Mini Book Review: THE SENTINEL - by Lee Child

Jack Reacher gets off the bus in a sleepy no-name town outside Nashville, Tennessee. He plans to grab a cup of coffee and move right along.

Not going to happen.

The town has been shut down by a cyber attack. At the centre of it all, whether he likes it or not, is Rusty Rutherford. He's an average IT guy, but he knows more than he thinks.

As the bad guys move in on Rusty, Reacher moves in on them . . .

And now Rusty knows he's protected, he's never going to leave the big man's side.

Reacher might just have to stick around and find out what the hell's gone wrong . . . and then put it right, like only he can.


Published October 2020

Pages 367

Genres Adult | Contemporary fiction | Thriller | Mystery

Triggers/Content Advisory Adult themes | Violence.

Action thrillers are one of my favourite genres to read, and I've enjoyed Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels in the past. His larger-than-life hero always saves the day, there's always some poor underdog in need of rescue or a corrupt organisation in need of exposing, and there's something quite cinematic about Child's  stylised action scenes. But, this book (a joint venture with Child's brother, Andrew) didn't live up to its predecessors.  

Child's writing has always been comprised of fragmented sentences and choppy dialogue. Often, I think it lends a punch to the prose and works well. But in this novel I found it extreme; to the point where it's contrived and stilted, and just unnecessary for the scene. I don't think the writing was even good. The language was amateurish.  

It doesn't help that the dialogue is bad, too. It's so unrealistic and melodramatic, and maybe it's just me, but Reacher's character's voice has a sass and dry humour to it that isn't present in the previous books. It comes across unnaturally for him, and it's way too overdone throughout the novel. I found him annoying. 

I didn't find the story entertaining. The action is boring (has Reacher ever used this much "elbow!"?!) and the plot d r a g s along oh so slowly. It's confusing, tedious, and everything takes too long to get going - the only slightly entertaining part is towards the end, but that ends up being rushed and it also deescalates too quickly.  

The characters are boring and one-dimensional. And using names like Rusty Rutherford and Sarah Sands only makes them tacky, too. I couldn't invest in their journeys, nor sympathise with their struggles, and their personalities mesh together so no one is compelling or truly individualistic.  

The Sentinel is boring and melodramatic, and the characters are one-dimensional. 

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