Six shots. Five dead. One heartland city thrown into a state of terror. But within hours the cops have it solved: a slam-dunk case. Except for one thing. The accused man says: You got the wrong guy. Then he says: Get Reacher for me.
And sure enough, ex—military investigator Jack Reacher is coming. He knows this shooter–a trained military sniper who never should have missed a shot. Reacher is certain something is not right–and soon the slam-dunk case explodes.
Now Reacher is teamed with a beautiful young defense lawyer, moving closer to the unseen enemy who is pulling the strings. Reacher knows that no two opponents are created equal. This one has come to the heartland from his own kind of hell. And Reacher knows that the only way to take him down is to match his ruthlessness and cunning–and then beat him shot for shot.
About the Author
Date of Birth:1954
Place of Birth:Coventry, England
Read an Excerpt
By Lee Child
Random HouseLee Child
All right reserved.
C H A P T E R 2
Reacher was on his way to them because of a woman. He had spent Friday night in South Beach, Miami, in a salsa club, with a dancer from a cruise ship. The boat was Norwegian, and so was the girl. Reacher guessed she was too tall for ballet, but she was the right size for everything else. They met on the beach in the afternoon. Reacher was working on his tan. He felt better brown. He didn't know what she was working on. But he felt her shadow fall across his face and opened his eyes to find her staring at him. Or maybe at his scars. The browner he got, the more they stood out, white and wicked and obvious. She was pale, in a black bikini. A small black bikini. He pegged her for a dancer long before she told him. It was in the way she held herself.
They ended up having a late dinner together and then going out to the club. South Beach salsa wouldn't have been Reacher's first choice, but her company made it worthwhile. She was fun to be with. And she was a great dancer, obviously. Full of energy. She wore him out. At four in the morning she took him back to her hotel, eager to wear him out some more. Her hotel was a small Art Deco place near the ocean. Clearly the cruise line treated its people well. Certainly it was a much more romantic destination than Reacher's own motel. And much closer.
And it had cable television, which Reacher's place didn't. He woke at eight on Saturday morning when he heard the dancer in the shower. He turned on the TV and went looking for ESPN. He wanted Friday night's American League highlights. He never found them. He clicked his way through successive channels and then stopped dead on CNN because he heard the chief of an Indiana police department say a name he knew: James Barr. The picture was of a press conference. Small room, harsh light. Top of the screen was a caption that said: Courtesy NBC. There was a banner across the bottom that said: Friday Night Massacre. The police chief said the name again, James Barr, and then he introduced a homicide detective called Emerson. Emerson looked tired. Emerson said the name for a third time: James Barr. Then, like he anticipated the exact question in Reacher's mind, he ran through a brief biography: Forty-one years old, local Indiana resident, U.S. Army infantry specialist from 1985 to 1991, Gulf War veteran, never married, currently unemployed.
Reacher watched the screen. Emerson seemed like a concise type of a guy. He was brief. No bullshit. He finished his statement and in response to a reporter's question declined to specify what if anything James Barr had said during interrogation. Then he introduced a District Attorney. This guy's name was Rodin, and he wasn't concise. Wasn't brief. He used plenty of bullshit. He spent ten minutes claiming Emerson's credit for himself. Reacher knew how that worked. He had been a cop of sorts for thirteen years. Cops bust their tails, and prosecutors bask in the glory. Rodin said James Barr a few more times and then said the state was maybe looking to fry him.
A local anchor called Ann Yanni came on. She recapped the events of the night before. Sniper slaying. Senseless slaughter. An automatic weapon. A parking garage. A public plaza. Commuters on their way home after a long workweek. Five dead. A suspect in custody, but a city still grieving.
Reacher thought it was Yanni who was grieving. Emerson's success had cut her story short. She signed off and CNN went to political news. Reacher turned the TV off. The dancer came out of the bathroom. She was pink and fragrant. And naked. She had left her towels inside.
"What shall we do today?" she said, with a wide Norwegian smile.
"I'm going to Indiana," Reacher said.
