The Hard Way (Jack Reacher) by Lee Child

Due to the decrease in the size of the American military since the Cold War, private military contractors seem to be an inevitable necessity. However, in his latest book titled The Hard Way, author Lee Child argues that private military contractors are simply villainous military dropouts who are generally void of any morality. Child clearly believes the U.S. government should not be utilizing the services of private military contractors.

The use of private military contractors is certainly a political issue. In past interviews, Child claimed he tried to leave politics out of his books (see here and here), however, there have always been political statements in each of his books; sometimes Child was subtle with his political views and sometimes he would bash his readers over the head. Child’s Jack Reacher series (The Hard Way is book #10 of the Jack Reacher series) is certainly entertaining, but the series is in no way void of Child’s political opinions.

Child’s political opinions are liberal. Child claimed that Reacher (the main character in the book) is about 50% conservative simply because the character is against gun control, however, Child’s books are liberal in nature overall. For example, in an interview with Robert Bidinotto, Child generalizes all Southern people as “rednecks” (see here). Child also claimed that Reacher’s violent behavior engenders the character among the “rednecks.” Child’s negative feelings about the South and about conservatives are made clear throughout his writings. Child misleads his readers when he claims that his writings are semi-conservative.

In spite of Child’s obvious political overtones, his writing is incredibly entertaining. In each book in the Jack Reacher series, Child provides an excellent retelling of an age-old story; a mysterious character appears in the scene just in time to help someone in need. Child’s characters walk a fine line between the plausible and the implausible, delivering a truly enjoyable experience. The Jack Reacher character holds to his own form of justice in which he is the judge, jury, and executioner allowing for exciting action that takes place just outside (and sometimes way outside) the law.

The Hard Way by Lee Child is entertaining and well worth the quick read, especially to those who love the Mystery/Thriller genre. Child’s liberal political views are expressed unashamedly throughout his writings in spite of the fact that Child claimed he tried to avoid political issues. Regardless of the political overtones, The Hard Way is worth the read because it is highly entertaining.


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