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Monday, November 11, 2019


Lee Child casts his improbable but hugely believable main character in a rip-roaring and very entertaining adventure in “Blue Moon”, the 24th novel in the Reacher series. (Review by Barry Meehan)

“This is a random universe,” says Jack Reacher in this great novel. “Once in a blue moon things turn out just right.” And in the best tradition of all the Jack Reacher novels, they do turn out better than just right. Master storyteller Lee Child casts his improbable but hugely believable main character in a rip-roaring and very entertaining adventure in Blue Moon, the 24th novel in the Reacher series.

If you’ve never read any of the Reacher novels before – and that would seem unlikely, given the fact that one of the previous 23 is sold somewhere in the world every nine seconds, with over one million copies sold in total – you don’t need to read the previous novels in sequence to appreciate this one. It stands alone, very much like Jack Reacher himself.

Blue Moon opens with the 6 foot 5 inch former military cop on a Greyhound Bus, heading for an unspecified city. He is keeping an eye on an elderly man who has fallen asleep in his seat, a fat envelope filled with cash hanging out of his pocket. But Reacher is not the only one watching the sleeping man. A second passenger has his eye on the man, obviously hoping for a quick score of the cash.

When the second passenger makes his move at the first stop on the Greyhound route, Reacher is quick to effect a rescue. The old man is very grateful, but insists that he needs no more help from Reacher, even though he is obviously very scared, and clearly in some serious trouble. Reacher – in his inimitable style as a force for good, the helper of the downtrodden – sees the man home and establishes the facts behind the man’s dire situation.

The story unfolds at breakneck speed, as rival Ukranian and Albanian gangs compete with each other for control of the lucrative graft, protection, money-lending and prostitution rackets within the city, Battle lines are clearly demarcated until Reacher arrives squarely in the middle, determined to put an end to the old man’s misery, as well as those around him in the same predicament.

There are twists and turns a-plenty in Blue Moon, along with non-stop action, the almost obligatory romantic interlude, and some wonderful moments of comedy – all ingredients that can only be dished up by Lee Child, an absolute master of his craft.

The only mistake – in my humble opinion – that has been made in the Jack Reacher series, was giving Tom Cruise the rights to play Reacher in two movies – One Shot (2012) and Never Go Back (2016). The great thing about Jack Reacher is that he has the ability to make people uneasy when he walks into a situation owing to his size and stature, intimidating to those present. Cruise is 10 inches shorter than Reacher, even in platform shoes, and is much smaller in stature, so the movies were fatally flawed from the get-go. This was unfortunately one of those occasions for people to say “Sorry, Tom, but size does matter”!

The good news for Reacher fans around the world, though, is that a TV adaptation of the first movie is said to be in the works. Child promises that the small-screen adaptation will correct the apparent wrongs of the movie, so this will certainly be something to look forward to!

Blue Moon is published by PenguinRandomHouse. ISBN: 9781787630277, Recommended Retail Price R290. – Barry Meehan