61 Hours by Lee Child

Lee Child is a British thrillerist who, for some years now, has been keeping the world abreast of the adventures of itinerant thriller star Jack Reacher. In 61 Hours, the latest bulletin, we ride along with Mr Reacher for the titular time period while he struggles to figure out who in a dinky South Dakota town is in cahoots with a Mexican drug lord. Jack makes him by hour 60. You will finger him by hour 40. Me, since I’m Sherlockier than the both of you put together, I knew who the stinker was around hour… ah, but why gloat?

I bought this book at Target just because if felt so weird to buy a book at Target. Also I had a coupon.

Lee Child uses the word “therefore” a whole lot. So do all his speaking characters.

I will give you an example. The Mexican drug lord, a midget named Plato, requires Jack Reacher to take off his coat despite the -20° temperature before they both descend a narrow spiral staircase into an underground bunker where lots of MacGuffin is stored. Here’s how he replies when Jack demurs, protesting he’d rather wear his coat, that despite his great size (6′ 5″) and the bulk of his goose-down jacket, he knows from earlier experience that he can manage to squeeze down the cramped stairwell:

True. But you’re in civilian clothing. Therefore, no gun belt. The weather is cold and your coat is closed at the front. Therefore, your guns are in your outer pockets. I’m a smart guy. Therefore, I don’t wish to enter an unfamiliar environment with an armed adversary.

No one talks like this, not even midget Mexican drug lords. People say “so.” If you did a word search for the word “therefore” in 61 Hours, you would discover over five thousand instances. Too many therefores in my opinion. The proper number is stop it, Lee Child, just stop it.

One response to “61 Hours by Lee Child

  1. I agree, it was fairly easy to finger the inside perp by about hour 40 or so. The author misdirections were a tad obvious. Nevertheless, my interest was sustained by predicting next moves. (My batting average there was, in the overused style of Childs, neither high nor low.) Now I have to wait till October to see if my predictions on [SPOILER REDACTED] are anywhere near the mark. (Agreed, by the way, that some of Plato’s language is inauthentic. Pedantic language may be a sign of insecurity, and Plato has his issues, but still. I guess we can be thankful that Child, in his confused approach to Plato’s inner and outer dialogue, didn;t have him utter the word “indeed.”) Still, a delightful read and nice to see Reacher become more human and flawed in his self-reflections and certainly in his ceaseless whining about the cold. Was also surprised to hear of his undignified ending at the 110th!

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