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“Hope for the best, plan for the worst.”
• Never count on anything except surprise and unpredictability and danger.
• Ring doorbells with your knuckles or elbows to avoid leaving fi ngerprints.
• Sit in diners or bars with your back to the wall so you cannot be surprised from behind.
• Keep all exits in view.
• Walk up the edge of stairs to minimize the chances of loud creaks. Stairs squeak at their centers where they’re weakest.
• Go to bed fully clothed so you are always ready for action.
• Never look through peepholes in doors. Someone could be on the other side, waiting to see the glass darken and shoot you in the eye.
“We’re making an omelette here . . . we’re going to have to break some eggs.”
“Optimism is good. Blind faith is not.”
• Always lift a door handle upward. If a door squeaks, it’s because it’s dropped on its hinges. Upward pressure helps.
• Climb through a hole feetfirst. If there’s an ax or a bullet waiting, better to take it in the legs than in the head.
• If someone’s likely to shoot at you, plant yourself in the middle of a restaurant full of innocent people.
“Most guys who don’t check new equipment are still alive, but by no means all of them.”
• Never trust a weapon you haven’t personally test-fired.
• After you use a car to commit a crime, get it cleaned thoroughly, inside and out, twice, then make sure you leave no DNA.
• Always have a penny in your pocket—you never know when you’re going to need it to unscrew a pair of license plates.
• If you are climbing up toward a trapdoor into an uncertain situation, catapult yourself up the last eighteen feet as fast as you can.
“The less I relax, the luckier I get.”
THINGS YOU’LL NEVER HEAR REACHER SAY
Sorry, I’ve forgotten my watch.
First thing to do before attacking a lock is to check that it’s not already open. Nothing will make you feel stupider than picking a lock that’s not locked.
The bigger and more ornate the lock, the easier it is to pick.
“Get a problem, solve a problem.”
Iron bars protecting a window can be forced open with a tire iron. Force it into the siding next to one of the screws. Make a shallow dent in the metal, shove the iron in sideways and under the bars, and haul on it until it gives.
For a door with a glass panel, use the sole of your shoe to break a hole in the glass, then reach through to the handle.
To kick a door down: take a run toward the door, making sure to stay upright, and with your dominant leg kick the area below the doorknob hard, using your sole or your heel.
(NB: All these techniques are most successful when there’s no one home.)
“A magazine he knew to be full, in a gun he knew to be working. A sensible step for a man who planned to live through the next
• Next to a shotgun, a pool cue is the best weapon in a fight.
• A handgun at two hundred feet is the same thing as crossing your fingers and making a wish.
• No point in having a weapon at all unless it’s ready for instant use.
• Don’t trust a .38-caliber revolver. You can’t rely on them to put a guy down.
• A chisel plunged into the back of your head is going to seriously ruin your day.
>>HOW TO USE A CIGARETTE AS AN EFFECTIVE WEAPON
Take quick, deep pulls to heat the coal on the end of the cigarette up to a couple thousand degrees. When it has lengthened to a point like an arrow, apply quickly to a vulnerable part of the body. Such as an eye.
• Rolls of quarters in your fi sts—good old- fashioned technology.
• Choose the weapon you know for sure is in working order.
• The longer a barrel, the straighter it shoots.
• A cup of hot coffee is also a weapon in the right hands.
“Twelve-gauge lead shots settle most disputes at the first time of asking.”
• The best way to get hold of a random untraceable gun is to steal it from someone who already stole it. That way there are no offi cial comebacks.
• Keep a gun with a single shell locked in the chamber and all the other bullets loose. More jams are caused by tired magazine springs than any other single reason.
>>CREATING A WEAPON FROM A CERAMIC BATHROOM TILE
Sharpen it into the shape of a knife. A bathroom tile, being entirely ceramic, is harder than anything except a diamond. Harder than steel, sharper than steel. And it won’t trigger a metal detector.
