My rating: 5 of 5 stars
‘Five minutes to three in the afternoon. Exactly sixty-one hours before it happened.’
What, exactly, is ‘it’? I loved the not knowing til the end! Sure, I had ideas from time to time – it was bound to be one of the fourteen crimes on the lawyer’s list. Or maybe all fourteen of them. Or maybe something else entirely. Every time we got an update on the time (which was about once every chapter) I found myself thinking about ‘it’. Such tension!
This is so well written (and yet it’s the 14th in the series) that even though I picked up on one of the major ‘whodunnit’ moments ahead of time, it didn’t spoil a thing.
The style was exceptionally well executed. Child uses a passive, telling voice, often in short sentences. The result is a perfect example of how, when and why such an impersonal style should be used. Sometimes it reflects the (il)legal aspect of the events in a ‘just the facts’ way, like in police or courtroom proceedings:
There were four interview rooms. Each was a windowless concrete cube divided exactly in half by a wall-to-wall desk-height counter with safety glass above. Caged lights burned on the ceiling above the counter. The counter was cast from concrete. The grain of the formwork lumber was still visible in it.
Sometimes his style just ramps up the tension:
Reacher pounded on. One step, and another, and another. The wind pushed back at him. Ice fragments pattered against his coat. All the feeling had gone out of his feet and his hands. The water in his eyes felt like it was freezing solid.
Dead ahead was a bank. It stood alone in a small parking lot. The edge of town. The first building. It had a sign on a tall concrete pillar. Red numbers. Time and temperature. Twenty past one in the morning. Minus thirty degrees.
And as for Reacher himself – what is it that makes him so compelling? So interesting? I guess lovers of action thrillers love the never-ending thrilling action, but some of the magic must lie in the dark and mysterious stranger routine. Who is he? Why is he? And, in a very non-romantic way, will he ever find peace, happiness, love?
I can’t believe it took me so long to discover Jack Reacher, but at least it’s not too late to make up for lost time.