Sam Leith praises Lee Child’s novels, saying everyone loves them cuz they’re just so awesome. “[Jack] Reacher incarnates both positive and negative liberty as set out by Isaiah Berlin: freedom to and freedom from.”
Raymond Chandler’s Marlowe and his literary offspring Spenser (from the hard-boiled American novelist Robert B. Parker) are paladins (Spenser: “My strength is as the strength of ten because my heart is pure”). Reacher is more like a masterless samurai: a ronin. He wanders hither and yon, like the Littlest Hobo or the A-Team, carrying his Bushido-style code of conduct with him like his folding toothbrush. He is entirely self-contained. He’s an island of extreme structure in a structureless world.
If you want an overview of Child’s Reacher novels, I’m sure this is a great one, but as we’ve seen before, not everyone loves them. (via Prufrock News)