The Enemy

I did some air travel earlier this month so I grabbed another Lee Child paperback on my way out the door. All of Child’s books have the same main character (Reacher) and I’m reading them in order. You can read about my last Child experience here.

As you may know, I like to travel with pop-fiction paperbacks like those written by Child, but I also grabbed this because I needed some release from the Barack Obama book that I started mid-June. The Obama book is good, but it’s like work, so I needed some trash fiction to offset it.

Man, it really ended up being a slow reading month. I got about half way through the Obama book and I barely finished this Reacher book before the self-imposed June 30 deadline (for the timestamp on this post). Reading books has taken a back seat to work and summer lately, each of which has diverted my attention from sitting down with a good book.

The Enemy was a departure for Child. It’s set back in time during the early 1990s when Reacher was still an MP. I was expecting just another modern-day thriller. Instead, I got a military thriller set during the fall of the Berlin Wall. There was also a relatively touching side story about Reacher’s dying mother and how Reacher and his brother dealt with it. If you don’t know, Reacher’s brother dies in the very first Reacher book, so this was another curveball.

Child may have some darn good artistic reasons for throwing this out-of-sequence novel at me and I feel bad that I didn’t embrace it. I’m not sure if it was my fault or his fault. I needed something mindless and I just wanted this book to be the “next” story in Reacher’s life. It wasn’t. I got bored. It took forever to read.

I remember when Hillerman broke from his normal genre and wrote Finding Moon. That turned out to be one of my favorites books of all time. Was Finding Moon more compelling than The Enemy? Or did I just read it during a particularly relaxed and focused time? I don’t know. But I do know that I should pay attention to things like this when assessing how much I like a book.

Well, in conclusion, I’m blaming Child for my lack of enjoyment of this book. It was my least favorite Reacher book yet. The evil-doer didn’t give me a particular feeling of trepidation, the mystery felt like a failed attempt at plausibility, and I got this story confused with a back-story from a previous book that featured Reacher recounting a past case. I only recommend this book if you are reading the whole series and are just as neurotic as me when it comes to sticking to the plan.