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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.
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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.
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VINE VOICEon April 10, 2012
I really began to enjoy Lee Child's Reacher novels ever since the first one I read.
They are always full of suspense, great narration, a clever plot, and a usual confrontation with the bad guy(s) that ties up all loose ends and leaves Reacher satisfied with the outcome .
In THE ENEMY, there are too many plots, subplots and just plain hard-to-believe situations. Other reviewers talked about how the situations and procedures of the army are not accurate; even I, not an Army veteran, found many of the situations ludicrous, impossible to believe.
This book is not up to the quality to which I am used from Child's books.
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on December 15, 2009
I've read all the Jack Reacher books, and by comparison, this one is a bit on the slow side. It is well written, tight and crisp, like all of Child's books. But the action is very limited, and the plot a bit too unbelievable and convoluted. Also, two of the three action scenes that were in the book almost seemed to be put in just to keep the reader from getting bored. They had nothing to do with the plot, and were not in any way challenging for Reacher. The story instead focuses on a chronological unfolding of events, no matter if they are relevant to the story.

Reacher once again gets involved with a young lady (Summer). But her character comes off more of as a sounding board for his investigative theories, giving us as readers a chance to see what Reacher is thinking. Child doesn't give enough insight into the character, and you never feel connected with her in any way.

There's the addition of several gay soldiers in the book (at least 3), and that too seems to be a bit over the top. Having served in the airborne infantry, I can say that homosexuality is not particularly widespread. The secret rendezvous between gay officers and enlisted men at a sleazy hotel was a little hard to believe. Moreover, the way the homosexuality was presented was distasteful, with many gay-bashing expressions and a brutal murder made to look like a homophobe hate crime (i.e. genital mutilation, etc.). Just kind of left you with a yucky feeling.

The story wraps up with a final strange twist, with Reacher being demoted for beating up a bar bouncer. It comes across as a bit unbelievable since he has (with the help of Summer) just prevented a mini revolution in the armed forces. Then with a few final sentences, Child assures us that Reacher is fine as a captain back with his men in the field. Seemed a bit forced to me.

Overall, not my favorite Reacher novel. Just too slow and a little unbelievable.
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on December 24, 2016
The mind of Lee Child must be something to behold. The imagination with so much attention to detail makes an exquisite story to be sure. As with most drama mystery novels sometimes you may figure out "who done it", but the how and why he holds magnificently back until the right time. Reacher is a good guy/bad guy that's easy to like and yet surprising at times.

If you've seen either of the Reacher movies, and you can visualize the character as I can, then you can see and hear Cruise in Reacher.

I've now found a new best novelist, at least for crime drama mystery novels. Thank you Lee Child, I can hardly wait for the next in line.
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on January 7, 2017
I've read other Jack Reacher books but this one was a disappointment. If you like endless military detail then you will like this book. It didn't have the type of action I've come to expect in this series. I felt it was bogged down in endless details and rather unbelievable conclusions on Reacher's part. It was difficult to keep all the trips straight but the twists and turns were what kept my interest.
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on June 14, 2014
I enjoy the Reacher novels; however, as an old Soldier, this one reflected the author's incomplete understanding of the U. S. Army. Some of the absurd scenes almost had me laughing at their incredibility. If you have never served in the military, you may enjoy this one; otherwise, I recommend skipping this one. Go on to the next in the series.
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on May 31, 2004
"The Enemy" is Lee Child's eighth Jack Reacher novel - and a prequel to the previous seven. It is New Year's Day 1990, and it is Major Jack Reacher now, an officer in an elite unit of the military police, recently and abruptly reassigned from Panama to acting Provost Marshall of North Carolina's Fort Bird. A visiting General is found dead of an apparent heart attack in a sleazy motel with by-the-hour rates. Not long after that, the same General's wife is found bludgeoned to death in her rural Virginia home, setting the course for an arcane path of treachery reaching the highest levels of the Army. In the search unravel the mystery, Reacher must deal with deceitful Army bureaucrats and Delta Force commandos out for revenge, while grappling with the imminent death of his ailing mother.
"The Enemy" is more a police mystery than the standard Child suspense/thriller fare, but the results are more than satisfying. While it lacks some of the force and adrenalin of some of Child's earlier works, it does fill in some of the background on Child's reclusive hero. We learn much about his French mother, and in her find clues to Reacher's stoic sense of honor and commitment. Reacher's brother - Joe - is like younger brother Jack in many respects. Conversations between Jack and Joe are about as animated as Lincoln and Washington chatting on Mt. Rushmore. The plot - a rather convoluted tale implying high stakes politicking to determine who's on top in the Army following the inevitable post-Berlin War force reductions - is thin and implausible. But not to worry, for as with all Jack Reacher tales, the plot needs merely to be a passable backdrop in which Reacher can show off his martial and mental talents. In short, "The Enemy" is another fast moving installment from Lee Child, sure to please fans of both mystery and suspense genres.
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on January 15, 2017
This is the fourth Reacher novel I've read and it is the best one so far. The plot is complex but still easy to follow. A talented writer, Lee Child, at the top of his game. You won't be disappointed.
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on December 21, 2016
Seems this should have been the first book in the series. But great non the less. Lee child is a very talented story teller. Suspense from one end to the other. Can't wait to get started on the next in the series!!
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