Child's thrillers - featuring the taciturn military police officer-turned drifter anti-hero Jack Reacher - are almost comically faithful to formula. But it's to Child's credit that his savvy plotting, engaging characters and droll, eminently quotable dialogue keeps Reacher fans so tickled.
The Affair, the 16th book in the Reacher series, is what super hero comics aficionados would refer to as an "origin story" - fitting, in a way, since the seemingly indestructible Reacher has more than a touch of the superhero about him. Rewinding to 1997, The Affair finds Reacher still employed in the U.S. army's military police. (Child has flashed back to this era before; 2004's The Enemy was also a prequel set earlier in Reacher's MP days.)
Already disillusioned with the state of the U.S. army and his place in it, Reacher is sent further into a funk when he goes undercover to Mississippi as part of a murder investigation that reveals some much larger, uncomfortable truths about the organization he has devoted his adult life to.
The usual Child/Reacher tropes - Reacher falling for a comely smalltown sheriff, his Houdini-esque escapes from sure-death situations, his Holmes-ian investigative prowess - are all here in abundance.
But it's in finally revealing precisely how and why Reacher left the military for the wayward and hardscrabble life that has been the canvas for the Reacher saga that truly makes The Affair worth remembering.
My opinion: I haven’t read any Lee Child books. I will watch a Jack Reacher movie when it comes on TV.
Charles Dickens will be feted around the world next year in literature, film, theatre, music and art, underlining his international cultural impact 200 years after his birth.
The author of classics like Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, Bleak House and A Tale of Two Cities is considered one of the greatest novelists to have written in English. Sales of his books, which are still in print, run into hundreds of millions of copies, and during his lifetime his works were turned into theatre