Make Me by Lee Child
I got pissed at the movie version of Jack Reacher because it just wasn’t Jack Reacher. He’s a huge fucking dude who just wanders the US at will, setting right the wrongs. It’s not complicated. But his massiveness is a part of the equation.
Well, this one here is book 20. Twenty novels where Reacher roams like a combination of tumbleweed and brick shithouse. In this one, he arrives by train to Mother’s Rest, a podunk farming community in the middle of nowhere. But these folks have something to hide, and soon Reacher finds himself involved in a private investigation gone sour. There’s no reason Reacher should help. Even when he conveniently starts bedding the female investigator because THAT ALWAYS HAPPENS.
I’ve always resisted the storytelling impetus that there has to be a love interest. That because someone has a penis there must be a vagina to put it in. And because someone has a vagina they’re going to end up in bed with the penis sooner or later. I hate that. It’s a stupid convention, but people shovel that fucking into their gullets like so much pink gooze Chicken McNuggets. And it took me out of the game on this novel.
But the story itself kept me back in. It’s a third person omniscient narrative, so we’re usually in Reacher’s head for most of the novel, but then occasionally we get glimpses into the bad guys. And that’s great. It’s a very Stepford town, where everyone seems frightened and working for some sort of secret organization. And it keeps you in the mystery as Reacher travels around to explore it.
The book takes its sweet-ass time getting to the crux, and we end up travelling all over the US by plane and such. Which doesn’t make it feel much like a Reacher story. He usually stays in one spot. The ultimate reveal is worth it, if mildly contrived, but it’s not what I expected it to be. And so Child keeps Reacher roaming, and all is right with the world.