He walked north in the heat to the Miami bus depot. Then he leafed through a greasy timetable and planned a route. It wasn't going to be an easy trip. Miami to Jacksonville would be the first leg. Then Jacksonville to New Orleans. Then New Orleans to St. Louis. Then St. Louis to Indianapolis. Then a local bus, presumably, south into the heartland. Five separate destinations. Arrival and departure times were not well integrated. Beginning to end, it was going to take more than forty-eight hours. He was tempted to fly or rent a car, but he was short of money and he liked buses better and he figured nothing much was going to happen on the weekend anyway.
What happened on the weekend was that Rosemary Barr called her firm's investigator back. She figured Franklin would have a semiindependent point of view. She got him at home, ten o'clock in the morning on the Sunday.
"I think I should hire different lawyers," she said.
Franklin said nothing.
"David Chapman thinks he's guilty," Rosemary said. "Doesn't he?
So he's already given up."
"I can't comment," Franklin said. "He's one of my employers."
Now Rosemary Barr said nothing.
"How was the hospital?" Franklin asked.
"Awful. He's in intensive care with a bunch of prison deadbeats. They've got him handcuffed to the bed. He's in a coma, for God's sake. How do they think he's going to escape?"
"What's the legal position?"
"He was arrested but not arraigned. He's in a kind of limbo.
They're assuming he wouldn't have gotten bail."
"They're probably right."
"So they claim under the circumstances it's like he actually didn't get bail. So he's theirs. He's in the system. Like a twilight zone."
"What would you like to happen?"
"He shouldn't be in handcuffs. And he should be in a VA hospital at least. But that won't happen until I find a lawyer who's prepared to help him."
Franklin paused. "How do you explain all the evidence?"
"I know my brother."
"You moved out, right?"
"For other reasons. Not because he's a homicidal maniac."
"He blocked off a parking space," Franklin said. "He premeditated this thing."
"You think he's guilty, too."
"I work with what I've got. And what I've got doesn't look good."
Rosemary Barr said nothing.
"I'm sorry," Franklin said.
"Can you recommend another lawyer?"
"Can you make that decision? Do you have a power of attorney?"
"I think it's implied. He's in a coma. I'm his next of kin."
"How much money have you got?"
"How much has he got?"
"There's some equity in his house."
"It won't look good. It'll be like a kick in the teeth for the firm you work for."
"I can't worry about that."
"You could lose everything, including your job."
"I'll lose it anyway, unless I help James. If he's convicted, they'll let me go. I'll be notorious. By association. An embarrassment."
"He had your sleeping pills," Franklin said.
"I gave them to him. He doesn't have insurance."
"Why did he need them?"
"He has trouble sleeping."
Franklin said nothing.
"You think he's guilty," Rosemary said.
"The evidence is overwhelming," Franklin said.
"David Chapman isn't really trying, is he?"
"You have to consider the possibility that David Chapman is right."
"Who should I call?"
"Try Helen Rodin," he said.
"She's the DA's daughter."
"I don't know her."
"She's downtown. She just hung out her shingle. She's new and she's keen."
"Is it ethical?"
"No law against it."
"It would be father against daughter."
"It was going to be Chapman, and Chapman knows Rodin a lot better than his daughter does, probably. She's been away for a long time."
"College, law school, clerking for a judge in D.C."
"Is she any good?"
"I think she's going to be."
Rosemary Barr called Helen Rodin on her office number. It was like a test. Someone new and keen should be at the office on a Sunday.
Helen Rodin was at the office on a Sunday. She answered the call sitting at her desk. Her desk was secondhand and it sat proudly in a mostly empty two-room suite in the same black glass tower that had NBC as the second-floor tenant. The suite was rented cheap through one of the business subsidies that the city was throwing around like confetti. The idea was to kick-start the rejuvenated downtown area and clean up later with healthy tax revenues.
