might be too formulaic, like other series I have read that turned out to be the same but with different names/places, not the kind of mystery that interests me. However, I never say never, when the nineteenth Reacher book was offered to me, I thought I have nothing to lose.

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Published 3 months ago by prisrob

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138 of 152 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "Personally...." lackluster
Nothing really happens until the 16th chapter, page 87 ... unusual for a Jack Reacher novel. Lee Child likes to set the foundation in detail. I realize that it's necessary to a point, but this novel, unlike the others I've read, focuses primarily on strategies, hypothetical situations & scenarios, and way too much detail about the artillery and ammunition used or not...
Published 3 months ago by mzglorybe


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138 of 152 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "Personally...." lackluster, August 28, 2014
This review is from: Personal (Jack Reacher) (Hardcover)
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Nothing really happens until the 16th chapter, page 87 ... unusual for a Jack Reacher novel. Lee Child likes to set the foundation in detail. I realize that it's necessary to a point, but this novel, unlike the others I've read, focuses primarily on strategies, hypothetical situations & scenarios, and way too much detail about the artillery and ammunition used or not used as in some cases. All the technical stuff such as velocity of bullets, ranges, angles, specifications, material used, etc., I mean pages of this type of stuff. "Personally," this reader just wanted him to get on with the story. The knock-down drag out fist-fighting is much the same, blow by blow description of how it went down, to get the bad guy ... and when he finally gets the bad guy, which we all know he is going to do, it seems anti-climatic.

I've skimmed through this part of his novels in the past, but found myself tempted more often by this one. I've read all the Reacher novels and enjoy his character. It pains me to give such an acclaimed author a rating as low as a 2-star, but I'm trying to be honest here. If you haven't read Lee Child before I would pass this one over. The series can be read out of order, each novel can stand alone, but it's more enjoyable and you can see how the character of Jack grows if you start at the beginning with book 1: "The Killing Floor" and go from there. It is a great series.

Disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary pre-release ARC of this work by Amazon for my unbiased, true opinion and review on Amazon.com, of which any opinion I give for review always is the truth, like it or not, IMHO.
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141 of 159 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Is This A Jack Reacher Imposter?, September 9, 2014
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This review is from: Personal (Jack Reacher) (Hardcover)
Had Trouble Finishing This One…

I have read all the Jack Reacher novels numerous times and enjoyed them immensely—until this one.
I pre-ordered from Amazon and counted the days until it arrived. After the first few pages it was obvious this book was different. What happened?

Jack Reacher is famous for his habits. He buys clothes every few days and dumps the old ones in the dressing room. He only bought clothes once. Jack Reacher folds his clothes and places them under the pillow at night. He didn’t in this book.

Jack Reacher thinks seconds ahead of everyone else and has the ability to make decisions in advance that benefit him, we don’t know why he does something until later and then ping we figure it out. He didn’t in this book.

Jack Reacher likes to hitchhike. He didn’t in this book.

Jack Reacher always gets the girl. He didn’t in this book.

Jack Reacher is witty. He isn’t in this book.

Is this a Jack Reacher imposter?

I really had trouble finishing this book. Why change something great? Why fix something that is not broken? I do not think I will attempt to read it again.
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72 of 82 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Colossal waste of time, September 10, 2014
This review is from: Personal (Jack Reacher) (Hardcover)
What the what?? Waste of time. I think that Lee Child really got sidetracked after allowing Tom Cruise to portray Jack Reacher in that dog of a movie. He must still be reeling from that catastrophe. The book started out pretty good with an interesting premise but then got bogged down with all the factions and characters and the ridiculous and tedious speculations about distance, velocity, time, blah de blah blah blah. Stupid resolution. That's a fact, Jack.
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124 of 147 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reacher takes on the World, August 30, 2014
By 
Suncoast "Suncoast" (Sunshine Coast, Australia) - See all my reviews
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I always promise that I won't read another Jack Reacher series by Lee Child and always break my promise because I want to see what Child has done this time to continue to breath life into this long running series. In PERSONAL Jack Reacher moves on from his nomadic life in the US to face up to a threat to the peace of the world.

PERSONAL starts with a bit of a bang when Reacher arrives in Seattle, reads a discarded Army newspaper left on the bus and sees that one of his senior officers from his Army days wants to talk to him urgently. The first shock to the system is that within a couple of hours Reacher finds himself travelling across the US again, but this time he is the only passenger in a luxurious Army executive jet. At the other end he meets two Generals and a couple of CIA operatives (female and pretty of course) who brief him about an unsuccessful sniper attempt on the life of the French President and they believe that the sniper will target a forthcoming G8 meeting of world leaders. The punchline comes when Reacher is told that the main suspect, a former US sniper recently released from 16 years in jail, is also targeting Reacher because he was the military cop who put him behind bars.

