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September 23, 2014 / Leslie

Review – Audiobook: Personal by Lee Child

PersonalPersonal: A Jack Reacher Novel
by Lee Child

Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Random House / Delacorte | September 2014
Format: Audio, 13 hours | Print, 368 pages
Audio Listening Level: Easy – Intermediate
Rating: 4 of 5

From the Publisher

Jack Reacher walks alone. Once a go-to hard man in the US military police, now he’s a drifter of no fixed abode. But the army tracks him down. Because someone has taken a long-range shot at the French president. Only one man could have done it. And Reacher is the one man who can find him.

About the Story

Jack Reacher is on a bus to Seattle when he finds a discarded copy of the Army Times. He picks it up and flips through it and in the personal ads he sees one with his name in it – a large box in the center of the page in bold print: Jack Reacher call Rick Shoemaker.

Reacher owed Shoemaker a favor, so he found a pay phone – yes, a pay phone, he doesn’t carry a phone, or much of anything else for that matter – and made the call. The military needs his help. Someone took a long-range shot at the French President. Only four snipers in the world could make that shot and one of them is an American who was just released from jail. Reacher was the guy who put him away fifteen years ago.

My Thoughts:

Reacher teams up with Casey Nice, a young, an inexperienced female operative from the US State Department, and they set out to find their guy. Most of the action takes place in Paris and London rather than being set in the United States. Although Reacher was born and raised overseas and is familiar with the territory, this is a change from previous novels.

This book was a different from the usual high-octane adventure Reacher is known for. The story was fairly low-key as thrillers go with not as much action as the usual Reacher novel, but still plenty for my tastes. There are lots of gangsters and thugs and evil ex-military guys to defeat. The pacing is quick, the dialog sprinkled with humorous quips and the plot moves quickly as Reacher proceeds to get things done – his way.

This is the nineteenth book in the Reacher series, and while he may be showing a few signs of slowing down, Reacher is still the guy I most want to have on the bus in the event of trouble.

Audio Production

The narration was performed by Dick Hill who has read many, if not all, of the previous novels and is the voice of Reacher for many fans. Pacing was good, I enjoyed the ‘bad guy’ voices, but his female voice for Casey was just OK. Male narrators performing female dialog rarely works for me.

This is the first full-length Reacher novel I’ve listened to rather than read and for me the performance was good but not spectacular. That is mostly due to my own expectations of what Reacher should sound like. Personal is written in the first person, and as Hill read the lines for Reacher he often sounded snarky and at times ambivalent. I still enjoyed it – I listen to a lot of audio and have a lot of narrators to compare each performance with in my own mind. Listen to a sample and decide for yourself…

Audio Sample

Source: Review copy from the publisher.
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Leave a Comment
  1. BermudaOnion / Sep 23 2014 9:50 am

    I read one Reacher book and just thought it was okay. After that, a Reacher lover told me I’d read the weakest book in the series. Just my luck. I need to give the series another try.


  2. Suko / Sep 23 2014 12:50 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed this audiobook,Leslie, despite a few reservations.


  3. I’m curious about this series and this sounds pretty interesting. I’ll definitely have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!


  4. stacybuckeye / Oct 5 2014 9:55 pm

    Who finds a discarded Army Times on a bus that happens to have your name in it, LOL! It doesn’t really matter because I’ll read any Reacher book no matter how ridiculous 🙂 I’m only a little over halfway through the series.



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