He’s pretty good! Which is refreshing, after my experience with Dan Brown.
My friend Doug lent me One Shot. (I’m mistrustful of Doug’s taste in non-Shakespearean Elizabethan drama, but that’s another post.) The style was clean and serviceable, the characters were sufficiently well developed for a thriller, and the plot was bullet-proof, if you were willing to get into the spirit of the thing.
Jack Reacher is a bit of a stretch. I expected not to like the superhuman above-the-law vigilante aspect of the character; I prefer heroes with flaws, or at least foibles. But there was just enough of a sense of humor about the character that I could put up with him.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
- Amnesia was a major plot device. Child handled it much better than Dan Brown did, but it’s still a cheap cop-out.
- The plot seemed a bit too focused on letting Jack Reacher hurt or kill as many bad guys as possible without legal repercussions. I could do without that, but it seems to be Reacher’s thing.
- Ultimately, the stakes were too low for all the mayhem. Spoiler alert: the whole story revolves around kickbacks for paving contracts in a medium-sized Midwestern city. Again, the mystery behind this was handled well, but when it was finally revealed, my attitude was: “People are getting killed left and right for this?”
Still, on the basis of this one novel I’d put Lee Child on a par with Michael Connelly. Which means I’d happily read or listen to more of his books, without having terrifically high expectations.