Personal by Lee Child — Reviewed by Guy Portman
When a shot is fired at the French president in Paris, Jack Reacher is recruited to apprehend the rogue sniper before he causes havoc at a forthcoming G8 meeting in London. Reacher teams up with a female rookie agent called Casey Nice. With global stability at stake failure is not an option. The suspected shooter, John Kott, one of the world’s best snipers, has recently been released from a lengthy stint in jail. It was Reacher who put him there.
The action takes in rural Arkansas, Paris and London, where a gang is believed to be harbouring the sniper. Reacher and his sidekick’s escapades include confronting a Serbian mob and a gargantuan brute. The story culminates with a surprising revelation.
Personal is an engrossing first person thriller, complete with a complex conspiracy and colourful cast of characters. The storyline feels fairly realistic and the settings atmospheric. There is considerable focus on strategies and scenarios, though these are never tedious or excessive. Reacher is an intriguing protagonist. He is tough, formidable, uncompromising and pragmatic, but also humorous and respectful of women.
The extensive use of analysis and evaluation does slow the action somewhat on occasion, diminishing its impact. And one is forced to wonder whether Reacher is getting a little long in the tooth for some of the capers he finds himself in. After all his mother was a WWII French Resistance fighter, albeit a teenage one, which presumably makes our hero close to 60. Is the ageing author living out a fantasy through his alter ego?
This reader was none the less very impressed by this, his first Jack Reacher thriller. He eagerly awaits reading further instalments of the best-selling series.