Review: Personal by Lee Child

Personal (Jack Reacher, #19)

In a bus station in Seattle, Jack Reacher comes across a copy of the Army Times with a classified ad addressed to him with instructions to make contact. Reacher does and is quickly swept up into a race against time to stop a potential assassin from taking out the heads of state of the world superpowers at an upcoming economic summit.

One of the potential killers has a connection to Reacher — he was put behind bars years ago during Reacher’s time in the army. And it appears the potential assassin has an ax to grind with Reacher and wants to take him out as well as the heads of state.

The nineteenth entry in Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series Personal is most disappointing one I’ve read so far. Usually the novels narrated by Reacher have been among my favorites in the series, but Personal never quite clicks and spends seemingly long periods of time with Reacher doing little or nothing to impact the investigation or the plot. Part of the problem is that Reacher is part of a team this time around. The character has had help in the past, but he seems less the unstoppable force that he has been in previous novels.

In fact, there were points during this book that I found myself double-checking to make sure this was a Reacher novel and not so other standard thriller I’d picked up. But every few pages, I’d be reminded of Reacher’s love of coffee and diners and the portable toothbrush is the greatest invention in the history of humankind so I knew I wasn’t reading the wrong book.

I’ve made this observation before, but I think it bears making again here. In the past year or so, Child has published several Reacher novellas and stories that felt a bit rushed and left me wanting for more and a couple of Reacher novels that felt like a short story expanded far past their natural length. Personal continues this trend, feeling more like a solid novella or short story than a full length novel.

And while I didn’t love the latest entry in the series, I’m still hopeful that Child will find his grove again for the upcoming twentieth installment in the series.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was given a digital ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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