Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Running Blind, by Lee Child

Running Blind, by Lee Child

This is one of the most conniving mysteries Child has crafted yet. A serial killer is killing harassment victims and Reacher fits the profile of the villain. The FBI first arrests him, and then co-opts him into helping with the investigation. This novel is unlike the other Reacher novels in many ways. We get a periodic view of things from the POV of the killer. Reacher owns a house and a car and is easily found by the FBI. Several large red herrings (normally all threads tie together in a Child novel; here they are all tied up but several are orthogonal to the main plot). Almost no gunfire, and very little in the way of fighting. Highly suspenseful, though, and very brutal in its own right even without the overt violence.

One of the things I really liked was the author gave a plausible reason for Reacher not sharing his theories of the crime. Detectives in books like this never share because that would spoil things for the reader, but here it is explained away due to the rocky relationship with the FBI. Reacher resents being forced to collaborate and thus refuses to talk more than he has to. Simple. The one part of this that didn’t ring true, though, was the poor FBI relationship in the first place. In a chronologically earlier novel Reacher did the FBI a huge solid, saving a Bureau rising star and earning the thanks of the Director himself. Here, Reacher is bullied and blackmailed into helping solve a case by that same organization. Going from gratitude to outright hostility seems unlikely at best, especially for an organization with a long memory like the FBI.

First Sentence:
People say that knowledge is power.

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