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Echo Burning: A Jack Reacher Novel Paperback – November 27, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 2,209 customer reviews
Book 5 of 20 in the Jack Reacher Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Jack Reacher is Spenser before Robert Parker domesticated his Boston PI--in fact, Reacher's even tougher than Hawk. He can inhale and exhale a few times and pump up his muscles so they make a bad character think twice about tangling with him. And he's spent enough time on the right side of the law to know how to operate in the gray zone if that's what it takes to save the fair maiden, punish the bad guys, and right any other wrongs he happens to encounter in the course of his wanderings. Echo Burning is vintage Lee Child, a smartly paced, intricately plotted, and masterfully characterized thriller starring Reacher, the ex-military cop who's so concerned about commitment to anything--a woman, possessions, a permanent address--that he only owns the clothes on his back. But he's the kind of justice-seeking guy you'd want on your side, especially if you were an abused wife trapped in a marriage you can't get out of until, and unless, somebody bumps off your old man.

Reacher's sympathetic, but he's not crazy. Nonetheless, he allows himself to be drawn into beautiful Carmen Greer's orbit, which ought to teach a guy not to hitchhike. Agreeing to protect her from the husband who's about to be released from jail and, according to Carmen, who's about to pay her back for tipping off the authorities to the tax fraud that landed him in prison, Reacher moves into the bunkhouse of the Echo, Texas, ranch that's owned by the bigoted, bitter, but powerful Greer family, which despises Carmen because she's Mexican and tolerates her only because she's Sloop Greer's wife and the mother of his child. The expected bloodshed ensues, but it's Sloop, not Carmen, who ends up with a bullet in his head. Reacher's convinced that Carmen acted in self-defense, even after other evidence comes to light that suggests there's more--and less--to her unhappy tale than even her own lawyer believes. This is the best Jack Reacher yet, smart, stylish, and convincing. If it's your first encounter with Child's work, be sure to check out his backlist--Running Blind, Tripwire, etc. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Jack Reacher, the vagabond freelance lawman who never hesitates to stick his nose into private business, takes his lively act to Texas, embroiling himself in what starts as a messy domestic dispute before turning far more ominous. The rugged former army cop comes to the aid of Carmen Greer, who picks him up on the side of the road one morning outside Lubbock, then asks him to kill her abusive husband. Sloop Greer is getting out of prison in a few days, and Carmen fears he will start beating her again. Reacher declines, but agrees to protect Carmen, hiring on as a cowhand at the couple's remote ranch in Echo County, Tex., far outside Pecos. Within hours of Sloop's return from prison, where he was serving time for tax evasion, violence strikes. But the victim isn't Carmen; it's Sloop. He's found shot dead, and Carmen is arrested. End of story? Hardly. Most wandering heroes would move on at this point, but not Reacher. He begins taking a hard look at both Carmen and Sloop's past, as well as local history. What he finds ugly secrets, human suffering, political evil is repulsive to a man who's been around as many blocks as Reacher. Child (Running Blind; Tripwire) has developed a fine franchise with Reacher, who comes from the Robin Hood mold, but has enough personal quirks and moments of unusual insight to separate him from the pack. Set in a literally and figuratively smoldering landscape, this is a clean, infectious story that taps deeply into two troubling human emotions the psychology of abuse and the desire for retribution. Author tour. (July)Forecast: Reacher's fifth adventure a BOMC, Literary Guild, Mystery Guild and Doubleday Book Club selection is among his strongest, and should hook even those who haven't read the other novels in the series.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Jack Reacher (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Jove; Reissue edition (November 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0515143820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0515143829
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,209 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ms. Ruth Walsh on April 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
Its hard to beat Jack Reacher books when they are on form.Each generation, I suppose, has its favorite fictional Tough Guys. For my parents, it may have been Bogart and The Duke. For me, they've been Clint, Bruce, and Mel on the Big Screen, and the literary British spy Quiller. However, in the past couple of years, Jack Reacher has arrived on the killing fields. And he's perhaps tougher, certainly smarter, than any who've gone before.
A former Army major assigned to the Military Police, Jack has been aimlessly roaming the United States through several novels, and attracting big trouble in each one. In ECHO BURNING, he's hitchhiked into sunburnt West Texas where he's given a ride by Carmen Greer, who's cruising the highways on the lookout for a Tough Guy. Carmen lives with her young daughter, Ellie, on an arid ranch with her hateful brother-in-law and mother-in-law while her husband, Sloop, serves time in a federal pen for tax evasion. According to the story Carmen spins, her spouse had been viciously beating her for years. Since Sloop is due to be released in forty-eight hours, Carmen expects the beatings to begin anew, especially since she was the one that ratted on Sloop to the IRS. Will Reacher kill him for her? No? Well, will he at least teach her how to shoot the dainty pistol she's purchased? (In the meantime, what's with that team of three professional assassins circling the ranch unbeknownst to all? Jack may discover his hands full.)

