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61 Hours

It’s been a while since I posted. One reason is that Lee Child’s new Jack Reacher thriller, 61 Hours, which I wrote about* ten days ago after reading Janet Maslin’s pre-publication rave review in the NYT, came last Tuesday, publication day.

I started it immediately, but read in small doses only, since I had other obligations last week and knew that if I went far enough, the obligations would end up pushed aside in favor of the book. Once an important event concluded Friday evening, I was free to lose myself in the book, but by the time I got home and caught up on sports and news, it was 10:30 and I was way too tired. Saturday was the day. I was finished by 1:00.

What should I say? I dare not say too much, in case you might read it at some point. Anyway, we’re not talking about great literature. Just a thriller. But a thriller by one of the genre’s masters, a thriller whose principal character is as brainy as he is brawny. What I most enjoy are the opportunities to watch him display deductive reasoning at its best. He could have been a mathematician, or at least a logician. 61 Hours supplies many such opportunities. As usual, Reacher stumbles into a wildly implausible, though imaginative, plot, laced with a few wonderful characters and many faceless ones.

I’m happy I read it. As always, I can’t wait for the next one, which will be out soon. (Ordinarily, Jack Reacher returns early each summer, but this time Child has produced two books at once, to be published in quick succession.) While I wait, I’m sure I’ll read one or two of the earlier ones as part of my remedial Reacher research.

I’ll conclude by noting two unusual features of the book, each frustrating in its own way. [Alert: You may not to read beyond this point.] First, Reacher takes an extraordinarily long time to figure out who the mystery bad person is, even though the person’s identity is evident early on to any reader. There is no reasonable explanation for his denseness. Second, the book’s conclusion leaves several ends untied, in anticipation of the next Jack Reacher novel. One can pretty well guess what may have happened, but I’d rather know now than wait five months.

*The book cover pictured in my first post is the wrong one. I chose it from the book’s website, but what I chose is the UK cover, not the US one. The US one is pictured above.

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