■ REVIEW: Personal
Fresh insights into what makes Reacher tick

There’s nothing quite like getting your hands on a new  Jack Reacher adventure and this one’s a cracker.

Action hero Reacher, the ex-military cop who is now something of a one-man army, is back and as the title of the book would suggest, this time it’s personal.

Someone has taken a pot shot at the French President. And not just any old someone: whoever it was had some pretty impressive sniper skills, incredibly accurate from an incredible distance.

The shooter might not have hit the president, but with the shot making a hole in the safety barrier from a huge distance, the powers that be are worried that it may have been a practice run for the G8 summit coming up in London, meaning even bigger targets.

There are few people in the world with the skill level required for such an accurate long-range shot, and Reacher put one of them in jail years before.

Now he’s out and he is one of just three suspects worldwide.

Normally a bit of a lone wolf, Reacher has to work with the the CIA and State Department to find the sniper and stop him.

The case takes him to Paris, where surprisingly, we learn a little more about our favourite action hero’s childhood and just what makes him tick.

While in Paris, Reacher meets two other “special agents” from Russia and England who are also investigating the possibility that it may have been one of their own wayward countrymen who fired the shot.

As the boffins forming part of the team investigating the shooting began explaining velocity and angles and other technical wizardry to Reacher and the other two men, I took a moment to ponder the gentleness of this new Reacher novel. Here I was, 100 pages in and as yet no one had died. Don’t get me wrong, it was still certainly good reading, just a bit of a slow start to the body count one has come to expect with Reacher.

And then someone’s head blows up. Which is when it all got a little more personal for Reacher, and a lot more exciting for the reader. The story moves on to London and the action just continues to roll along at a great rate of knots, with treachery, mayhem, an angry man-giant to contend with, and lots and lots of action.

Classic Reacher.

Here in little old New Zealand, we are among the biggest Reacher fans in the world. In fact, per capita we out-sell all other Reacher markets. The previous 18 have all been best-sellers here and internationally, and there’s absolutely no reason to think this one will be any different.

This one’s been out for a while now but if there’s a Reacher fan in your life who hasn’t read it yet, there’s still time to pick up a copy before Christmas.

Personal, by Lee Child (Bantam Press, RRP $38)

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