By Lee Child
It’s 1997. Major Jack Reacher is assigned to go undercover in a small northeastern Mississippi town where a woman has been raped and murdered. Reacher is to make nice with the local police to monitor the investigation, especially in relation to the nearby military base where there is no shortage of suspects. Almost immediately upon arriving in town, Reacher meets the county sheriff, Elizabeth Deveraux, former Marine and beautiful woman. She understands Reacher’s role because she’s familiar with how the military operates. With no word from the investigator on the base, Reacher and Deveraux begin sifting through anomalies and clues in the case. Soon, Reacher must deal with not one dead woman, but three, all murdered in the last nine months. While military personnel do everything to cover their backsides, Reacher uses logic, his subtle but steady investigative process and his contacts inWashington,D.C.to ferret out the truth.
This is the case that separates the man from the military. The story is basic but well plotted. The murder case that is only the tip of the iceberg.
Jack Reacher: 36, Army military police, Major, tall, well built, logical, precise, determined, ruggedly handsome, an former Army brat whose personal military experience had him a world traveler even to some of the remotest places.
Elizabeth Deveraux: 36,Mississippicounty sheriff, beautiful, former Marine. Lives in the small hotel in Carter Crossing.
Leon Garber: Reacher’s superior and friend. Military man but respects Reacher and his position in life and station.
There are more characters, of course, but all are very well defined with enough background to them you understand each. Some of their background is revealed throughout the book, but you have no doubt who and what they are and/or represent.
Every conversation is basic, no nonsense and to the point. What needs to be said is said. There is no floating out to left field. Nothing is unnecessary or frivolous.
I enjoy Child’s style. It is logical, clinical, precise. Child’s portrayal of the military is truthful, unabashed, and his humor is well-timed. He knows how to create intrigue, to draw you in, present the facts, then explain them. He knows how to slowly peel back the layers revealing a little at a time. Details are provided in a basic, military fashion. If you’re a veteran to Child you know what to expect and you get it. If you’re new to Child, then be prepared to set aside large chunks of time to read. The Affair is one of those types of stories (as are the other Reacher novels) where you’ll want to continue nonstop to the end, then blank your memory and start over again. I have never been disappointed by any of Child’s novels and this one is no exception.