Rosemary Barr didn't have to tell Helen Rodin about the case because the whole thing had happened right outside Helen Rodin's new office window. Helen had seen some of it for herself, and she had followed the rest on the news afterward. She had caught all of Ann Yanni's TV appearances. She recognized her from the building's lobby, and the elevator.
"Will you help my brother?" Rosemary Barr asked.
Helen Rodin paused. The smart answer would be No way. She knew that. Like No way, forget about it, are you out of your mind? Two reasons. One, she knew a major clash with her father was inevitable at some point, but did she need it now? And two, she knew that a new lawyer's early cases defined her. Paths were taken that led down fixed routes. To end up as a when-all-else-fails criminal-defense attorney would be OK, she guessed, all things considered. But to start out by taking a case that had offended the whole city would be a marketing disaster. The shootings weren't being seen as a crime. They were being seen as an atrocity. Against humanity, against the whole community, against the rejuvenation efforts downtown, against the whole idea of being from Indiana. It was like LA or New York or Baltimore had come to the heartland, and to be the person who tried to excuse it or explain it away would be a fatal mistake. Like a mark of Cain. It would follow her the rest of her life.
"Can we sue the jail?" Rosemary Barr asked. "For letting him get hurt?"
Helen Rodin paused again. Another good reason to say no. An unrealistic client.
"Maybe later," she said. "Right now he wouldn't generate much sympathy as a plaintiff. And it's hard to prove damages, if he's heading for death row anyway."
"Then I can't pay you much," Rosemary Barr said. "I don't have money."
Helen Rodin paused for a third time. Another good reason to say no. It was a little early in her career to be contemplating pro bono work.
But. But. But.
The accused deserved representation. The Bill of Rights said so. And he was innocent until proven guilty. And if the evidence was as bad as her father said it was, then the whole thing would be little more than a supervisory process. She would verify the case against him independently. Then she would advise him to plead guilty. Then she would watch his back as her father fed him through the machine. That was all. It could be seen as honest dues-paying. A constitutional chore. She hoped.
"OK," she said.
"He's innocent," Rosemary Barr said. "I'm sure of it."
They always are, Helen Rodin thought.
"OK," she said again. Then she told her new client to meet her in her office at seven the next morning. It was like a test. A sister who really believed in her brother's innocence would show up for an early appointment.
Rosemary Barr showed up right on time, at seven o'clock on Monday morning. Franklin was there, too. He believed in Helen Rodin and was prepared to defer his bills until he saw which way the wind was blowing. Helen Rodin herself had already been at her desk for an hour. She had informed David Chapman of the change in representation on Sunday afternoon and had obtained the audiotape of his initial interview with James Barr. Chapman had been happy to hand it over and wash his hands. She had played the tape to herself a dozen times Sunday night and a dozen more that morning. It was all anyone had of James Barr. Maybe all anyone was ever going to get. So she had listened to it carefully, and she had drawn some early conclusions from it.
"Listen," she said.
She had the tape cued up and ready in an old-fashioned machine the size of a shoe box. She pressed Play and they all heard a hiss and breathing and room sounds and then David Chapman's voice: I can't help you if you won't help yourself. There was a long pause, full of more hiss, and then James Barr spoke: They got the wrong guy. . . . They got the wrong guy, he said again. Then Helen watched the tape counter numbers and spooled forward to Chapman saying: Denying it is not an option. Then Barr's voice came through: Get Jack Reacher for me. Helen spooled onward to Chapman's question: Is he a doctor? Then there was nothing on the tape except the sound of Barr beating on the interview room door.
"OK," Helen said. "I think he really believes he didn't do it. He claims as much, and then he gets frustrated and terminates the interview when Chapman doesn't take him seriously. That's clear, isn't it?"
"He didn't do it," Rosemary Barr said.
"I spoke with my father yesterday," Helen Rodin said. "The evidence is all there, Ms. Barr. He did it, I'm afraid. You need to accept that a sister maybe can't know her brother as well as she'd like. Or if she once did, that he changed for some reason."
There was a long silence.
"Is your father telling you the truth about the evidence?" Rosemary asked.
