on October 29, 2003
I read one of Lee Child's books and was so struck with his character, Jack Reacher, and the lean, elegant style of Child's writing that I read all seven novels nonstop.
Since this is his newest novel, it might be the first one you find, but I believe you will enjoy the series more if you track down the first volume, "Killing Floor," and then read each of the seven in succession.
In "Persuader," Jack Reacher has the jolting discovery of evil nemesis Ouinn's existence, whom Reacher thought he had eliminated a decade ago. To be ultimately rid of Quinn, Reacher faces a dual challenge -- penetrate an organized crime operation and aid the Federal government in the rescue of one of its agents.
Reacher's engaging narration is a combination of strategic thinking and forceful explosion, which is a brilliant juxtaposition. Jack Reacher is a loner, without fear, and without surrender - and his intense drive will lead him to settle the score.
Tension, mayhem, and action are propelled throughout Child's novels. This is definitely among the finest adventure fiction being written in America today.
PERSUADER, the seventh installment of Lee Child's Jack Reacher series, is perhaps the best so far.
On a Boston sidewalk, Reacher almost collides with a man shot three times - including twice in the head - and pitched off a cliff into the Pacific ten years before. Having a former colleague in the Military Police put a trace on the man's license plate brings the Drug Enforcement Agency to Jack's door. And what might your interest be, sir? Reacher, is it?
Jack, a former Army MP major that now wanders the United States as a near-vagrant always on the lookout for wrongs to rectify, finds himself aiding the Feds as he goes undercover to penetrate a fortified mansion on an isolated headland on Maine's wild coast. The DEA suspects that the mansion's owner, Zachary Beck, is using his importing business to bring in something other than Oriental floor coverings. And Beck apparently has a connection to Reacher's sidewalk ghost. Jack doesn't care about Beck or his rugs, but does have another old score to settle once and for all. And this time he going to get it right, or die trying.
The plot of PERSUADER includes the first time I can recall Jack feeling fear. Well, not fear maybe, but at least apprehension. Beck's gatekeeper, Paulie, is six inches taller, ten inches wider across the shoulders, and two hundred pounds heavier than our hero. Paulie's arms are bigger than Jack's legs. And he's surprisingly quick. Both you and Reacher know that, at some point, he's going to have to fight this monster. From Jack's point of view, that's going to be the dodgy bit. The reader savors the expectation.
Jack's my favorite Loner and Tough Guy in the Trashy Literature genre. But, his habitual physical impregnability becomes almost monotonous. So, the fact that Reacher's life comes within a gossamer thread of being extinguished more than once in this thriller is refreshing. Now that his vulnerability has been established, I look forward more than ever to Child's next volume.
Part of Jack's allure is that there's a hint of dysfunctionality to his personality. In PERSUADER, the reader learns that during Reacher's time in the service as an Army officer, he owned no civilian clothes. In an earlier book, it's revealed that Jack doesn't even know how to iron a shirt. Child's hero has some serious issues, which I hope someday the author will explore.
Former Military Police officer Jack Reacher is back for a seventh time in "Persuader", the latest from talented thrill writer Lee Child. While walking down the streets of Boston, Reacher bumps into a "ghost" from his past - Quinn - a man who Reacher thought he had killed a decade prior. Through a license plate, Reacher traces Quinn to Zachary Beck, a suspected heavy in the drug trade. Reacher teams up with DEA agent Susan Duffy, who is heading an "off-the-books" sting of Beck in an attempt to free one of Duffy's agents who had infiltrated Beck's operation, but was found-out. In concert with the DEA, a kidnapping of Beck's college-student son Richard is staged. Reacher plays the "hero", rescuing Richard and, in the events that follow, gets inside the reclusive Beck's illicit business. Reacher gains Beck's trust and, through a couple of convenient "accidents", is given a security job to fill the unplanned vacancies. Woven through the story through a series of flashbacks is the tale of the sadistic Quinn, gradually unveiling the root of Reacher's vengeance.
Child writes with razor sharp efficiency and clarity: a tight plot with no pretense of embellishment beyond the requisite violence and mayhem. Child's Reacher is the ultimate stoic loaner - Clint Eastwood's "man without a name" in a modern setting where the villains are meaner and the guns a lot bigger. Child writes with a clear and unambiguous sense of right and wrong, of good and evil. And while Reacher runs no risk on canonization, the bad guys are so devoid of any redeeming social value that the contrast is crystal clear. "Persuader" is high adrenalin fiction without excuse: blunt, brutal, and suspenseful: a true page-turner and the ultimate summer read.
on June 4, 2003
Readers would not go wrong in reading Child's back-list, but Persuader stands on its own, as do all the Jack Reacher novels. That's because Reacher is a character without a lot of baggage-literally. He has no home, no car, no family and not much more than the clothes on his back. No, he's not a derelict scrounging around in the garbage cans, rather he is ex-Military Police who just chooses to travel light and sees where life takes him. Usually that involves an adventure with a lot of shooting bad guys. Belief has to be suspended occasionally because no one could possibly get into as much trouble as Reacher does. Each Reacher novel is set in a new location with a new cast of supporting characters.
The first eighteen pages of Persuader have so much action, I was wondering if I was reading the climax instead of the first chapter. Inevitably, the pace has to slow down. There are some moments that drag, but overall it's a page-turning book. One quibble I have with the book, is that the continuity is broken by a back-story that dispersed throughout the present day story. The back-story just did not transition well. I was often lost for several paragraphs until I realized that the scenes took place ten years ago. It would have been better go give the past story it's own page and italicize it so the reader knows it is separate from the main story. Another problem is that the book veers off into the implausible one time too many for me.
