This has an entertaining and well-structured, though by no means unique, plot. The writing style is unintentionally hilarious, with short, macho sentences and strangely frequent occurrences of the word “graunch” (ok, maybe three times doesn’t count as “frequent,” but it definitely is strange).
Another trademark is the use of numerous minute observations and descriptions, which have no plot significance and, combined with Child’s limited and repetitious vocabulary, lead to some strange effects. One of these is “The Sucky Rubber Door Seals.” Having initially described how the police station’s “plate-glass doors…sucked against rubber seals” and “sucked shut” (7), Child proceeds to use this exact description with a frequency that can only be described as weird. For example, on page 50, the “big plate-glass door of the station house…sucked against the rubber seal.” Page 131: “…the big glass door sucked open.” Page 150: “the station house door sucked open.” Page 246: “I heard the glass door suck open.” Page 449: “Pushed open the heavy glass door against its stiff rubber seal.” Weird. I’d have to say that the doors aren’t the only thing about the book that sucks… Still it’s a fun read and, for a first novel, even impressive.
[Why I read it: I heard good things about the series from my dad and, though I hated the movie, I thought the Jack Reacher character had potential to amuse.]