Monday, December 28, 2015

Lee Child's Make Me: Jack Reacher again

So first we have Elizabeth Fischer's assisted suicide, then we have David M's reaction to it ("The New Reindeer 2015," good luck acquiring it). Then, a couple of days before David's Christmas show, I picked up Lee Child's Make Me - the 20th Jack Reacher novel, acquired as a "speed read" from the Burnaby Library. I just burned through it this morning; 400 pages in one week is a speed read indeed, by my standards...

I'm not particularly proud of the fact that I've read every one of the Reacher books. Each of them is so cut-from-the-same-cloth as to make Donald E. Westlake's Parker series seem varied and complex. Reacher comes to town, stumbles into a situation; aids a woman in distress; investigates and confronts an evil; overcomes various obstacles; wins; and leaves town. In about seventeen of twenty of them he has a brief affair with the woman in question. Very occasionally you get titles that distinguish themselves from the others, say by taking us back to Reacher's military days, or having the narrative written in the first person. My favourite of the books, The Hard Way, is fun because at pretty much every turn, Reacher makes crucial errors of deduction or judgment, succeeding in the end largely by accident, and with a great deal of help from outside (including help from women; sisterhood is a big theme of the book, which I like less because it's politically correct than because it is a fresh variant in the usual tough-guy-thriller formula). My least favourites are the odd ones that end up seeming somewhat misogynist (The Affair, say, where the entire plot revolves around the question of whether a woman Reacher is sleeping with is guilty of murder. It's well-written, but the whole point of it is kind of morally suspect, like maybe Child - real name Jim Grant - was channelling some sort of personal frustrations with females. It's his Basic Instinct, more or less). They're a bit of a guilty pleasure - the pulpiest of pulp - but they're perfectly constructed, every one of them, and easy to read as coffee is to drink. So what the hell.

Anyhow, early in the novel, a scenario occurs where people arrive at a mysterious hotel in a farming district, lightly packed; they are met by a luxury sedan; they spend one night in the hotel, and then are driven off into the dawn. Why they have arrived, where they are going is a mystery; we know it connects with murder - someone is killed at the very beginning of the book, to protect the mystery - but no explanation is given, and even Reacher himself doesn't figure it out.

My first thought was, "I bet this is all about assisted suicide."

I'm a clever guy.

Anyhow, I haven't a lot of time to review the book - have to go to work! - and I wouldn't want to spoil it, but I enjoyed this particular novel; it's a little darker than some in the series, though it's every bit a Reacher novel, dependable as McDonalds. I have friends who feel like Child has been slipping a bit, but I haven't noticed it. This is yet another fine, fun read.

(And it IS about assisted suicide... sort of). 

1 comment:

David M. said...

Life is precious, stay as long as possible, do what you can, don't take my word for it, just ask Lemmy.