THINGS YOU’LL NEVER SEE REACHER DO
Fill in an insurance form
the united states army military police
Law-enforcement branch of the United States Army, established to:
• maintain discipline and securityin the Army
• protect supply routes and guard prisoners
• act as a fighting force in combat
• act as peacekeepers at war’s end
• aid disaster relief
• manage internal security
• uphold democracy
It is one of the most deployed branches of the Army.
“I don’t come from anywhere. I come from a place called Military.”
MPs are also known as Snowdrops.
The United States Army Military Police were given the affectionate nickname Snowdrops by British soldiers and civilians during the Second World War. It came from their white helmets.
MPs are also sometimes less affectionately called Chimps (Completely Hopeless in Most Policing Situations).
assist, protect, defend
“If in doubt, drink coffee.”
• Nothing’s too urgent for coffee.
• A bad coffee mug has a thick lip—too wide, too shallow, too much mass—it will cool the drink too fast.
• A good coffee mug is cylindrical in shape, narrow in relation to its height and with a thin lip.
“I love coffee. Give me the chance and I drink coffee like an alcoholic drinks vodka.”
Coffee tastes better if the latrines are dug downstream from an encampment.
U.S. Army Field Regulations, 1861
“The Reacher brothers’ need for caffeine made heroin addiction look like a little take-it-or-leave-it sideline.”
• Ignore the fancy brews and get a tall house blend, black, no cream.
• It’s all about the caffeine.
• Coffee keeps you awake. Until you want to go to sleep.
• Never say no to a cup of coffee.
THINGS YOU’LL NEVER HEAR REACHER SAY
No more coffee for me.
>>FIVE FACTS ABOUT COFFEE
1. The earliest recorded evidence of coffee drinking was in the middle of the fifteenth century in Yemen.
2. Drinking coffee increases short-term recall, and decreases the risk of gout in men over the age of forty.
3. After petroleum, coffee is the second most traded product in the world.
4. In North America and Europe the quantity of coffee drunk is about a third of that of tap water.
5. Finland consumes more coffee per head than any other country.
“I’m not scared of anybody . . . But certainly I preferred it when he was dead.”
• Some things are worth being afraid of. And some things are not.
• To be afraid of a survivable thing is irrational.
• Focus on the job at hand.
“Reacher didn’t like crowds. He was a mild agoraphobic— from agora, the Greek word for a crowded public marketplace. Random crowds . . . organized crowds . . . riots and revolutions. A crowd is like the largest animal on earth—the heaviest, the hardest to control, the hardest to stop.”
• A courageous guy is someone who feels the fear but conquers it.
“Why are you going back?” “Because they told me not to.”
“Sometimes if you want to know if the stove is hot the only way to find out is to touch it.”
• Try not to get trapped in the dark in close, tight spaces.
“He was a guy who survived most things, and he was a guy who was rarely afraid. But he had known since his early boyhood that he was terrified of being trapped in the dark in a space too small to turn his giant frame. All his damp childhood nightmares had been about being closed into tight spaces.”
• Confront your enemies.
• Take things exactly as they come, for exactly what they are.
• Analyze your fear; it’s probably not rational.
• Turn your fear into aggression.
“You see something scary, you should stand up and step toward it, not away from it. Instinctively, reflexively, in a raging fury.”
THINGS YOU’LL NEVER HEAR REACHER SAY
My knees are trembling and my hands are shaking.
No one lives forever
“I’m not afraid of death, death’s afraid of me.”
• It’s a part of life, missing the dead.
“People live and then they die, and as long as they do both things properly, there’s nothing much to regret.”
• Life’s a bitch and then you die.
• Soldiers contemplate death. They live with it, they accept it. They expect it. But deep down they want it to be fair.
“In his head Reacher had always known he would die. Every human does. But in his heart he had never really imagined it.”
• The meaning of life is that it ends.
• Get into their minds, think like them.
• Try birthdays, wedding anniversaries, house numbers; these are the passwords most people use.
• Most people can’t remember all their passwords. If you look, you can find where they’ve written them down.