"He has to," Helen said. "We're going to see it all anyway. There's the discovery process. We're going to take depositions.
Excerpted from One Shot by Lee Child Excerpted by permission.
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The Fan Letter by Lee Child
They say the past is another country, and in my case it really was: provincial England at the end of the fifties and the start of the sixties, the last gasp of the post-war era, before it surrendered to the tectonic shift sparked by the Beatles. My family was neither rich nor poor, not that either condition had much meaning in a society with not much to buy and not much to lack. We accumulated toys at the rate of two a year: one on our birthdays, and one at Christmas. We had a big table radio (which we called "the wireless") in the dining room, and in the living room we had a black and white fishbowl television, full of glowing tubes, but there were only two channels, and they went off the air at ten in the evening, after playing the National Anthem, for which some families stood up, and sometimes we saw a double bill at the pictures on a Saturday morning, but apart from that we had no entertainment.
So we read books. As it happens I just saw some old research from that era which broke down reading habits by class (as so much was categorized in England at that time) and which showed that fully fifty percent of the middle class regarded reading as their main leisure activity. The figure for skilled workers was twenty-five percent, and even among laborers ten percent turned to books as a primary choice.
Not that we bought them. We used the library. Ours was housed in a leftover WW2 Nissen hut (the British version of a Quonset hut) which sat on a bombed-out lot behind a church. It had a low door and a unique warm, musty, dusty smell, which I think came partly from the worn floorboards and partly from the books themselves, of which there were not very many. I finished with the children's picture books by the time I was four, and had read all the chapter books by the time I was eight, and had read all the grown-up books by the time I was ten.
Not that I was unique - or even very bookish. I was one of the rough kids. We fought and stole and broke windows and walked miles to soccer games, where we fought some more. We were covered in scabs and scars. We had knives in our pockets - but we had books in our pockets too. Even the kids who couldn't read tried very hard to, because we all sensed there was more to life than the gray, pinched, post-war horizons seemed to offer. Traveling farther than we could walk in half a day was out of the question - but we could travel in our heads ... to Australia, Africa, America ... by sea, by air, on horseback, in helicopters, in submarines. Meeting people unlike ourselves was very rare ... but we could meet them on the page. For most of us, reading - and imagining, and dreaming - was as useful as breathing.
My parents were decent, dutiful people, and when my mother realized I had read everything the Nissen hut had to offer - most of it twice - she got me a library card for a bigger place the other side of the canal. I would head over there on a Friday afternoon after school and load up with the maximum allowed - six titles - which would make life bearable and get me through the week. Just. Which sounds ungrateful - my parents were doing their best, no question, but lively, energetic kids needed more than that time and place could offer. Once a year we went and spent a week in a trailer near the sea - no better or worse a vacation than anyone else got, for sure, but usually accompanied by lashing rain and biting cold and absolutely nothing to do.
The only thing that got me through one such week was Von Ryan's Express by David Westheimer. I loved that book. It was a WW2 prisoner-of-war story full of tension and suspense and twists and turns, but its biggest "reveal" was moral rather than physical - what at first looked like collaboration with the enemy turned out to be resistance and escape. I read it over and over that week and never forgot it.
Then almost forty years later, when my own writing career was picking up a head of steam, I got a fan letter signed by a David Westheimer. The handwriting was shaky, as if the guy was old. I wondered, could it be? I wrote back and asked, are you the David Westheimer? Turned out yes, it was. We started a correspondence that lasted until he died. I met him in person at a book signing I did in California, near his home, which gave me a chance to tell him how he had kept me sane in a rain-lashed trailer all those years ago. He said he had had the same kind of experience forty years before that. Now I look forward to writing a fan letter to a new author years from now ... and maybe hearing my books had once meant something special to him or her. Because that's what books do - they dig deeper, they mean more, they stick around forever.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This truly was an awesome read. The story starts out with a sniper gunning down five people leaving work in a small Indiana city. Although this act of violence was so random, the police managed to track down the killer very quickly to an ex-soldier named James Barr. The evidence was perfect against him. Without a doubt, this man is guilty, or is he? His few words before falling into a coma, " They got the wrong guy...Get Jack Reacher for me." Lee Child takes you into the mind of Jack Reacher, an experienced and skilled retired soldier. Jack Reacher, being one of the few that know of Barr's violent past, is prepared to do what ever it takes to expose the truth. This book has absolutely nothing to complain about and is possibly one of the best books I have ever read. You never know what Reacher's got planned next or how he's going to take down his next victim. In other words, you would not want to mess with this guy. All in all, a fantastic book which I definitely recommend to all readers in search of a thrill.