All this sends Reacher on the same jet over to Paris to check out the unsuccesful shot. There he meets heavies from the intelligence services of France, Russia and the UK who are chasing down other top snipers who may have gone rogue. The chase then takes Reacher and Casey Nice, one of the CIA operatives (female and pretty of course) over to the UK, undercover this time, to prevent the assassination of one or more world leaders.

In the course of trying to save the world almost single-handed, Reacher takes on powerful Serbian and British gangsters, takes out more victims in unarmed conflict at one time than ever before, and meets an opponent who is considerably taller, larger and heavier.

The first thing that struck me was Child's decision to write in the first person, cutting out the time honoured introduction to Reacher's size, physique and appearance that must have appealed to Reacher's many female fans. The second thing was that Child decided to go with an over-the-top plot to keep the series alive. IMHO this time he went too far. Probably the best thing in the whole book was the twist in the plot in the last chapter, but then you will need to read the book to find the answer.

No doubt this book will please many of Child's readers who are looking for an escapist read. No doubt many readers will be pleased to know that at the end of the book Reacher is waiting for a bus to resume his nomadic existence. No doubt I will promise myself that I won't read the next in the Reacher series, but no doubt I will also break my promise to see what Child does next to keep the series alive.

PS Seasoned Reacher watchers may wonder how someone without an ID can get a passport. Child's magic answer is that Reacher is working for the State Department who supplied him with a lovely new passport, valid for ten years, without asking for an application.
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54 of 62 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Where has Reacher Gone, September 14, 2014
This review is from: Personal (Jack Reacher) (Hardcover)
9-25-14

Personal is one of Lee Child's least effective Jack Reacher novels. Once noted for novels with hallmark action scenes, Mr. Child's Personal is tepid, although it seems to start well with a planted newspaper on a bus which is a call to action for Reacher. Unfortunately, there are perhaps 4 principal action scenes scattered throughout the book lasting perhaps 6 pages in total, with a great deal of wasted space as Reacher travels from the United States to Paris, to London and elsewhere in an attempt to stop an assassin from killing world leaders. Throw into the mix a man Reacher sent to prison fifteen years early, an inexperienced CIA/State Department rookie analyst named Casey Nice--a name belonging in a Bond novel--assorted thugs, ruthless Serbs, and others and we end up with a cliché-ridden piece about a worn-out Reacher.

Reacher is over the hill as an action hero. He says in the book that his father served in WWII and his mother worked with the French Resistance as a young girl during that same war. All of that places Reacher close to 60, hardly the same man he was nineteen years or so ago when he came on the scene. Now, he is ready to be put out to pasture; yet, Mr. Child seems to think that Reacher is ageless, although he does limit the amount of action and fighting to a minimum. But the Reacher that readers know and, generally cared about, is gone. This Reacher seems to be looking ahead to Social Security, Medicare, and retirement.

It is curious that, while Mr. Child pairs Reacher with an inexperienced, twenties-something analysis, there is no sexual tension there; it is much like a grandfather/granddaughter relationship. In fact, Reacher is intimately involved with no one, although he does imply that he might have had a lover before he found the newspaper on the bus.

Beyond his age, Reacher is placed in an unbelievable plot beginning with a failed assassination attempt on the French President, a sort of audition for the best assassin in the world, and the usual lies and misdirection that seem to be the fashion when various agencies such as the State Department and the C. I. A. have to work together.

All of it leads to a resolution that seems to come from nowhere, but is clearly identifiable as soon as a central character appears, and the assassin is pursing someone other than a head of state. The reasons for the final target being chosen are extremely murky; how that is resolved is as an afterthought although, had it succeeded, it would have lead to another direction in the Reacher series.

One of the more distracting parts of the novel is Jack Reacher constantly working the numbers in his head--sometimes even sharing them; one time that is fascinating, but quickly becomes tedious and appears to be designed to replace the relative lack of action. Poor Reacher is almost showing signs of early dementia, reminding the reader of someone who is constantly reliving the past or is focused on some tiny, manageable part of a life that has slipped by.

There is a lot of padding and repetition in the story, which only highlights the weak plot; remove the excess baggage and there would be a relatively tight novella. Instead, it appears as though Mr. Child was forced to have Reacher repeat himself so much to "flesh out" the novel so it would reach it the required length of 300 - 400 pages for mystery novels today.