• Try two-digit prime numbers, or the number whose square root is the sum of its digits.
• Watch the position of their fingers when keying in a code so you can copy it.
The perfect PIN:
“I’d probably write out my birthday, month, day, year, and find the nearest prime number. Actually that would be a problem, because there would be two equally close, one exactly seven less and one exactly seven more. So I guess I’d use the square root instead, rounded to three decimal places. Ignore the decimal point; that would give me six numbers, all different.”
“Passwords come from down deep.”
“I like dogs. If I livedor four.”
• Don't leave dogs out overnight in a place where there are mountain lions. That's a sure way of having no dogs in the morning.
• Remember, dogs are different from people, no free will, easily misled. But on reflection—that not different.
“You don’t buy a dog and bark yourself.”
• Never show fear when facing fi ghting dogs.
• Don’t run away from dogs, walk.
• Dogs trained to attack will attack anything that moves—including you.
• When confronted by two or more dogs, be aware that like people, dogs have a pecking order. With two dogs, one of them has to be superior to the other, and will attack fi rst.
• You can intimidate a dog and show him who’s boss by baring your teeth.
“You don’t throw my friends out of helicoptersand live to tell the tale.”
• Hit early, hit hard.
• Stand with your back to the sun so that it’s in your enemy’s eyes.
• Make the first shot count.
• Get your retaliation in first; show them who they’re dealing with.
• Say you’ll count to three—then throw your punch at two.
• Never revive a guy who has just pulled a gun on you.
• Train yourself to use aggression in the face of danger.
“Soon as he was neutralized, it was two against one. And I’ve never had a problem with those kind of odds.”
• When confronted by two or more opponents, know that the one who does all the talking is the leader. Hit him first and hit him hard; then the others will think twice.
• Cheat. The gentlemen who behaved decently aren’t there to train anybody. They are already dead.
“Then I cheated. Instead of counting three I headbutted him full in the face.”
• If plan A doesn’t work, move on to plan B.
• If you have to fi ght five guys, then identify the ringleader. Any five guys will have one ringleader, two enthusiastic followers, and two reluctant followers. Put the ringleader down, and both of the keen sidekicks, and it’s over. The reluctant pair just run for it. It never gets worse than three-on-one.
“Attacking me was like pushing open a forbidden door. What waited on the other side was his problem.”
• Look at each opponent in turn. Serene self-confidence works wonders.
• Try not to get into a fight when you’ve just put on clean clothes.
• Stay alive, and see what the next minute brings.
• Never get distracted from the job at hand.
• Use the first precious second for the first precious blow. Fight, and win. Fight, and win.
• Don’t think ahead—if you think about the aftermath, you usually don’t get that far.
• Make the first shot count.
"His eyes were closed, which made it not much of a fair fight, but those are always my favorite kind.”
• Make the first shot count.
• Look like you mean it, and people back off a lot.
.When you pull the gun, from that point on it’s all or nothing.
.The best fights are the ones you don’t have.
.Be on your feet and ready.
.Assess and evaluate.
.Show them what they’re messing with.
.Identify the ringleader.
.The ringleader is the one who always moves fi rst.
.Act, don’t react.
.Never back off.
.Don’t break the furniture.
“He had no prejudice against fast food. Better than slow food, for a traveling man.”
• Don’t eat before you go into an Army postmortem.
• You need protein and fats and sugars, it doesn’t matter where they come from.
• Eat when you can, because you never know when you will next get the chance.
• Be friendly with the cookhouse detail.
“I’m a big guy . . . I need nutrition.”
• Eat and plan.
• Always eat a perfect breakfast: pancakes. Egg on the top, bacon on the side, plenty of syrup. And plenty of coffee.
• Before a night of action and stress, go for empty calories, fats, and complex carbohydrates: pizza and soda.
“His threshold of culinary acceptability was very low, but right then he felt as if he might have been pushing at the bottom edge of his personal envelope.”