From Publishers Weekly
The final sentence of Child's ninth suspenser (after The Enemy
)—"Then he could buy a pair of shoes and be just about anywhere before the sun went down"—is quintessential Jack Reacher, the rugged ex-army cop who practically defines the word "loner" and kicks ass with the best of 'em. In the book's gripping opening, five people are killed when a shooter opens fire in a small unnamed Indiana city. But when ex-infantry specialist James Barr is apprehended, he refuses to talk, saying only, "Get Jack Reacher for me." But Reacher's already en route; having seen a news story on the shooting, he heads to the scene with disturbing news of his own: "[Barr's] done this before. And once was enough." Nothing is what it seems in the riveting puzzle, as vivid set pieces and rapid-fire dialogue culminate in a slam-bang showdown in the villains' lair. (And what villains: a quintet of Russian émigrés, the stuff of everybody's worst nightmares, led by a wily 80-year-old who makes Freddy Krueger look like Little Lord Fauntleroy.) As usual, Child makes the most of Reacher's dry wit, cut-to-the-chase psychology and stubborn taciturnity—in short, this is a vintage double play for author and leading man.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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