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If ever I have read about the all-too-real fictional world of bodyguards in about 500 words, it is in The Bodyguard, a short story by Lee Child. In those initial paragraphs, the British author succinctly describes the life and work of a highly-trained bodyguard who quits the military to protect the rich, the famous and the powerful.
Written in the crisp and gripping style of his Jack Reacher novels, Child gives us a nameless bodyguard who could either be real or a phony, and the stakes that go with the unpredictable nature of his job; mostly looking out for automatic targets, the wealthy and the politically connected, and guarding them from kidnapping for ransom. Especially in South America where such abduction is a national sport.
A year after he quits his friend's agency and starts his own business, our bodyguard, "a medium-sized man, lean, fast, full of stamina," is hired by Anna, a 22-year-old rich and beautiful woman whose father is a Brazilian politician and businessman and her mother a television star. But the contract with Anna and a perilous trip to Brazil don't go according to plan.
The Bodyguard is well-written and entertaining, the incredulous turn of events towards the end adding to the pleasure and making it well worth reading. The 3,110-word story is part of First Thrills (2010), an anthology of thrilling stories—of murder, mystery and mayhem—by various authors, and edited by Lee Child himself.
I haven't read "The Bodyguard", but I think Lee Child is an excellent short story writer. I'm going to keep my eye out for this one.ReplyDelete
I agree, Ben. I like Lee Child's narrative style. It sucks the reader right into the story and keeps them there till the end.Delete
I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Prashant. Child is good at building tension and suspense. I've found, too, that with books like that, one's best off going along for the ride instead of expecting that everything will be absolutely credible. Some stories are better off enjoyed that way.ReplyDelete
True, Margot. Child is "good at building tension and suspense" even as it'd seem his matter-of-fact lead characters go about their business as if nothing had happened.Delete
Sounds like a good story, Prashant, and I would not mind trying other stories from that book. I haven't ever read a short story by Lee Child.ReplyDelete
It was a good story, Tracy. There are some other well-known authors too in the anthology, which I seldom read cover to cover. I will go back and read another story sometime.Delete
I’ve read and enjoyed a few of Lee Child’s books.ReplyDelete
Me too, Elgin. Only I have not read several of his Jack Reacher novels.Delete
I missed that anthology somehow--I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the tip!ReplyDelete
You're welcome, Fleur. I discovered it accidentally online. A good collection of stories, I think.Delete
I'll hopefully get a Reacher or two read this year. I think that might have been the intention for the past year or two and hasn't actually happened yet!ReplyDelete
Same here, Col. I plan to read more Jack Reacher novels this year.Delete