Book Review: The Affair, by Lee Child

Details: Official site is https://www.leechild.com/books/the-affair.php

Score: 6/10

The Affair is the origin story of the character Jack Reacher. Jack Reacher is a character who stars in a book and movie franchise (starring Tom Cruise) about a former military police major who now wanders around America solving military related crimes and kicking ass.

While most of the other books in this franchise take place after Reacher’s time in the military, this book takes place right at the very end and seeks to tell the story of what made Reacher quit the military and wander the country.

In this book, Reacher is sent to investigate the death of multiple women in a small town in Mississippi. The prime suspects are military personnel, thus requiring Reacher’s involvement. As Reacher investigates, he finds a twisting conspiracy full of plots twists and hidden agendas.

If I were to ask my seven year old nephew what a “real man” would be, someone like Jack Reacher would likely be his answer. Jack Reacher is what a child imagines a “man” truly is. Reacher is tough, strong, macho, always in control, and bangs the ladies. If The Affair is representative of all the books in this series, then the Jack Reacher series is simply your common male macho wish fulfillment fantasy. In this regard, the book succeeds.

I imagine most people who read this book read it for this very reason. There are multiple sex scenes where Reacher bangs like a boss. There are multiple fight scenes where Reacher wrecks people and kills them like a boss. There’s also plenty of military jargon. At its core, this story is really a crime drama that stretches believability in order to drag in military related stuff so as to appeal to readers who like that sort of thing. I think the target audience for this book would likely be the military obsessed with borderline homicidal tendencies. It’s the kind of people who walk around looking for an excuse to fight people or shoot people in “self defense.”

I put this book in the same category as Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey. Twilight encourages toxic romantic relationships and Jack Reacher encourages violence. Both books do a great job appealing to their target audiences, but it unsettles me in that they encourages the kind of behavior that doesn’t make society a better place. I’d like to think most people can distinguish between reality and fiction, but the nightly news says otherwise.

Overall, this was an entertaining book… for the mentally immature. I want to say that this book is for children, but it’s actually for adults who are functionally children. There’s too much romanticized violence to recommend this book to kids. However, it’s because the book is like this that I understand why it’s such a big seller. It’s simple and short enough to appeal to the masses.

Score: 6/10

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