132 of 143 people found the following review helpful
In the taut, staccato style reminiscent of Raymond Chandler or John D. MacDonald, Lee Child presents his eighth Jack Reacher novel, a police procedural with a difference: Reacher is an MP, an army Major at Fort Bird, North Carolina, obedient to a different set of rules and objectives. Recently transferred from Panama to be MP Executive Officer, Reacher must immediately investigate the death of a two-star general who has died in a seedy, nearby motel, presumably with a prostitute. His briefcase, containing the agenda for a top-secret conference in California, has disappeared, and when Reacher and his aide, Lt. Summer, go to break the news to the general's wife, they find her dead, too, bludgeoned to death with a crowbar within hours of the general's death.
With almost military precision, dramatic complications unfold, and Reacher soon finds himself facing two new deaths, one of which is a gruesome butchering which takes place on the base. Ordered by superiors to cover up the murder by calling it a "training accident," Reacher and his aide investigate surreptitiously, soon discovering that his MP XO counterparts at twenty more bases throughout the world have also been newly appointed to their positions, all of them on or around December 29. Obvious questions arise about who is pulling the strings, who has the power to transfer so many MPs to new posts, and why someone would want to do so.
Child is a meticulous writer whose plot follows a strict chronological order and moves at a breath-taking pace, with one dramatic scene following hard on the heels of another. Reacher and his aide Summer are not fully developed characters, but they do not need to be as they struggle to learn who is controlling the grisly chess game which has resulted in four deaths. The action is resolved in an extravagant grand finale, with twists and turns and spectacular surprises. Though the ending resolves the disparate threads, it may also be a disappointment to some readers, since the premise behind the plot and the motivation which led to the murders, when finally revealed, seems too unrealistic to justify the murderous extremes to which "the enemy" has gone. Though Child is brilliant in creating an exciting story packed with action, the final pages feel cynical and reveal a view of humanity that is grim. Mary Whipple
58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2004
We've been hooked by Child's Jack Reacher series since reading "Killing Floor". Unlike the other seven, which feature our leading man as basically a vagrant vigilante, wandering around incognito solving difficult problems and snapping necks here and there (!), in "Enemy" we have almost a Clancy-style military thriller from when Jack was still in the Army. After being transferred rather suddenly just before New Year's 1990, Jack is soon embroiled in the murder of a 2-star found in an unlikely motel near the Ft. Bird post. When the general's wife, two states away, is murdered hours later, it's obvious something more sinister than an assignation gone bad is at hand. Reacher partners with an ambitious young black Lt. Summer, and together they chase clues (and each other periodically), with not as much violence on Jack's part as usual, until a conspiracy originating at high levels is uncovered. Still the plot takes unusual turns and twists right 'til the end, building deep suspense that keeps the page turns flying! And in the end, Jack administers a pleasing touch of his own brand of justice just in case!
An interesting side development is the death of Jack's mother in Paris. He meets his brother Joe there to visit with her and through some rather poignant scenes, we share the brothers' agony as they deal with their mother's dignified approach to a fatal cancer. This part of the story helps us make sense of later relationships and interactions between Reacher and Joe...
Child's stories never fail to entertain and "Enemy" is no exception. A complicated plot lets Reacher reveal his more intellectual side, and the "prequel" nature of this story sheds new light on his behavior in the current time tales that have preceded this book. All in all, another fine and enjoyable novel from Lee Child.
49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2004
Lee Child writes books the way Miles Davis played music. Every composition contains recognizable elements, and yet every composition is completely different.
In a Lee Child composition, some of the recognizable elements are: clean, elegant prose; a tight plot; abundant twists and turns; and more than one heart stopping surprise. An added element in "The Enemy" is that this book not only stops the heart, but tugs at the heartstrings.
The eighth Jack Reacher novel, "The Enemy" takes place in 1990, as the Berlin Wall is coming down and the world is drastically changing. In the Army, Jack Reacher's life-long home, change is not good. It's an enemy to be defeated by any means necessary. Reacher is a man who has dedicated his life to doing the right thing, to protecting the Army. Now he's faced with an awful task: he must protect the Army from itself.
In seven previous Jack Reacher novels, we've come to know him as a loner, a man who cannot and will not end his chosen life of wandering isolation. In "The Enemy" we meet a younger Reacher, not yet hardened by the choices this case will force upon him. This Reacher is just a bit warmer, just a bit more accessible, with an easier sense of humor.
When he's inexplicably transferred from Panama to Fort Bird, North Carolina, Reacher doesn't think much of it - hey, it's the Army - but he soon discovers that this is no ordinary assignment. A heart attack victim at the local no-tell motel is a two-star general. The general's wife is found murdered. Reacher's commanding officer is replaced, suspiciously, by a vicious idiot who wants nothing more than to make Reacher the fall guy for the entire mess. And in Paris, Reacher's mother is very, very ill.
Partnering with a young, female lieutenant, Reacher sets out to solve the mystery in spite of the roadblocks in his path. And, typically, he refuses to let anything or anyone stop him. Just as typically, Reacher is determined to do the right thing, no matter what the personal cost may be. In this case, the personal cost will be high - maybe more than Reacher can afford.
