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The Affair, II

I agonized Tuesday night about whether to start Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher thriller, The Affair. I knew that once I did start, I wouldn’t want to stop. But I had far too many other things to do and couldn’t afford to let Reacher consume my life.

Well, I sort of handled it, for a while. I did start the book, reading just a little Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and a little more Thursday night, getting me about 1/5th through. I looked forward to reading a larger chunk Friday, but when I finally did turn to it, I fell asleep after a few pages, what with rising early and having a long day. It was just a nap. After awaking, I read another fifth.

That brought me to yesterday, a day in principle of chores, social events, and possibly blog writing. And more of the same today. I was calculating that I’d read maybe additional fifths each day and finish tomorrow night.

Reacher had other ideas. Like some of the book’s characters, I found him grabbing me by the throat and not letting go. I read some in the morning, went on some errands with Gail, read a lot more in the afternoon, and then we had to go out for a previously arranged dinner and museum event. I considered asking Gail if she thought I could bring the book to dinner, but I knew the answer.

Fortunately, Reacher relaxed his grip just long enough for our outing. On our return, I didn’t give him a chance to do any further damage. I dutifully read the book to its conclusion.

What a puzzle! I can’t figure out how Lee Child is so good at drawing the reader in. There’s the suspense, of course. There’s also something about getting to listen in on Reacher’s thought processes, watching as he struggles to make sense of the data and as he takes in clues you would surely have missed. How he developed unsurpassed skill in both logic and brawl continues to be a mystery, even in this 16th edition of the series, in which we learn at last about the end of Reacher’s military career and the start of the path we have followed him on for years since.

At least I have my life back. But I won’t complain when Jack grabs me again.

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