“The Affair” takes us right back to the start of the Jack Reacher story. In the first novel “Killing Floor“, published back in 1997, we meet Reacher trying to find his way in the alien world outside the army he has always known. We know that Reacher left the army with the rank of Major in the Military Police and that something caused him to leave. In this book we finally find out what happened on his final mission.
In this book Jack is a little stiffer than we have come to know him, he trusts the army way and is out to save the army’s reputation. We know that in his future this will not always be the case. There are also some nice moments in this story which because it is his first mission undercover pretending to be a civilian he needs to discover certain civilian ways of doing things – like how to dress, where to get clothes, how to get money from a bank and of course how much luggage you really need…. a toothbrush.
Child is a writer who puts in nothing that doesn’t need to be there. The plot follows a strict chronological order and moves directly from one scene to the next with hardly a breath. Everything is from Reacher’s point of view and characters are only as developed as they become through his eyes. There is no back story for each person or what they are thinking other than what Reacher thinks they are thinking. All of which makes these books a very easy and good read.
This is the 16th Jack Reacher book and the second prequel which makes it a little more difficult to recommend where someone new to these stories should start. There is of course the published order, which would start with “Killing Floor” or you could start with “The Enemy“, which is a prequel set at some point while Jack Reacher was still a serving MP, and now this book “The Affair” which is set just prior to what happens in “Killing Floor” whichever order you choose I would highly recommend reading this character!
PS there is one more option, you could just read “One Shot” (book 9) since it is currently being made into a movie due for release in 2013 with the remarkably miss-cast Tom Cruse taking the role of Jack Reacher.