“One Shot” proves that Lee Child always stays “in character”
Novels that have not yet made it to the big screen are vanishing rapidly. So as much as I can Irise to the occasion to withstand another blockbuster by another favorite actor and rush to read the novel first. I’m not offering an opinion here, because there’s no proof that seeing the movie first is necessarily a bad idea. I did not read Philip K. Dick before “Blade Runner”. I did not start reading J.G. Ballard until after “Empire Of The Sun”. But nowadays I try to do it the other way around. Just because I want to have the opportunity to imagine my own hero while reading, at least for a while. This really paid off with “One Shot” by Lee Child. I withstood the urge to go and see the “Jack Reacher” blockbuster and I’m glad I did. For a while I was submerged into a world that I felt very comfortable in. If there’s one thing I can say about Lee Child, it’s that he truly has found his “unique voice”. Many have described that as concise, but I am not sure if that’s always true. Surely Jack Reacher is a man of few words and if he says anything, it’s certainly concise. The dialog is not necessarily short; individual sentences are concise but there’s a lot of explaining going on, and whether or not you like that, depends on you. Child makes sure you don’t miss a point and therefore he makes some points twice; but it’s never boring because — and there we are — it is all “in character”. Jack Reacher is a man who knows that he’s smart and a lot of the time he is, and he’s smarter than most. So he develops his own theories by talking about them to different people throughout the novel, and this works wonderfully because Lee Child has the talent of staying “in character”. “One Shot” is full of turning points, surprises and insights into the backgrounds of characters, such as a couple of guys from the Gulag — I found those parts particularly chilling. The story is believable to the end. I enjoyed that. The biggest attraction of “One Shot” for me personally though was the ambiance. Lee Child takes his time to sketch a city that truly lived for me; I found the place almost palpable. The hotels, the parking garage, the office buildings, the neighborhoods either run down or upscaled, the highways, the dark bars, the shooting range, the fields… I’m glad I spend some time there. Lee Child writes with a singular vision and carries it through. See what you think.