Book Review: Lee Child’s The Affair

Posted December 27, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Lee Child’s The Affair

The Affair


Lee Child

It is part of the , series and is a thriller in Hardcover edition that was published by Delacorte Press on September 29, 2011 and has 427 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Killing Floor, Die Trying, "Second Son", Tripwire, Running Blind, Echo Burning, Without Fail, Persuader, The Enemy, One Shot, The Hard Way, Bad Luck and Trouble, Nothing to Lose, Gone Tomorrow, 61 Hours, Worth Dying For, A Wanted Man, "Deep Down", Never Go Back, "High Heat", Personal, Make Me, "Small Wars", Night School, MatchUp, The Midnight Line

Third chronologically and sixteenth publication-wise in the Jack Reacher thriller series and taking place in Fort Kelham in Mississippi in 1997.

This is a flashback to 1997 and Reacher is 36, and it sets us up for the events that will follow with the first (publication-wise) full-length story in this series, Killing Floor.

My Take

Not what I was expecting. After 61 Hours and Worth Dying For, I could have sworn that Jack was heading for Virginia and Susan. Wow. I was so wrong. Not least, because this takes place back in the past just before Reacher quits the army.

This story is important as it explains why Reacher quit the army. And they oughta be ashamed of themselves. Yeah, sure, this is fiction. Unfortunately, there is too much of a ring of truth about events. The cover-ups. The manipulations from so many people. The corruption. All to protect one person, damn it.

Ah hell, the truth is, they’re lying right and left.

Child is setting us up for the little things in Reacher’s future: the pocket toothbrush, buying clothes and trashing the old, riding the bus, that remote access bank account, thinking like a civilian. The chat he had with Bruce, the sixteen-year-old kid who simply wanted to be accepted, who loved his sister. The thoughts it roused in Reacher of his brother Joe, who was out in Georgia near a place called Margrave. I absolutely loved Reacher’s approach with Bruce. He didn’t ignore Bruce’s abnormality. He simply treated it as part and parcel of Bruce.

I just want to cry.

I do wish Child had given us a bit more warning — like use a prologue! — before starting with the contents of chapter one.

I felt a bit of a voyeur listening to Reacher discuss the proper clothing for an undercover mission. I don’t think I’ve ever thought of shoes quite like this before. Surprisingly, I wasn’t feeling voyeuristic when he was contemplating where to start undressing Deveraux.

ARGHHH, part me wishes Reacher had “tidied up” the other two militia. That or I’d’a helped! That brat! Oh, I’m just so incredibly furious!!!!! Then again, I suppose Reacher had to let ’em go.

The Story

It’s a civilian murder behind a civilian bar with a military base a hop, step, and a jump away. The locals know it’s a military man while the military is hoping and praying it’s a local.

Munro is there as the visible investigating officer while Reacher is sent in undercover. Only, the sheriff is a ringer and she makes him within minutes. And orders him out of town. Yeah. Right.

It doesn’t actually take long, and Reacher does leave town. He’s gonna take on the Pentagon.

The Characters

Jack Reacher is going in undercover in Carter Crossing — yeah, right. He’ll be staying at Touissant’s where the sheriff lives. In some respects, it’s kind of a shame that Reacher is so damned honorable and honest. How he survived this long in the army, I’ll never know. And we certainly need more men like him. Everywhere. Major Duncan Munro is his official counterpart at the base, and he’s heard of Reacher. General Leon Garber is the man who sent Reacher on this dead-end mission. I’m not feeling very kindly towards him. A jack-off lieutenant colonel.

MP Colleagues of Reacher’s
Stan Lowrey is worried. First Sergeant Frances Neagley, another MP friend, bails Reacher out right and left. Major Karla Dixon steps up with info on the money end and some disquieting news about a background check into Deveraux.

Fort Kelham
Captain Reed Riley, a real ladies’ man, is the commander of Bravo Company, one of two super-secret military units at Fort Kelham. His father is Senator Carlton Riley, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee. Colonel John James Frazer is the current Senate Liaison for the military over at the Pentagon. The Tennessee Free Citizens is a civilian militia called out to help.

Carter County Sheriff’s Department
Chief Elizabeth Deveraux, a seriously good-looking woman, was a marine with the Provost Marshal’s office before she quit and came home to Carter Crossing. Her daddy had been the sheriff and the voters put her in office on that basis. Pellegrino and Butler are deputies. A fingerprinting screw-up turns up Audrey Shaw, an aide to Senator Riley. Dr. Merriam is terrifyingly incompetent as a pathologist.

Janice May Chapman is one of three victims. Emmeline McClatchy is the mother of one of the victims, Rosemary. Shawna Lindsay is another; Bruce is her sweetheart of a brother, who only wants to join the army. Shawna’s mother is simply furious over the whole thing.

The Cover and Title

The cover is gorgeous with its fluorescent blues highlighting the ties in the railroad tracks as it curves off into the distance. The rails themselves are gleaming gold as is the title.

The title led me thinking in one direction and took me in completely another. Although, it is still The Affair that counts. And keeps me worrying that Reacher is slowing down mentally.