The Hard Way
Jack Reacher is alone, the way he likes it. He watches a man cross a New York street and drive away in a Mercedes. The car contains $1 million of ransom money. Reacher's job is to make sure it all turns out right - money paid, family safely returned. But Reacher is in the middle of a nasty little war where nothing is simple.
Reviewed on 16th September 2011
The Hard Way sees Reacher hired to investigate the kidnap of a rich businessman's wife - a fairly straightforward sounding story that quickly becomes far more complex. I've enjoyed reading it - by this stage in going through the series, I'd be surprised if I didn't - though there were a few niggles.
The writing is Child's usual fast-paced to the point of abrupt style, and the plot develops constantly as we join Reacher in his investigation. It suffers a little from some of the characters being quite thinly defined though and the feeling I got was that there want as much depth as in some previous novels.
Part of the story takes place in England, and I felt the writing style altered here and it read as if written for an American audience rather than the universal approach taken in the US-based scenes. This may of course just be my familiarity with the places depicted meaning that I find the descriptions unnecessarily detailed - almost to the point of being patronising.
I also found myself quite a way ahead of Reacher at one point, which was disappointing as usually Reacher works things out much quicker than the reader. This made a section of the book somewhat frustrating as I waited for the narrative to catch up.
Overall though it's another enjoyable romp with one of fiction's best investigators and I really feel that Child's novels are some of the most approachable writing around.