Book Thoughts: Reacher, Murder and More Murder

With no phone or laptop I had to find another way of procrastinating which is how I ended up devouring three books over the weekend. I’m not going to give them a proper review or anything, I just wanted to share some of my thoughts about them because they all seemed to lead into each other fairly well.

The Midnight Line – Lee Child

I’d been looking forward to reading the latest Jack Reacher thriller for a while so when my mum finally put it down I swooped in. Reacher is one of my favourite characters and I love almost every single of these books, but Make Me put me off a little so I was unsure what to expect this time.

The premise of this one is that he finds a West Point class ring in a pawn shop and decides to trace the original owner, which naturally leads him into deeper trouble. I liked how it didn’t immediately start off with a big ‘oh no, crime!’ moment but a smaller yet intriguing mystery that grew. It felt slower than the others but that wasn’t entirely unwelcome.

Less welcome was the constant reflection on what the woman from the last book was doing. I think it’s trying to show Reacher is getting older and more introspective perhaps but I don’t really remember that woman and I didn’t care about her so it began to get annoying, especially when one of the best things about the series is how they read well as a stand-alone.

Things didn’t tie together as neatly as I was expecting and left me wondering if the female detective would later return but overall it was still a really enjoyable read. Veteran Reacher fans would probably love it still but for newbies it’s probably not the best starting point.

A Criminal Defence – William L Myers Jr

I found this randomly around the house and picked it up because I like Ace Attorney, which is pretty silly since they’re so different.

The first thing I noticed was that I hate the style. I don’t like to say things are bad just because I don’t like them, but I will say it felt incredibly melodramatic. I had zero empathy with any characters at all so felt like I was watching everything with mild interest and a lot of the time I found supposedly dramatic moments just funny.

Despite this, I got drawn into the case. Basically, there’s a defence lawyer and his former best friend is accused of murder. Everything and everyone is suspicious and they do highly questionable things to try save him. It gets unexpectedly sordid towards the end but nothing too shocking for an adult book. There are lots of twists that are interesting but not shocking as you aren’t led in a particular direction anyway. I won’t give too much away but I will say that it’s not one you can work out the solution to yourself unless you’re incredibly good at random guesses.

If you like solving mysteries it’s probably not for you. If you like watching unpleasant people attempt to out-clever each other then go ahead.

Good Me Bad Me – Ali Land

I bought this a while back but the mood to read it didn’t strike me until I finished A Criminal Defence and I saw it in my room. It didn’t take very long to read but it’s one of those ones that doesn’t end when you think it’s going to.

It’s about a girl in a foster home and her mother was a serial killer. From the start I was gripped and it has just the right blend of gruesome detail and space for your imagination to do its worst. It kept me on edge constantly, especially with the bullying scenes (they always freak me out for some reason) and I think it did a great job of creating a protagonist I could both root for and fear.

However, like in A Criminal Defence there are things that are sprung without any warning and that’s a pet peeve of mine. I love unexpected twists, as long as all the pieces were in hiding plain view all along. It’s not a major problem in this book though and one I can easily ignore considering how well written it is overall.

I’d definitely recommend this book (not to the faint hearted) but personally I wouldn’t want to read it alone in the dark. If you’ve got stronger nerves than me and enjoy feeling spooked then it’ll be great for these cold winter nights.

Have you read any of these? What did you think? What should I read next? Any Reacher fans? Let me know in the comments


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