My name is James, and it's been seven months since my last Jack Reacher. The seventh in the series, [b:Persuader|2805851|Persuader (Jack Reacher, #7)|Lee Child|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1365634745s/2805851.jpg|224290]
should follow the same, increasingly predictable formula. Except, something feels wrong; it doesn't feel like Reacher – from the unusual eagerness to get involved, and the carrying of two guns, to the shooting of a cop. These things are totally out of character for the man we've spent six novels getting to barely know. Then I realised, the biggest thing that feels wrong about this Reacher is the narrative. This first-person just isn't Jack Reacher. Yes the first one, [b:Killing Floor|900486|Killing Floor (Jack Reacher, #1)|Lee Child|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1300839411s/900486.jpg|4511038]
, was also written as first-person, but the last five books have all been solidly third-person. And, to be honest, Reacher feels more of a third-person personality. His detachment and taciturnity almost requires third-person – once we get in his head we'll get to know far too much about him, and that will just destroy the mystique.
The book itself? Rescuing a child about to be kidnapped, Reacher is slowly taken into their family protection unit. In true Reacher style, that generally means he's replacing people who just weren't good enough. Oh, and of course, the family is far from normal – they're clearly into some bad schtuff. Reacher obviously has his reasons for getting involved, getting stuck into other people's business is rarely something that Reacher volunteers for. In lieu of spoilers, anybody who saw the BBC spy series Hunted
will pretty much know exactly what's going on here.
While I kinda think I understand why [a:Child|5091|Lee Child|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1205263586p2/5091.jpg] went with the first-person here, in that it allows a much more tightly controlled narrative – we aren't aware of anything going on outside of Reacher's direct experience, and that leaves the other characters motives much less well defined and cranks up the suspense. Ultimately I don't think it was necessary and it just feels too 'personal' to be in Reacher's head like that. Plus it allows Child to get a little carried away with his exaggerations in the fight scenes. I was running out of patience with the continual running commentary in Reacher's head during his fight with Paulie where every punch or kick would have killed a lesser man – really?