I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
Sorry, I know I'm in the minority, but I have to agree with a few other reviewers, this all feels too familiar. Reacher is a know it all around others who have more experience, they are made to look and seem stupid in his presence.... and I find this annoying.
Overall it was an okay story and I'd give it a 2.5 if I could I guess. Just uninspired.
This book started off slow. After the first chapter I had my doubts – but my opinion changed as the story and the characters developed. This was my first audio book. It was a great way to spend a long drive. When we got home my wife and I couldn’t wait to listen to how it ended. A good read ….. or should I say “listen”.
Retired former magazine editor who is working harder than ever as Mr. Dad to his 12-year-old daughter.
There was enough of the usual Jack Reacher in this book to appeal to his fans. But I was a little disturbed at the excessive "romance" included by Child, which I can only assume was a transparent attempt to bring female readers on board. Forgive me for stereotyping but, exceptions aside, that's what we had here. As a prequel, I think Reacher's level of vigilantism in this book was also a bit excessive. Either that or he mellowed as he aged. Criticism aside, I can't get enough of Jack Reacher and I hope Child keeps pumping these books out. I also enjoyed the short story bonus included although the level of expertise exhibited by a 13-year-old Reacher bordered on the unbelievable. But such is fiction and comic book characters. And as usual, for much of the book, Reacher said nothing.
I rate as follows: 5 Stars = Loved it. 4 Stars = Really liked it. 3 Stars = Liked it. 2 Stars = Didn't like it. 1 Star = Hated it.
I would guess that most people reading this book are already fans of the Jack Reacher series. I'm going to break this review into to portions however; one for new readers and one for old fans.
FOR NEW READERS OF THE SERIES:
First of all, if you're new, don't start with this book - this is a full series of books, and while each can be an enjoyable stand alone book, it's better when read in order. The first book is "The Killing Floor" and I recommend you start there.
FOR EXISTING FANS:
This story is textbook Reacher. It's a flashback, with the events in it taking place just PRIOR to the events that take place in the very first of the series, The Killing Floor. This book gives insight into how and why Reacher found himself where he did in the first book of the series, and what events lead him to leaving the military.
This book as all the good and bad of any Reacher novel. As always, I am a little taken aback about his easy use of violence, all the way up to killing people; but that's who the character is; if you're not comfortable with that, this wasn't the series for you anyway. It's got the same good tempo as the other books and it left me guessing until the end about who the good guys and bad guys were, which is always fun.
All in all, if you haven't started the series yet, don't start here, and if you DO start, understand these books have a level of violence to them. If you already love the series, I think you'll be pleased and enjoy another visit with our vigilante drifter.
My husband and I are big fans of this series, and enjoy listening to these books on long car rides, partly because every Jack Reacher novel involves a lot of time on the road, a lot of coffee and a lot of cheeseburgers. This book, however, is practically a parody of a Jack Reacher novel. Child reports every event, no matter how trivial, in three different ways in three successive sentences (including three entire sentences describing a shirt button) -- it becomes a strangely Dr. Seuss-like tic. And, had I bought this book the year it came out, I would immediately have nominated it for the Worst Sex Scene of the year: it goes on and on in hilariously flat-footed, repetitive and charmless detail. We listened to it for what seemed like 15 minutes, feeling more and more as if this whole scene is just none of our business, when my husband said chirpily, "Well, more coffee, anyone?!?" and we just fast-forwarded through it.
And I might as well bring up the Great Mystery of Jack Reacher. Reacher is described as being built along the lines of an upright freezer, with fists of granite, the reaction time of a cobra and the speed of a gazelle. But all he does is drive around, eat cheeseburgers and drink coffee. I've read several hundred of these now, and the guy has not so much as taken a jog around the block or lifted a pink 2 lb. barbell. How does he maintain his boyish figure?
I did not care for the narrator. While I enjoyed the story I could not get passed the narrators voice.
For me the narrator's voice took away from my enjoyment of the story.
