From Publishers Weekly
While reader Hill has proven himself to be an all-purpose narrator with a 200-plus audiography, his specialty is interpreting suspense and crime fiction like this bullet-paced thriller. Written lean enough to make Hemingway seem chatty, the ninth novel to feature the resourceful ex-military cop Jack Reacher begins with a bare-bones description of an unemotional sniper prepping for and carrying out a mass slaying in the business area of an unnamed Indiana city. The killer's dispassion is chilling, and Hill, who has narrated the author's previous titles, matches the mood with an objectivity that raises the goose-bump level even higher. When Reacher, one of fiction's more reticent heroes, arrives on the scene, Hill provides him with a brusque, confident, properly manly voice, but adds a note of wariness that subtly suggests the adventurer's cynical nature. This tops a gallery of smart audio portraits, each with his own identifiable accent. Child has purposely designed the novel to move forward unfettered by stylish flourishes, and Hill follows that plan, concentrating mainly on increasing the pace as the story speedballs to its satisfying conclusion.
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Child's new novel begins when a sniper methodically kills five office workers with six quick shots and then disappears. But in a Child thriller the expectations aroused by one page are sure to be dashed on the next; unravelling and re-tangling violent narratives is the writer's specialty. This is the ninth of his books to feature the drifter-investigator Jack Reacher—a hybrid of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee and Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer—and it certainly ranks in the first tier of the series. There is considerable mayhem, lovingly described ("A long time ago the bones in his spine had been methodically cracked with an engineer's ball-peen hammer"), and there's a good cast, including suspicious law-enforcement personnel and an elderly Russian who is missing most of his fingers. Before it's all, vividly, over, one feels confident that Reacher—smart, rootless, and brave—will not only get his man but make him suffer.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
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