I have been addicted to Lee Child as of late and wanted to comment on what's so special about this particular author.
I actually started reading with his latest book, Hard luck and trouble. Now, this is his 11th (pretty sure) Jack Reacher novel, yet I had no trouble understanding who Jack Reacher was. The beauty of Lee Child is not only that he has you turning the page (and staying up reading into the wee hours of the morning), but you can start with any Jack Reacher novel and never feel lost.
How does he do this so well, you ask? He knows Jack Reacher, inside and out. He's given Jack distinct characteristics that you pick up on right away. Character outlines, my little beasties, character outlines.
The page turning? That's easy. Short chapters with ultimate suspense hanging at the end of each one. Each chapter builds to an extreme. Short, clipped sentences keep the pace at a breakneck speed.
Even if you don't write within Child's genre, he's definitely a writer to take note of because he's a perfect example of someone who keeps the story on a basic path without straying, while keeping the readers attention intact from the first word to the last.