The question at the heart of the book is, who or what really is the enemy that Reacher has to fight? And does he have any hope at all of winning the battle? Lee Child has written another gripping novel, one with heart and soul, suspense and passion - a masterwork from a master craftsman.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This is Child's eighth Jack Reacher novel. In the first seven, Reacher is the strongest, toughest, smartest action hero. The books were fun and exciting, but did not require much thought to get through the plots.
In The Enemy, Child has changed gears. The book is set when Reacher was a young major in the military police (age 29) in 1989-90. This is a pure police procedure mystery set in the military which is a setting obviously well-known to Child. In this book, Reacher solves the mystery with brains and legwork. There is only one true action scene and that is minimal to the book.
I enjoyed this book more than Child's others. It had more substance and thought. Reacher was treated as a developing personality rather than the automaton he seems to approach in the other books in the series.
This military police mystery is highly recommended both to Reacher fans and fans of mysteries in general. As a sidenote, you do not have to have read the other books in the Reacher series, since this one predates the others in the character's life. Enjoy a good read.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2005
I'm a Jack Reacher fan, and this book continues my love affair with him. Tightly written, The Enemy depicts heroism as it should be: no holds barred. I did not like some of the lengthy descriptions of war/weaponry, not because I don't like descriptions of war/weaponry, just that Child went on and on a little more than he should have. I guess it's Reacher I like more than the situations he finds himself in. His backstory is less interesting than his present. Still, I'll read five books like this one before one of the other thrillers by less talented writers.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2009
I'm working my way through the Reacher series. Number 8, with its emphasis on Reacher's military life, was just too far over the top for me to keep quiet about the absence of realism associated with the U.S. Army Military Police.
I love Child's books, and I intend to continue reading them for their entertainment value. However, no one should take his descriptions of the military police, CID, or the Army seriously. The U.S. Army described in them is something from a fantasy novel.
I was in the military police for almost 10 years, from Jan 1973 to October 1982. For four of those years I was a military police investigator, with two years as the senior investigator for the 101st Airborne Division and the NCOIC of the joint CID/MPI Drug Suppression Team at Fort Campbell. I can say unequivocally that the world in which Reacher is supposed to have existed just doesn't exist, including military attitudes about blindly following orders, field grade officers routinely conducting criminal investigations, the blurred lines between the military police and the CID, and ignoring basic rights like Miranda warnings for suspects.
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2010
I have enjoyed reading Reacher novels and I've read almost all of them. There has always been a real disconnect with the presentation of the military aspects of Reacher's life. This book is the worst. For all the reasearch Childs has done on armaments, he hasn't done spit when it comes to military life and procedures. An earlier review calls it the Fantasy Army and that it is. Having spent 18 years in the Army CID, I can tell you that this book bears no resemblance to real life in military organizations - traveling around in HMMWVs: traveling, eating and hotel stays on "vouchers". What nonsense! I had a hard time staying with the plot because of the gross inaccuracies in all aspects of military life. Many of his actions would have lead to a general court-martial and he would have done hard time in Leavenworth. I'm really disappointed in this book.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I picked up Lee Child's The Enemy based on a number of recommendations, but not really knowing what the novel would be all about. The Enemy is an excellent thriller/mystery and I can see why Child's Jack Reacher series has so many followers (but don't understand why there aren't more). This is an excellent, well-written novel, with enough plot twists to keep you interested, some out of left field, some you may figure out on your own, but none that will disappoint. The novel opens on New Years' Eve 1989. Jack Reacher is an MP who has just been reassigned to an army base in North Carolina, and investigates the death of a general in a motel nearby. It looks like a heart attack, but things aren't adding up. Other, seemingly unrelated deaths and Reacher's got to figure it all out. The ending is both satisfying and plausible. Very well done. Enjoy.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2010
I would REALLY appreciate it if Amazon would include the ORIGINAL publication date with their listings - this Reacher book is marked with a 2010 publication date - when it was originally published in 2004! I absolutely love the Reacher series - but since I read a LOT, I need the dates to indicate to my feeble memory whether I read this book years ago or not- the titles don't stick. Good book though if you didn't read it way back when -
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
This story is set in 1990, just after the fall of the Berlin wall, so is about a young Reacher and a time before email, cell phones, DNA testing... It discloses the tough guy's personal history (a sure sign of impending soap-opera-ness. I hope Child doesn't go that route) and how his character's analytical mind works.
There's certainly a lot of numerical analysis and military procedure, but it's not written with an eye toward an easy revision into a screen play. Child's restraint against writing screen-play-masquerading-as-novel (such as Michael Crichton's recent oeuvre) is especially laudable because the author did indeed write TV scripts. However, as the plot unfolds into the second half of the book, it lapses into straight narrative to review for the reader the twists and turns, instead of unveiling the plot for the reader to 'see.' This is a weakness.
The characters, main as well as secondary, have more facets than in earlier novels and there's a very dry humor. Whether it's authentic military humor, I don't know, but I do giggle every few pages, especially over the terse dialog. I wish I could treat my colleagues like that without inviting deadly office politics. Best of all, I learn from the intentionally insubordinate Reacher how not to be intimidated by superior officers. I love this tough guy.