On saying nothing…

When I read my first Jack Reacher novel (61 hours, by Lee Child), one phrase struck me. It’s in every Reacher novel, sprinkled sparingly into the prose like a subtle spice.

Reacher said nothing.

Usually it’s in the midst of tense dialogue, at a point where nineteen out of twenty people, and thus most readers, would have said something. But Jack Reacher held his tongue. Not because he was afraid to speak, quite the reverse. It made me, as a reader, re-evaluate what I would have said, and come to the conclusion that Jack was right, it was better not to speak at this point. …