All those other Tough Guys I mentioned are smart, but not so much that they don't sporadically get beaten up and kicked silly by the Bad Guys. But not Reacher - nobody gets the drop on him. When the reader sees a violent confrontation looming, he almost feels sorry for the villains for the World of Hurt in which they'll soon find themselves.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
book so far in Lee Child's "Jack Reacher" series.
Jack's a loner, and it is fitting that he's back on the road again after trying unsuccessfully to settle down. He's in hot, dry, west Texas (and Child really makes you feel as though you are there - you're thirsty throughout the story!) where he's enlisted himself to help an abused (?) wife, Carmen Greer, and her daughter, Ellie. Greer's tale is fraught with lies, and, if I were Jack, I would have given up on her. She's not able to escape her husband, Sloop, and his secretive pack of friends that
have a past that leads to bloodshed.
The pace bogs down from time to time, and it is difficult to root for Carmen. The ending is a lot more transparent than anything Child has given us previously. Worst of all, Child gets bogged down in his own descriptiveness, a problem encountered in his earlier works, where it was more forgiveable and did less to hurt his characterization and his pace.
Not giving up on Jack, because he is the most refreshing hero of the past few years, but one more average work by Lee Child will send me scurrying for some new authors!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lee Child may be one of the most inconsistent writers in popular fiction. Some of his books are very good, some are readable but not outstanding, and some, like Echo Burning, are just plain awful.

The book starts out with one of the most tired, worn-out cliches in the mystery genre; a lovely wife in distress asks hero Jack Reacher to help her out by killing her abusive husband. Savvy readers are then thinking, "Aha! There must be more to the story than this! Some unusual twist or surprise sub-plot." The answer? Nope. There's not.

The book takes place in the Texas desert and if you chopped out every sentence describing how hot it is, the book would be about 20 pages long. Those remaining 20 pages would be descriptions of how long it takes to drive from one place to another out there in all that emptiness, which is what Reacher spends most of his time doing since the places he needs to go are so far apart.

This book took me forever to finish because I couldn't get through more than 5 pages in one sitting without falling asleep. Lee Child may have written some exciting, fast-paced books in his career, but this is definitely not one of them.
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Actually I disagree with several other reviewers, I think Carmen was a good portrait of the very dependant and mendacious personality type. People like this are seductive and always helpless and always in need of a rescuer. The problem is that Reacher falls for it and apparently the author as well. The lesbian vegetarian lawyer was well-done too, at first, likeable and reserved, but after a while she just became a place-holder, a blank.

Lee Child/Jim Grant does well with urban professional characters, they have a reality and a depth and from time to time he does well with minorities, who are always poor and noble but occasionally they sparkle such as the ancient black couple Reacher gets a ride with across the country, in another one of the series, going to New York to sing. An old lady whose voice is still great and her elderly husband with his keyboard, I could have read a lot more about them. But the author's ability with white rural people is non-existant. They are cartoons. He can never figure out quite what it is that rural people do. They never do anything. He doesn't seem to know what they're for. They are just generic Agro-Americans with bad teeth.

So his take on Texas ranchers is pathetic. The ranch he visits, or rather at which he studiously hangs around, is activity-less. They don't do anything. They have horses which they keep inside a barn when it is 100 degrees outside so it must be 120 inside. These horses are tied up in stalls where they can't get to water. A horse in that kind of heat will drink 20 gallons a day. But they're tied up. Inside, where they are left to roast. Hosemeat jerky. This ranch has no goats, no cattle, no sheep, no donkeys not even cats or dogs. Therefore there must not be any mice or rats.
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