I read two Child books in a row: this one and "Nothing to Lose". the second book is one of his most recent, with an irritatingly political slant; my advice to Child is get back to his earlier formula for the Reacher novels. "One Shot" is a great crime thriller with good character development for a genre that is primarily sock 'em, pop 'em plot development. I especially liked the firing range owner, Cash, with his ex-Marine attitude and laugh out-loud exchanges with ex-Army Reacher. An encouraging note to those who have not read Child: the violence is somewhat explicit, but the sex and language is tasteful and restrained. Child at his best relies on clever plots and a truly unique protagonist.
This is a continutation of great writing and drama written by Lee Child. At the suggestion of a Barnes and Noble employee, I picked up one of the Jack Reacher series books and have read five so far. From the minute you pick up the book, the reader is drawn into the story line. I have found it difficult to put down. I read this book cover to cover in less than a week. The characer Jack Reacher is a strong willed and physically powerful force. Great reading.
Saw the movice last night, didn't really want to go but hubby really wanted to see it, I have read all of Jack Reacher books and was really disappointed that it seems that the only actor the author could get to play Reacher was Tom Cruise (Cruise was also the producer,makes a person wonder), there are so many more actors that fit the image of Jack Reacher. The movice was good don't get me wrong, full of actions but if another one comes out with Tom Cruise as Reacher I will not go see it, I will leave the image of Reacher in my mind not the person on the screen that's so far from what the author had you to believe in his book.
I was enjoying the Jack Reacher series until I saw the notice that Tom Cruise would be Jack Reacher in the movie. REally? 6 foot 5 and 240 pounds? Isn't there a better choice? Book okay, but soured now on the book series.
I found a copy of Lee Child's book "One Shot" someone had left at my house. No-one claimed it so I would give it to the Good Will store because it was definitely not my type of book with snipers, shooting, dead people, etc. But I began to think of my brother who had been in the military for years in some awful places and my friend's son who is a sniper in afghanistan. I thought maybe if I read the book it would give me some insight into their lives. I dug it out of the bag of things to be donated and began to read. I could not stop reading after the first page! I became an instant Child/Reacher fan. It was gripping, kept you on your toes reading, and your mind alert with all the plot twists and turns and the tension of the character interactions. I could not put it down. And it was not cluttered with foul language or explicit sexual pages. It was very comfortable in that respect and if there would have been more of that it would only have detracted from the edge of your chair novel. I loved it and am reading more of Child's Reacher novels. If any other women are hesitating about reading them because they seem written for men I say "GO FOR IT" You'll love them.
I'VE READ ALL BUT 2 OF LEE CHILD - JACK REACHER SERIES AND CAN'T WAIT TO GET MY HANDS ON WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR. JUST HOPE THAT LEE DOESN'T STOP WRITING - JACK REACHER SERIES. YOU CAN'T PUT THE BOOK DOWN NOR STOP READING, AS THEY ARE ALL PAGE TURNERS. GREAT CHARACTERS, PLOTS, TRAVELS, AND STORY TELLING.
Lee Childs has a great character and I can't imagine any woman reading about Jack Reacher without falling madly in love. Not only is he a man's man, he is a woman's man!!
