"Sir, madam, you need the red door, I believe." – from PERSONAL, the uniformed steward as Reacher and Miss Nice disembark from a Royal Air Force Gulfstream
“It’s not the same with a sniper out here.” – from PERSONAL
In the long progression of full-length Jack Reacher thrillers by Lee Child, PERSONAL is, in my estimation, one of the best.
Here, a very long-distance sniper's shot almost takes down the President of France; only bullet-proof glass saves his life. One among the small number of suspects thought capable of such marksmanship skill is an ex-U.S. Special Forces soldier, John Kott, sent to a 15-year stint in the brig by ex-Army M.P. Reacher back in the day. It's now sixteen years later and Kott is out and thought to be preparing to shoot again at an upcoming G8 summit in London. Jack is persuaded to foil the plot and take Kott down - for good. But John's malicious intent is more than it seems on the surface; it's personal.
Unusual for a Reacher adventure, our hero is assigned a constant side-kick, Casey Nice, which is a … um, nice touch. Casey is a CIA operative on temp loan to the State Department. Or is it the other way around? It's complicated.
Once Jack and Casey hit the ground in London, there's the shadowy Welshman, Bennett, with an unpronounceable first name. Bennett is perhaps MI6. Or maybe SAS. It's complicated.
Then there's Little Joey, most assuredly the physically biggest Bad Guy Reacher has ever gone up against. If the two face-off in hand-to-hand combat, it could be a close-run thing for our Jack.
But the best feature of the PERSONAL story line is watching Reacher perceive and deduce the identity of the master puppeteer behind the intrigue to arrive at a conclusion that the reader wouldn't expect though all the clues are there to see beginning with the ostensible mission of the 50-caliber bullet let fly at the French President and the time it took to reach its target. The reader will just be having too much fun going with the flow of the story to give them much thought. That, to me, is indicative of a good read.