Monday, 12 October 2015

Book Review - Lee Child : Personal


I know that some fans think the Reacher books have gone off the boil of late with 2012’s A Wanted Man being a low point and I admit that one was a bit subpar but a bad Reacher book can still be a good read (and I didn’t think AWM was that bad anyway). Happily however it seems that lee child’s   mojo has been slowly returning and I’m happy to report that in the 19th book personal it’s almost back.

I won't summarise the plot because other reviewers elsewhere have done that and it's been sometime since i've read it so i can't remember.
What I will say is that if you like Reacher to be involved in fist fights, gun fights, and outwitting people with that oh-so-logical mind of his, then look no further.
I liked the location being moved (briefly to Paris, and then to London/Essex). I think the last time Reacher was in the UK was for The Hard Way, but that was a rural set-up, and it was good to see him in London (with some amusing, tongue-in-cheek observations about British peculiarities along the way). I know that the Reacher we know and love is the one doing his Littlest Hobo routine, moving from one US state to another, and those stories are still my favourites, but I don't think a change does any harm once in a while.

Living oop North, I don't know how realistic the Romford Boys are but really, does it matter? They made for a satisfying gang of baddies, especially 'Little' Joey who, at 6'11", is Reacher's largest adversary since (I think) the huge guy in Persuader. As someone who's never had any training in unarmed combat, nor often finds myself in situations I need to fight my way out of (thankfully), I always find the fight scenes fascinating. Lee Child is the only author I know of who goes into such lengthy descriptions of a fight which only lasts for a couple of minutes maximum.
As regards the character of Casey Nice, I liked her. She was well thought-out and intriguing. She demonstrated that even CIA agents are human. Lee Child did a good job of keeping their relationship purely platonic/professional (the bit where Reacher has a right old perv at her arse notwithstanding). Nice is in her twenties, Reacher is in his mid/late forties so a sexual relationship between them would have been gratuitous and inappropriate.

The reveal at the ending was a good'un - I didn't see it coming - and things were tied up nicely. All in all, a really satisfactory read. If you've not read a Reacher book before, you won't be disappointed. If you're a Reacher fan who feels he's gone off the boil of late, then take heart from him being back.
Overall Personal is a nice change of scenery and a worthy addition to the series. In fact it feels like a bit like James Bond novel (an observation Lee Child himself has made ), I get the impression that Personal is what a Lee Child Bond novel might have been like.

But For those of you who want Reacher to be on foot, righting wrongs in some dusty, sparsely-populated US state, smashing faces with his elbows ,drinking gallons of coffee and getting involved in massive bar fights then I have good news the 20th Reacher book ‘Make Me’ is exactly that and there will be a review of that once I’ve finished it.

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