I just recently broke my leg so all I could do was read. I started off with the first Jack Reacher book and 18 books later I'm finished. I left One Shot for last simply because I saw the movie and couldn't picture Tom Cruise, a great actor, as Reacher. Lee Child is an amazing storyteller and One Shot is by far one of his better Reacher novels. Jack Reacher is a fantastic character and I hope more movies are made from the books. I suggest reading all the Reacher books as you won't be disappointed.
All the Reacher books are FANTASTIC!!!!! I am always ready for the new books to come out They are just a thrill to read BUT how can you let 5'6" Tom Cruise play Reacher who is 6'5" I don't get it No way will I pay to watch that I'll keep Reacher in my dreams'
Seldom have I read a book that doesn't "bog" down while setting up and executing the plot. No problem here. Lee Child has done it again with the Jack Reacher series. This story keeps you engaged in the story and has you guessing the outcome right up to the final chapter. Full of the Jack Reacher deductions, cynicsm, and yes . . . humor, I could not hardly wait to read the next chapter. Now, I can't hardly wait to see where this "drifter" ends up next.
Reading the jack reacher books in order, and by far ths is the best yet!
Child's Reacher character keeps getting better and better
Turnwd out differemt than I thought
Some ofthe best books i've read. But tom cruise ruined them for me
I love all of the Reacher books. Once you start them they are hard to put down. But seriously Tom Cruise as Reacher??? I haven't seen it yet but it just doesn't fit the character in my mind, how could this happen?? I don't know that i will be able to accept him as Reacher. Lee Child books are amazingly good!!
Another great Jack Reacher book. You should be reading all of these.
This is the first Jack Reacher book I have ever read and I am now into the first 3 that Lee Child has written. The style is action packed, exciting, lots of drama and mystery and lets you try and figure out what Reacher is figuring out at the same time. Great detective and action book. Can't wait to read them all.
Don't know how I got introduced to the Reacher series but it is indeed way more than entertaining. This is up there with the best of the series as Reacher, the strong silent type, finds a 'perfect' case with a mountain of evidence worth looking into when it seems too perfect. Lots of intellectual teasers, and major characters are interesting and human. I bought it as soon as it came out in hardcover---usually stingy with my book expenditures but this was a sound investment. When will we get more---soon I hope. And when will these come to the screen?????
I have read all of the Jack Reacher series and find them to be fast moving and exciting. If I wake in the middle of the night, I usually go right to the book and read till the sun appears. Mr. Child gets to you in the first chapter and never lets go.
So good re read it in One Shot
i listened to this and had trouble following it, having to lesson to discs two or 3 times. don't think it was worth so much attention. still don't know why the murders happened--municipal corruption or something and russians. didn't really like the reader.
Good mystery. Great reader for these characters.
another good Reacher book! Interesting storyline about a man from Reacher's past in the military, and a mass murder that may not be what it appears.
A gunman kills five people and sets up former Marine, James Barr, for the killings.When questioned, Barr refuses to talk to police. Then he tells his attorney, to get Jack Reacher.Reacher arrives but knows that Barr did kill a number of people during his time in the Marines. Even though the people in Kuwait City may have deserved their fate, Reacher feels that Barr is a killer and should be jailed.The defense attorney, Helen Rodin, is up against her father as the prosecutor. Her father has a high conviction rate and tells his daughter not to take the case. Helen decides to defend Barr anyway and convinces Reacher to look at the evidence. When he does, he feels that it's too good to be true. Then, he begins to disect each part of the evidence to see if it's valid.Reacher is still somewhat adverse to helping Helen but when he leaves her office, someone tries to set him up for a beating. Reacher turns the table on his attackers and becomes more interested in helping Helen defend Barr.Reacher shows again that he's the one person who can be counted on when there seems to be no hope. His military training as a homicide investigator makes him more analytical and his kills with weapons and his size gives him the tools he needs to overcome his adversaries.This is a well plotted novel. Lee Child has the ability to make the person that Reacher hs helping look sympathetic and Reacher is the savior. Parts of the story were somewhat predictable but the suspense was there and it kept me turning the pages to see how Reacher could overcome an almost impossible situation.