It’s fun because it’s Reacher. My favorite Reacher stories are the thrillers where the reader is in the bad guy’s head. I like seeing the bad guy’s motivations, plans and action to get Reacher. This book is not a thriller. We’re not in the head of any bad guy, but that’s ok. This is mystery, suspense, and some action. It’s enjoyable and entertaining because it’s Reacher. I like being in his world. Again, as with all the Reacher stories you need to suspend disbelief. Don’t try to hold him to technicalities. I will admit there were a few things about the plot that were not developed or explained well, but they were minor. This is my comic book hero escape.
One of the fun things I like about Reacher is how he confronts people and does not avoid conflict, which is so opposite of me. I like to avoid confrontation whenever possible. In this story, three army rangers are assigned to “sort of” arrest Reacher for a few hours. My reaction would be to sneak around and hope they don’t find me. What does Reacher do? He calls them on the phone and says I’m in the diner, here’s how I suggest you approach the diner to get me, but I’m not going with you.
Early in the story, Reacher’s boss orders him to investigate the case from the civilian side. I was chuckling at Reacher’s comment “You want ME to impersonate a CIVILIAN?” Apparently he had never done this before. Then I was chuckling on the subject of Reacher’s toothbrush. (We hear about this toothbrush in every book.) He needs to purchase traveling supplies, so he goes shopping for a toothbrush. He really likes this folding covered toothbrush and buys it. Later in the story, his boss tells Reacher not to go back to Mississippi. Reacher says I need to go back for my personal property. His boss asks what did you leave there? Reacher said my toothbrush. His boss said forget it. Reacher asked will the army reimburse me for it? His boss said no. Reacher said then I need to go back and get it... I then thought of another scene from one of the other books. Some bad guys trashed Reacher’s motel room and stepped on his toothbrush. Reacher walks in and isn’t bothered by the destruction until he sees his broken toothbrush, “b****rds he yells.
I was laughing out loud at the sex scenes (in a good way - I’m not being critical). This book has more sex than any of the other Reacher books. It had six sex scenes. I’ve read a lot of romance with sex scenes written by female authors. They are sensual and passionate and designed to turn on a female reader. The Reacher sex scenes are not. They are written by a man and told from Reacher’s perspective. And they fit Reacher. There is nothing wrong with them. I just find it funny the way they are geared to a guy - not written to appeal to a female. I liked it for the humor. It fits.
SECOND STORY 4 ½ stars:
To my surprise a second story by Lee Child was at the end of this audiobook. It was a short story, 1 ½ hours long. It was titled “Second Son.” It’s about Reacher when he was 13 years old. His brother Joe was 15. They had just moved with their parents to a marine base in Okinawa (I think). There is a local bully and a couple of thefts. Reacher fights the bullies and solves the mysteries. It was good.
TOM CRUISE DISASTER:
If you haven’t heard, Tom will be playing Reacher in the first Reacher movie. He’s tiny. HE’S A LITTLE GUY. There are billions of people in this world. You'd think at least one exists who’s the right size and can act. Stallone was an unknown when he did the first Rocky, and it turned out great! Please movie people, show some Reacher integrity. You’re just going to turn this into another copy of all the other action movies out there. Reacher is different. Let him stay that way.
NOTE TO AUTHOR:
Someone suggested that you are changing things to better fit Tom Cruise and the movies. That reviewer said there was less talk of Reacher’s large size in this book and more sex. My request: please don’t change for the movies. Keep writing for us “readers.” One of the fun things about Reacher is hearing you say things like “250 pounds of power behind his ham-sized fist.”
As a Jack Reacher fan, I was excited to download and listen to "the Affair" while walking my dogs.... but the reader did such an annoying job of trying to be all the characters, with fake accents and high timbered voices, that I wished he had just READ the book! I kept losing interest because of the sometimes overdone, sometimes missing accents... BUT the Second Son was much better (not so many women's voices) and I thoroughly enjoyed that story.
Am a big fan of Lee Child, however this one never quite lived up to my expectations.
Do not find the narrator to my liking. I choose my books not only by author but with regard to the narrator. Am hoping that the next Lee Child book utilizes a different narrator. That may change my enjoyment level.
Supposedly the first in the Reacher series though written last, this might also be the best. Reacher is more human-scale here and has an actual affair, there is some good suspense and some good characters. It is not quite so violent as a normal Reacher outing; there are only three murdered women and he only illegally blows the head off one bad guy. Like all Reachers, it rates high in can't-put-downability.