Monday, October 24, 2016

"The Enemy" by Lee Child

I have a book hangover.  The worst book hangover I have had in a looooooooong time.  The kind where my brain is still gallivanting around inside a fictional world, and the rest of me is trying to navigate real life without it.

In other words, wow.  Now this was a well-written book.

I'm not going to call it a "good" book because it was about bad stuff.  Murders and conspiracies and gay-bashing and all sorts of wrong -- and, of course, one wonderful, not-so-white knight wading into the mess to try his hand at cleaning it up.  It was a modern mystery-thriller, in other words, and probably part of the reason it sucked me in so thoroughly was that it is so different from the other things I've been reading lately that it was like eating your first potato chip after having nothing but marshmallows for months.

This is the first Jack Reacher book I've ever read.  Earlier this month, I watched the 2012 film Jack Reacher for the first time, and it wowed me so completely that I put a library hold on this book immediately.  And went to see the new film, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back this weekend.  So yeah... kind of becoming a fan, it seems.

The Enemy is not the first Jack Reacher book published, but it's the first in chronological order of the series.  In it, Major Reacher is an elite member of the US Army's Military Police, and he investigates a string of seemingly unrelated murders that turn out to be part of a larger conspiracy high up in the military.  One of the things I got a big kick out of was how many scenes took place around where I live -- they talked about driving up I-95 to Washington, DC a lot, and I don't live all that far from I-95, so I could picture sections of the countryside they passed very clearly :-)  Plus, I've been to Fort Belvoir and I know where a bunch of other military bases and such around here are, so... yeah, that was neat.

I'm guessing that, for people who were already fans of this series, reading this book about what Reacher was like when he was in the military was all kinds of super-exciting fan-happy goodness.  For me, since I'm just venturing into this series, it was a cool way to start, but I probably missed a jolt of joy I would have gotten if I'd read these in the order they were written.  However, I like to read about things in the order they happen, for the most part, which is why I decided to begin with this book.

Particularly Good Bits:

"I'm French," she said.  "You're American.  There's a world of difference.  An American gets sick, she's outraged.  How dare that happen to her?  She must have the fault corrected immediately, at once.  But French people understand that first you live, and then you die.  It's not an outrage" (p. 96).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: R for violence, sexual content, and language.  This was not the most graphic murder mystery I've ever read, which I was thankful for.  I've read a couple of books that were so graphic I either stopped midway through, or decided after reading them that I would not be reading any more by that author.  This had a lot of violence in it, but not such that I got grossed out or worried about my emotional health.  It was a lot like the Robert Ludlum books I read a lot of for a while, content-wise.  Some cussing (mostly obscenities and not profanity) and adult content, including very glossed-over sexual activity, which is the kind I handle best.  None of this moment-by-moment description, just a vague paragraph that lets you know that, yup, these two people had sex.  However, there was a lot of discussion of homosexuality and other sinful behavior that will make many people uncomfortable.

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