Jack Reacher is working as a deliveryman in Boston when he witnesses a kidnapping at one of that city’s numerous institutions of higher learning. Reacher being Reacher, he intervenes, killing the kidnappers as well as a city cop who just happens to be in the wrong place at the right time. When Reacher rescues the victim, steals a car, and runs for safety, he discovers that he is not only in trouble with the law, but that he’s also ingratiated himself with the crime-magnate father of the boy he just saved.
At least that’s what you’re led to believe when you read the opening chapter of Persuader. As Reacher personally narrates this story, you discover that appearances aren’t always reality. With each page, Reacher finds himself moving closer to danger, but also closer to justice. In fact, he finds himself face-to-face with an old enemy whose account Reacher thought he settled ten years previously, but now has to settle again … once for all.
Persuader is the seventh installment in Lee Child’s 26-novel series featuring Jack Reacher. (There are also a number of short stories and novellas.) Reacher is a retired major in the U.S. Army Military Police. Since his more-or-less forced retirement, he’s wandered aimlessly across the U.S., living as he sees fit. Unfortunately, he sees fit to get into a lot of scrapes, all of which he emerges from, if not exactly unscathed, at least in better shape than the other guys.
What I appreciate about this series of novels is the kinetic feeling of the plotlines. Child keeps Reacher moving forward relentlessly on every page, which makes his stories page-turners that can’t be put down. I’ve read all the novels, short stories, and novellas that Child has published, and though in the last few novels, I’ve started to worry that Reacher’s age is wearing down my willing suspension of disbelief, that’s not a problem at all in the early novels, such as Persuader.
So, if you’re looking for a suspense novel that’ll grab your attention, I recommend the Jack Reacher series of novels generally and Persuader specifically. If you like this novel but haven’t read any other novels in the series, go back and read Killing Floor, then work your way through the series in published order.
Lee Child, Persuader (New York: Delacorte Press, 2003).
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