Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book Review: Second Son by Lee Child

Second Son is not a novel but a short story, which came out only as an e-book last month.
     The year is 1974, and the then thirteen year old Jack Reacher, arrives with his family in Okinawa, Japan. His father is with the Marine Corps thus the family has to move often from one place to the next, wherever duty calls. Their arrival there though is nothing but accidental, since the Americans are already starting to realize that China has set some big plans into place, so they want to have some of their best personnel close by to keep an eye on the neighboring country’s ground.
     Jack and his big brother Joe do not receive the best of welcomes from the other kids living there. The neighborhood baddies are trying to intimidate them from the very beginning and Joe, ever the diplomat, does whatever he can to stop his hot-blooded younger brother from responding in the kind. And as if that’s not enough they also soon come to realize that they have to give entry exams in order to enroll at the local school, something that have never happened before. In the meantime their father is not having the best of times either, as some important and highly confidential documents go missing from his office.
     From one day to the next things seem to go from bad to worse, the troubles keep piling up, and in the end, as one would expect, it falls to Jack to try and work things out. And he does just that, in his very own special way.
     Through this story we get to learn a few things about how Jack Reacher, the force of nature that the readers love and, Child’s favorite hero came to be. Maybe the writing does not reach the high standards one would expect from the author, but it’s a fine read anyway.
     At the end of the story there is, as a bonus, the first chapter of the next Reacher novel, The Affair, which is going to come out in a few days time; and if we can judge from the excerpt here, we’d say that that will really be an explosive one.

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