… most of The Enemy concentrates on the widening military murder plot, and on defining Reacher as a determined enforcer. In a world full of changing boundaries and moral ambiguities, he emerges as a classic noir loner, and a very charismatic one, despite his willingness and ability to inflict damage on those who he thinks deserve it. It is worth underscoring that these books, while crackling with assertiveness, do not present Reacher as a loose cannon. They avoid the ugliness of an action hero with too free a hand.
The New York Times
The latest entry in what is arguably today's finest thriller series (Persuader, etc.) flashes back to series hero Jack Reacher's days in the military police. It's New Year's Eve 1990, the Soviet Union is about to collapse and the military is on tenterhooks, wondering how a changed globe will affect budgets and unit strengths, when the body of a two-star general is found in a motel near Fort Bird, N.C. Investigating is Reacher, 29, an MP major who's just been transferred from Panama-one of dozens of top MPs swapped into new posts on the same day, he later learns. Missing from the general's effects is a briefcase that, it's also revealed later, contained an agenda for a secret meeting of army honchos connected to an armored division. Then the general's wife is found bludgeoned to death at home and, soon after, a third body surfaces, of a slain gay Delta Force soldier whose murder contains clues pointing to Reacher as culprit. With Summer, a young black female lieutenant MP at his side (and, eventually, in his bed), Reacher digs deep, in his usual brilliant and violent way, butting against villainous superior officers, part of a grand conspiracy, as well as against members of Delta Force who think that Reacher killed their colleague. Unlike recent Reacher tales, the novel is as much mystery as thriller, as Reacher and Summer sift for and put together clues, but the tension is nonstop. There's a strong personal element as well, involving Reacher's relationship with his brother and dying mother, which will make the novel of particular interest to longstanding fans of the series. Textured, swift and told in Reacher's inimitably tough voice, this title will hit lists and will convince those who still need convincing that Child has few peers in thrillerdom. Agent, Darley Anderson. (May 11) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Child's growing legion of fans-eager to see what ex-military policeman Reacher (Persuader) will do next in the superlative suspense series-may be disappointed to find this eighth entry a prequel. But any letdown should be short-lived; Child is in fine form here, adding dimension to his protagonist that serves the series well. It is late 1989, and Reacher, then a 29-year-old special unit MP major, is suddenly transferred from Panama to a North Carolina base; he soon finds he's one of a score of such transfers. When a general en route to a conference dies in embarrassing circumstances at a nearby seedy motel, his wife is killed hours later, and two other murders follow, Reacher is on the move, seeking suspects and the missing conference agenda, which seems to be the key. Meanwhile, the Berlin Wall has just fallen, intraservice power struggles loom, fear of army force reduction is growing, and Reacher's mother, who hid a valiant background from her two sons, is dying of cancer in Paris. Reacher's family and the geopolitical backdrop add particular interest to the military setting; although it strains credulity to see suffer-no-fools loner Reacher in the army-insubordinate, operating independently, and taking justice into his own hands-Child's trademark smart story lines, crisp prose, and nonstop action with a slam-bang finish make this essential for popular fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/04.]-Michele Leber, Arlington, VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
The eighth Jack Reacher tale (Persuader, 2003, etc.) is a fabulously suspenseful prequel that reveals Reacher's character as he uncovers a homicidal cabal of military officers. On New Year's Eve 1990, Military Police Major Jack Reacher gets a call: a general is dead, evidently of a heart attack while having sex in a seedy motel near an isolated North Carolina Army base. The general and three subordinates had just arrived in the US from Germany and were en route to Fort Irwin, California. Why did the general take a 289-mile detour for a sleazy fling? Reacher crosses the road to a strip joint where he searches for the prostitute whose favors brought on the heart attack. After noticing other soldiers in the club, Reacher avenges a battered prostitute by beating up the joint's owner. Back at the base, Reacher gets another call: the general's wife has been bludgeoned to death during an apparent burglary of their Virginia home. Reacher teams up with Lieutenant Summer, an attractive, coolly competent black female MP, but finds few clues at the scene. Soon after, the hideously mutilated body of a Special Forces soldier whom Reacher saw at the strip joint is found. Not only had this soldier signed a complaint against Reacher about the fight at the club, but also his fatal injuries could have been inflicted only by a man of Reacher's strength and height. The Special Forces think Reacher killed him and have marked him for death. Then, suspense at its peak, Child takes Reacher and his brother Joe to Paris to visit their dying mother. Child merely touches on the mother-son relationship that has had so much to do with the rootless, brooding action hero Reacher has become. Then it's back to the action:another corpse, and uneasy undercurrents in Army bureaucracy that tell Reacher the post-USSR peace dividend will be anything but. Child has turned away from formulaic high-jinks to explore his characters instead: The result? His best so far.. . . Child, LincolnDEATH MATCHDoubleday (400 pp.)$24.95May 11, 2004
"A fabulously suspenseful prequel.... [Lee Child's] best so far."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Textured, swift, and told in Reacher's inimitably tough voice … Child has few peers in thrillerdom."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"The best showcase of Child's talent to date. .... one of the best thriller writers at work."—Rocky Mountain News
"The Enemy sizzles with suspense and action. Child sets a breathless pace."—Orlando Sentinel
"A rip-roaring read from the first page to the last ."—St. Petersburg Times
"[Jack Reacher is]. . .the thinking reader's action hero a surprisingly tender combination of chess master and G.I. Joe."—Seattle Times
"Will keep you guessing until the final page."—Playboy