I’m taking two risks here by writing this review. The first risk sounds repetitive. I have the distinct impression that I’ve written about this in several of my previous texts. The second risk might be because you might incur a waste of my (and your) time by reading this diatribe. After reading one more Reacher book, I just had to write (again) about this.
Imagine the following dialogue with the author of this text: “Shit, this thing is selling millions. Anyone of us could have written it. I don’t believe we can put Lee Child on the same shelf along with some of Mervyn Peake's books, sadly being eaten away by moths.”
I agree that Peake's prose is much more enticing than Child’s or Meyer’s. Peake's reflections have much more inner depth. This would tempt us to say that Peake “has” more inherent quality than Child or Stephanie Meyer. Nothing could be farther than the truth. I don’t understand the inability of the so-called bunch of intellectuals to reconcile the two extremes. I confess I’m neither a fan of Child nor Meyer (the latter is much, much worse than the former, I must also add). By listening to this bunch it doesn’t seem possible to have a world where readers cannot have joy in reading about fluorescent vampires, and others prefer Peake's words… Entertainment and sobriety are not mutually exclusive. What gives Peake his geniality is his ability to subvert literature. Both literature, and art give us a wide spectrum on which anyone can fulfil his or her dreams. That’s what makes it so special.
“Persuader” is not great literature but I don’t think Child's is worried about that...I can see him laughing all the way to the bank… Lee Child’s menu has lots of fast-paced, smart, and well written stuff that is surely implausible but they are still lots of fun to read. The action always starts slowly as Child needs to set everything up before firing on all thrusters. Once the pieces are all there, the pace starts picking up, the plot gets more intricate by the page/minute and something that originally looked watertight starts to unravel before our very eyes. Jack Reacher too is one hell of a character. In a genre full of bozos, divorced, and world-estranged crime fighting figures, he's also a breath of fresh air. He rides into a new building/town/setup, analyses the hell out of everything, kicks everyone's butt and rides off into the sunset with a clear conscience. Some of the stuff he gets to is downright farfetched but he does make enough mistakes to prevent him appearing all too powerful. This time around, Child gets a little carried away with his exaggerations in the fight scenes between Reacher and Paulie. First-person narrative doesn’t help here. We keep getting bombarded with stuff like “where every punch or kick would have killed a lesser man”…It gets pretty boring where fighting is concerned. Third-person would have served this scene much better, but then Child would have to have written the all thing in third-person. I’m never quite sure why Child keeps changing his narrative voice from book to book. It’s something worth digging into.
I’ll take advantage of the silly season, to catch up with a few more Reachers, because I can’t keep it together during these few months…