The cop climbed out of his car exactly four minutes before he got shot. He moved like he knew his fate in advance. He pushed the door against the resistance of a stiff hinge and swiveled slowly on the worn vinyl seat and planted both feet flat on the road. Then he grasped the door frame with both hands and heaved himself up and out. He stood in the cold clear air for a second and then turned and pushed the door shut again behind him. Held still for a second longer. Then he stepped forward and leaned against the side of the hood up near the headlight.
In this opening paragraph of Persuader, even if you know nothing about Jack Reacher or the "I" you know something, quite a lot in fact, about what kind of person this guy is. You don't know it cause he tells you. You don't know it cause someone else says it. You know it because of what he notices, or doesn't, and how he describes it.
You know Reacher is watching closely; you know he knows something about cops. Notice he never says "I knew this" or "I watched him get out of the car". You're just inside his head and careful choice of language and focus lets you know what Jack Reacher is about.
He combines this exquisite elegance with an almost laconic unfolding of plot. By page four the cop is shot; page 10 the plot has turned, and page 18 it's turned yet again. By the time I got to page 18 you could not have paid me to stop reading.
This is what lifts Lee Child out of "good" into "stellar" for me.
I often times tell you about books that I think writers should study for insight into the craft. This one is on that list.