Book Review: Personal by Lee Child

“Personal” by Lee Child is a fantastic book. I love the voice and the feel of the narrative. He uses a bit of an unconventional writing style, but it is uniquely his own. If you, like me, have never read anything he’s written before, I highly recommend buying one of his books and giving it a shot. I mean, come on… He’s a best-selling author for a damn good reason. He writes gripping thrillers that are really driven and action-packed. I’m already looking forward to picking up some more of his books and devouring them.

In “Personal” we join Jack Reacher as he tries to not only find a shooter that tried to assassinate the president of France, but he’s got to figure out who the shooter even is. It’s a very short list, but one of the suspects is John Kott. He was released from a fifteen-year prison sentence only a year ago, but he’s been busy getting back into the mercenary/sniper game. He’s also got a score to settle with Reacher, since he’s the one who put Kott behind bars all those years ago.

Reacher hops around the world—from Seattle to Fort Bragg to Arkansas to Paris to London—and has a green partner tagging along. Presumably, Casey Nice is there just to keep Reacher out of trouble. But he can’t stop thinking about Dominique, a woman who’d worked with him before and was brutally murdered in the process. He’s never let that go, never forgiven himself, and he’s determined to never let it happen again. Casey self-medicates, though, and he spends a few lines a handful of times trying to get her to realize that she doesn’t actually need to be taking anxiety meds. She won’t have enough to last the rest of the mission, anyway.

They’re not the only team on the case, though. World leaders are fearful that the attempted assassination was only an audition for an even bigger job at the G8 conference in London in a few weeks. So special investigators are being brought in from around the world. While in Paris to check out the shooting site, he starts to meet some of the other guys who have flown in to help stop this threat. They don’t work together for long, though. Just long enough to look at the room from whence the shot had been fired. And just long enough to get shot at from nearly a mile away.

The stakes get higher and higher as we move deeper into the book. I found it very difficult to put down. I’d stay up late into the night, knowing I needed to get up early, because I just couldn’t stop reading. I had to know what was coming next.

Often times when there is a series, the author doesn’t explain things well enough—especially past events or personality quirks. I don’t find that to be necessarily true with this novel. I thought that Lee did a great job of slipping in Reacher’s traits, his view of the world, and past events that continue to affect his life in the present.

From start to finish, this book had me hooked. I loved it. I devoured it. I couldn’t get enough of it. The final twist had me exclaiming aloud in shock and excitement. Authors like Lee Child—who says he reads about 300 books a year—make me wish I had enough time to read a book a day. I read—maybe—thirty books a year, tops. Though I must admit, as I get more into the author world, make friends with more authors, discover new authors I’ve never heard of, my to-read list seems to be growing exponentially. I want to read everything he’s ever written because I love the attitude and intelligence of his protagonist. But again—there’s a damn good reason he’s a best-selling author.

If you love thrillers, and you’ve never read a Lee Child book, you’re seriously missing out. Go—right now—to Amazon or B&N and buy one of his novels. It doesn’t even have to be the first one. Just buy one. Read it. I bet you’ll love it, too.