The characters are all weak cutouts, stereotypes with no depth, merely set pieces moving along the turgid plot. Reacher still has problems using a cell phone, only changes his underwear after 3 days or so--which means he must be really a challenge for those who work with him--buys cheap new clothes rather than wash his, and now just goes through the motions of doing what his bosses tell him to do. He is a plodding middle-aged man who should be retired. As mentioned earlier, he is nearly 60; let him live in a home for retired heroes where he can share his past adventures with others who might be reliving their own glory days...just don't call Reacher an action hero.

One final point: The writing style is not that found in the earlier books by Mr. Childs. Perhaps Personal was written by someone else, since Mr. Child has directed his efforts toward movies; indeed, recent books by Mr. Child are little more than film scenarios. Since most of the Reacher novels have been optioned for the movies, perhaps Mr. Child sees that as his goal, now, rather than raising the bar for writing better novels. The use of Tom Cruise, a 5' 7," under 150 pounds actor to play a 6' 5", 250 pound force suggests that a serious compromise was made just to get a Reacher book on the screen. A second Cruise/Reacher film is in production. Where has Reacher gone?
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129 of 162 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Never Say Never, August 6, 2014
This review is from: Personal (Jack Reacher) (Hardcover)
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Avoiding a Jack Reacher book has been my forte over the years. I thought it might be too formulaic, like other series I have read that turned out to be the same but with different names/places, not the kind of mystery that interests me. However, I never say never, when the nineteenth Reacher book was offered to me, I thought I have nothing to lose.

From the first page to the last I became engrossed in the storyline. Jack Reacher as everyone knows who follows the series, is a loner, one man against the world. Reacher travels by bus, from San Francisco to Portland, Oregon and finally to Seattle. We don't know what his business was in the first two cities, but in Seattle, he found a military newspaper, 'Army Times', with a message for him in the personal columns. Since Reacher doesn't have a cell phone, he finds a pay phone and off we go on an adventure.

The President of France was targeted to be killed, but the bullet did not go through the protective window. The man who contacted Reacher wants him to find the sniper before more are killed. The sniper it turns out was a man Reacher put behind bars. Now, Reacher teams up with a new agent, Casey Nice, to track down this sniper. From the US to Paris to London, they look for the man and his accomplices. To say that there are turns and twists, states the obvious, but the ending is very fitting.

Lee Child, the author, has a great way with his writing. He is able to entice us into the life of the loner, ex-military Jack Reacher. This is a man that has the characteristics we would all like to have in our lives. Intelligent, savvy, no man's fool, charisma, the kind of person that is attractive to all. I have no idea how the author has been able to maintain the credibility of this man through nineteen novels. 'Personal' seems to be the kind of novel that anyone could read without having any idea of the past eighteen novels, as I did. Being able to achieve this capability gives the author, Lee Child, a strength that we don't find in many authors. I just may read another one of the Reacher novels.

Recommended. prisrob 08-06-14
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45 of 55 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Whoa, whoa, whoa... Did these other reviewers even read the book? They say "Top Reviewers," I say "Paid Actors.", September 4, 2014
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Let me save you the trouble of reading this book, and the money buying it. No spoilers. Mostly because that would require something to spoil.

I'll start by saying I've read every Reacher / Child book, and most of them twice. But this one and the last few are just total garbage. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING happens for the first half of the book. Could it be more boring? Way to phone this one in, Lee- if you even wrote this tripe. Boooriiing... Then Jack gets in a brief fight, 1 page, then another 10% of the book, then maybe 5 pages of action, then nothing until the finale.

Oh wait, I'm sorry, "nothing" isn't exactly accurate, the whole book reads like some inane Facebook update bred with a Fodor's Guide Book. Please, devote another 9 pages to what a wall looks like and document every worthless minute of every day. I get it- you like to describe things, Mr. Child. Here's an idea: Describe a decent book where things actually happen. Clearly Child missed Leonard's rule of writing: Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

If you can't tell, I'm actually angry at how stupid this book was. Just painful to read. Was anyone else wanting to pull their hair out every time Reacher went on, and on, and on about the stupid Zoloft? Leave her alone, you nosy bastard. And let me get this straight, Reacher can always tell the time with his superhuman internal clock down to the minute, but he asks questions like, "What day is it?" Stupid.

This book, however, is still on my reading recommendation list. It just moved from the "I recommend you read" column, to the "I recommend you tear out your eyeballs to avoid reading" column.