Being a Lee Child fan I wanted to give Persuader 4 stars because I did enjoy it, but in the end just felt that this was not one of Child's best books.
on June 12, 2005
If you don't like Jack Reacher, you're in the wrong genre of book. You should go back to the old Oprah Lists. Nothing wrong with Oprah. Don't get me wrong. But Reacher's never going to be on her list. And Lee Child will never be on her show.
Jack Reacher is the solitary figure that can't be tied down. To a woman, although he misses them; to a career, although he was a top flight violent crimes investigator for the Army, and certainly not to a job.
Here he's in Boston which he describes as an 8 day town. 8 days before it begins to wear on you and you have to move on. And he bumps into someone on the street. Wealthy guy. Well dressed stepping into a limo. Just walking out of Symphony Hall. They stare at eachother. The reason why it was a staring contest is because the guy Reacher sees died ten years ago. Reacher knew that. He's the one that put him down.
So. More shadowy agencies and off the books missions. Reacher infiltrates a drug dealer's casa, he becomes involved with an attractive government agent. You know that's going to happen. And he wrestles with doing the right thing, righting wrongs, and keeping his code.
Excellent stuff. Child tells a great story. Hope he keeps it up. Reacher's great. 5 Stars. Larry Scantlebury
on June 18, 2005
This has the best opening chapter of any thriller I've ever read -- the only one that gives it a run for its money is the first chapter of Elmore Leonard's "Freaky Deaky." The second chapter is just as good. After the third chapter, I went to the bookstore and bought all of Lee Child's other books. I promise, I've never bought all of an author's books at one time before, I've never met Lee Child or anyone who works for him, and no one is paying me to say this. This book is that good. It's violent, all right -- you won't like it if you can't stomach a lot of violence. (In fact, it's better if you like some well-placed violence.) But the plot is several cuts above the contrived plots of a lot of thrillers, the surprises make sense even while they shock your socks off, and the real heart of the book is Jack Reacher, who you won't soon forget. This is the real deal.
Some people wait for the next Harry Potter, devouring it the moment it appears and then waiting, impatiently, for the next. I wait for the next Jack Reacher. Lee Child does so many things well that I would need many more words than the 1,000 permitted to do them justice, but suffice to say that he is the absolute master of tension and suspense (with or without car chases), he has one of the most interesting protagonists currently in the game, he has a better knowledge of ordnance than Q and he has a highly skilled sense of place, particularly for an Englishman from Cumbria concentrating on the nooks and crannies of gothic, backroads America.
PERSUADER finds Jack in a chance encounter with an old enemy. The thrust of the novel then becomes the neutralizing of this enemy through a relationship with an intermediary. Child quick-cuts between the horror of the past and the impending justice of the present, so that we travel two roads, the first appalling in its evil, the second delicious in its payback. The timing is perfect, the execution precise.
I wouldn't rank one of Child's books above the others because they are all uniformly strong. He had it right from the beginning and he never disappoints.
on October 9, 2003
what kind of idiot would post the ending of a book in his review? Hope Amazon comes to their senses and removes this review and does not allow Craig to post anymore.
on June 8, 2003
The best thing about the last page of Persuader is knowing that Lee Child is working on another Jack Reacher story. Reacher continues to be the bigger than life hero who appears out of nowhere in his never ending travels, and heads off onto a new highway leading to a new adventure at the end of each breath taking suspense filled story. Persuader, the seventh book in the series, is the best yet.
Jack Reacher is ex-military, commited to right as he sees it and always a defender of the wronged. He has no address, no luggage, and always manages to find a change of clothes when necessary. He can fight, swim, shoot, use a knife, and generally defend himself any way he needs to at the time. He can break a bad guy's neck and walk on to the next room without looking back.
In Persuader, the reader is brought right into the middle of a kidnapping attempt that ends up with Jack Reacher (who else) rescuing the kid being kidnapped and inadvertently killing a cop. Killing a cop seems like a bit much even for Reacher to cope with, but the story soon evolves and we quickly realize that the kidnapping was a staged senario designed to get Reacher on the inside with an organized crime family...not the usual organized crime, however, and the suspense continues to escalate throughout the book.
The Persuader is thrilling, suspenseful and a book that can't be put down without a lot of reluctance until the last page is read.
on September 14, 2003
Lee Child joins the Pantheon...
Wow! Within three pages of _Persuader_, I was literally talking to myself ("holy sh..."). My wife kept looking at me funny, wondering what was so compelling in this latest Reacher story. Put it this way... Lee Child has definitely joined the pantheon of action/adventure/mystery writers. Raymond Chandler, Robert Crumley, Nelson DeMille and A.J. Quinnell are the other members of 'the pantheon' (Child replaces Vince Flynn, who dropped out of the elite group after his disappointing _Separation of Power_, IMHO ;-).
Jack Reacher, cop-killer? Jack Reacher, rescuing a kidnap victim from a SWAT team of bad guys? Jack Reacher, almost getting torn limb-from-limb by a steroid-engorged martial artist? All this, and the most evil character he's ever gone up against, are all on display in this can't miss thriller. You will literally be on the edge of your seat for each of the 300+ pages... seriously.
If you've missed the other Reacher stories, don't worry. You can definitely read them out of order. Or start with _Killing Floor_ and rip through them all. This is a top shelf mystery/adventure story and Child is on a roll. He's batting 1.000 on my scorecard and his Reacher stories are NOT TO BE MISSED.