Book Review: Personal: A Jack Reacher Novel

Personal
Author: Lee Child

Publisher: Delecorte Press, September 2014

Genre: Crime Fiction/Series

A long time ago I read a couple of books in the Jack Reacher series. I really liked them, but for some reason, I stopped reading them. Now my husband and son are reading them, starting back at the beginning. When I saw that Lee Child’s latest book seemed to have captured the attention of many readers (high on bestseller lists for months), I decided to reconnect.

This book is all about Jack Reacher and he is indeed an interesting character. He’s an ex-military man who rose to the level of Major. He was a part of the military police unit specializing in the toughest cases involving the Army’s Special Forces. He’s very smart, a graduate of West Point. He’s especially good at analyzing and predicting details in crime scenes. He also has good “human-sense” that’s helpful in analyzing people.

Reacher doesn’t live anywhere. He’s a drifter, traveling around the United States by bus or sometimes hitchhiking. He only carries around a toothbrush and some cash. Every few days he buys some cheap clothing and leaves the dirty stuff in a trash bin. He doesn’t sit idle. He helps investigate crimes and the army often calls upon him to give advice on sticky situations.

In Personal, the nineteenth book in the series, Reacher is asked by an old acquaintance, General O’Day, to help with an international situation. Someone took a shot at the president of France from an extremely long distance. There are less than five people in the world who could do that and one of them is an American. There is a fear that the attempt on the French president was just a warm-up to a bigger assassination involving multiple world leaders.

One of the possible assassins is someone Reacher used to know. He’s asked to find out if the shooter is the same guy and, if so, stop him. Reacher gets help from a young female CIA/State Department operative who turns out to be more helpful than Reacher expected. Together they travel from South Carolina to Arkansas, Paris and London.

The story is told in first person. It’s truly amazing to be inside Reacher’s head as he’s analyzing every single thing from who and why the assassins are involved to the presise angle a sniper needed to take if the wind is blowing slightly. In addition, I like the way it was written. The sentences are short, making them feel rapid-fire and powerful. Here’s an example:

But it worked the first time out. One day after the paper was printed. Which is why I felt lame later on.

It’s easy to read and easy to follow. Unfortunately, it also seems the story is over too soon. Not to worry, there are eighteen other Reacher adventures to find and read.

This combination mystery/thriller is excellent all the way through, with a surprising (for me) ending. Don’t miss this onde.

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4 Responses to Book Review: Personal: A Jack Reacher Novel

  1. Belle Wong says:

    I started this one in audio but for some reason I put it down and just never got back to it. Now I’m thinking, I really should get back to it!

  2. This one sounds great! Could I read this as a stand alone book or do you really need to read the series in order?

  3. I’ve read one Reacher book and have to admit I didn’t really “get” him. I think I need to go back and read some of the older books in the series.

  4. Beth F says:

    I haven’t tried a Reacher! Maybe I’ll look into an audiobook.

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