Thanks for wasting my time.

Edit: I swear I'm a nice guy in person- but, another thing that pisses me off about this book are all the fake glowing reviews. This is so clearly all part of an orchestrated marketing campaign to manipulate the general buying public and prop up a lame product. It's like the publisher had a meeting and was like, "OK guys, this book is awful, and we know it's awful- the question is, what are we going to do to get in front of this thing?"
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Weakest Reacher Story So Far, September 4, 2014
By 
Malcolm Colton (San Francisco, CA, US) - See all my reviews
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This is by far the weakest of the Jack Reacher novels. Big chunks of plot are signaled way ahead, and long periods go by with nothing happening except Reacher working it all out in his brain, but not sharing his conclusions. If yuo have read the others I'd say, maintain your illusions- don't read it.
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36 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Losing it, August 31, 2014
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Nothing like Mr. Child's prior books. Very little action, an improbable and boring scenario with most time spent on descriptions of London streets and reassurances to Teacher' s female partner that everything will be OK. Do not see why you have to write a book, after so many successful ones, when the inspiration is missing.
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70 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just remember, you asked for this!, August 16, 2014
This review is from: Personal (Jack Reacher) (Hardcover)
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This is a problem for me, Amazon.com sent me a copy early, so I could review it. I can say I finished it within 2 days of it's arrival, but I can't remember ever being able to put a Lee Child / Jack Reacher book down once I have begun. Reacher Creatures, fans of this series, will not see the problem in receiving the soon to be released book for free, but here goes. The problem is I'm obligated to review it. We are talking a mystery book, and as Mr Child has described his process.... "ask a question and then answer it 400 pages later" ... with smaller questions answered in pages or chapters. So, other than talking about the cover design, I really hesitate to discuss ANY of the story or plot points for fear of ruining it for true fans. I speak from experience in that I'd clobber anybody summing up a mystery I was intent on reading in a few paragraphs or blurting out to me in conversation the story. So .... at the risk of being labeled "unhelpful" for not spitting out a couple paragraphs of "Spoilers" I'll write this review for someone who maybe hasn't read any of the books, and is curious for whatever reason... maybe catching the poorly cast but nonetheless enjoyable "Jack Reacher" movie on the tube.

For fans, I'll say it's not my favorite of all of them, but it isn't my least favorite either (that might be "Nothing To Lose", but it followed "Bad Luck and Trouble" which was set near where I live and of particular enjoyment for that as well as the partial reunion of his old team). I think I can mention that this is one of the rare "first person" Reacher books , without spoiling anybody's fun. I will add that Mr Child touts that John D MacDonald wrote 21 Travis McGee thrillers without a bum note and I feel the same about this series and this didn't let me down at all.

For the person stumbling across this review and curious without knowledge.... our hero is a 6'5" 250 lb. (see more Dolf Lundgren than Tom Cruise) former MP. Sure , there is always some action in the books, but it is never gratuitous and Reacher is a righteous man who sticks up for those not able themselves. Reacher's physical strength however, is not what propels these books through hundreds of pages, it's his mind, his analytical process ....and Mr Child's ability to dangle us along with big and small questions we can't wait to get the answer to. I think every one of his books would make for terrific mini series or HBO type series as they feature many twist endings on chapters or cliff hangers.... and false leads etc. Mr Child is a brilliant author in his knowledge of his subject as well. I know as he's more than once written about a technical subject that I have personal knowledge of and isn't common place and he's done so with accuracy and intelligence.... the man does his research! His protagonist is the seemingly perfect specimen of the phrase "brains and brawn". If you are a female and curious I would add that this series has attracted a strong female following, not that common for what could be perceived as a macho male hero series. Reacher has many affairs, but they are all mutually beneficial and he respects women , and often finds himself often working WITH rather than FOR them , the sex is never gratuitous and thankfully occurs with little description after begun. Don't get me wrong.... this guy is a white knight... and does come to the aid of more than one female in distress in this series.

Highly Recommended .... oh and I'd like to add, another reviewer in a sort of casually superior way (as critics who have never created anything themselves do) referred to this series as "formulaic" ... to that I'd say, I hope Mr Child never loses that formula!!

* bonus note for true Reacher Creatures. I just read an old issue Number 85 of Mystery Scene Magazine from 2004. When asked who could play Reacher , if a movie ever happened, Child replied, "Oh, anyone with a SAG card , really- except maybe Tom Cruise."
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Personal (Jack Reacher)
Personal (Jack Reacher) by Lee Child (Hardcover - September 2, 2014)
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