- Series: Jack Reacher (Book 13)
- Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
- Publisher: Dell; Reprint edition (March 23, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0440243688
- ISBN-13: 978-0440243687
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 7.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,791 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Gone Tomorrow (Jack Reacher) Mass Market Paperback – March 23, 2010
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New York City. Two in the morning. A subway car heading uptown. Jack Reacher, plus five other passengers. Four are okay. The fifth isn’t.
In the next few tense seconds Reacher will make a choice--and trigger an electrifying chain of events in this gritty, gripping masterwork of suspense by #1 New York Times bestseller Lee Child.
Susan Mark was the fifth passenger. She had a lonely heart, an estranged son, and a big secret. Reacher, working with a woman cop and a host of shadowy feds, wants to know just how big a hole Susan Mark was in, how many lives had already been twisted before hers, and what danger is looming around him now.
Because a race has begun through the streets of Manhattan in a maze crowded with violent, skilled soldiers on all sides of a shadow war. Susan Mark’s plain little life was critical to dozens of others in Washington, California, Afghanistan . . . from a former Delta Force operator now running for the U.S. Senate, to a beautiful young woman with a fantastic story to tell–and to a host of others who have just one thing in common: They’re all lying to Reacher. A little. A lot. Or maybe just enough to get him killed.
In a novel that slams through one hairpin surprise after another, Lee Child unleashes a thriller that spans three decades and gnaws at the heart of America . . . and for Jack Reacher, a man who trusts no one and likes it that way, it’s a mystery with only one answer–the kind that comes when you finally get face-to-face and look your worst enemy in the eye.
Amazon Exclusive Essay: Lee Child on Gone Tomorrow
My career as a writer has been longer than some and shorter than others, but it happens to span the internet era more or less exactly. My first book, Killing Floor, came out in 1997. It probably sold some copies on Amazon, but not many, because the company was in its infancy then, barely two years old. In that book I even referred to “an e-mail,” thinking I was showing two of the characters to be amazingly cutting-edge and modern.
A year or so later I actually got e-mail, and a year or so after that I got a web site, and a couple of years after that I got broadband, and over the following few years I got into the habit of starting the day internet surfing, reading the news and the gossip.
But it is not until now that I can say that one of my books--the thirteenth Reacher thriller, Gone Tomorrow--is truly and exclusively a product of the internet age.
I started the surfing years in a sensible, structured manner, but I eventually learned that the best stuff comes randomly. I started to follow links on a whim, bouncing from place to place, Googling other people’s references, following the maze, looking for rabbit holes.
I found an anonymous police blog from Britain.
It was apparently hosted by a London copper, and because it was secure and anonymous it was uninhibited. The people who posted there said all kinds of things. There were complaints and there was bitching, of course, but also there was a frank and unexpurgated view of police work from behind the lines. I got there in the summer of 2005, just after the suicide bombings on London’s transportation system, and just after a completely innocent Brazilian student had been shot to death by London police, who were under the mistaken impression that the guy had been involved.
Now, as a thriller writer, I’m familiar with the idea that cops can be bent or reckless. But I’m equally aware that’s mostly literary license. I know lots of cops, and they’re great people doing a very tough job. Years ago I met a friend’s eight-year-old daughter--a sweet little girl with no front teeth--and she grew up to be a cop. She won a bravery medal for a difficult solo arrest during which she was stabbed and had her thumb broken. She’s tough, but she’s not bent or reckless. So are the other cops I know.
So I was curious: what happened with the Brazilian kid? How was the mistake made?
So I eavesdropped while the coppers on the anonymous site were asking the same question. And I learned something interesting.
Their first consensus explanation was: because of “the list.” The Brazilian boy was showing “all twelve signs.” I thought, what list? What signs? So I clicked and scrolled and Googled, and it turned out that years earlier Israeli counterintelligence had developed a failsafe checklist of physical and behavioral signifiers, that when all present and correct mean you are looking at a suicide bomber. The list had entered training manuals, and after 9/11 those manuals were studied like crazy all over the world. And the response was mandatory: you see a guy showing the signs, you put him down, right now, before he can blow himself up.
And by sheer unlucky coincidence, the Brazilian kid had been showing the signs. A winter coat in July, a recent shave, and so on. (Read Gone Tomorrow if you want to know all twelve, and why.)
All writing is what if? So I tried to imagine that moment of... disbelief, I guess. You see a guy showing the signs, and probably every fiber of your being is saying, “This can’t be.” But you’re required to act.
So for the opening scene of Gone Tomorrow, I had Reacher sitting on a subway train in New York City, staring at a woman who is showing the signs. Reacher is ex-military law enforcement, and he knows the list forward and backward. Half of his brain is saying, “This can’t be,” and the other half is programmed to act. What does he do? What if he’s wrong? What will happen?
That’s where the story starts. It ends hundreds of pages later, in a place you both do and don’t expect. --Lee Child
(Photo © Sigrid Estrada)--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. All good thriller writers know how to build suspense and keep the pages turning, but only better ones deliver tight plots as well, and only the best allow the reader to match wits with both the hero and the author. Bestseller Child does all of that in spades in his 13th Jack Reacher adventure (after Nothing to Lose). Early one morning on a nearly empty Manhattan subway car, the former army MP notices a woman passenger he suspects is a suicide bomber. The deadly result of his confronting her puts him on a trail leading back to the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s and forward to the war on terrorism. Reacher finds a bit of help among the authorities demanding answers from him, like the NYPD and the FBI, as well as threats and intimidation. And then there are the real bad guys that the old pro must track down and eliminate. Child sets things up subtly and ingeniously, then lets Reacher use both strength and guile to find his way to the exciting climax. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Suicide bombers are easy to spot."
An opening so memorable I can recall it as easily as the opener to the Gettysburg Address although it’s been years since I read it as a hot off-the-press hardcover. So packed with potential is this line I could write whole blog post on how to hook a reader. And I have. But what makes it remarkable?
There's a lot at work here you can't see. Yes, the simplicity. No breezy, breathless words. Also the anticipation of a declaration you want to see proven. Eventually Reacher will tell you the 12 signs that can identify a suicide bomber, and you know and look forward to Reacher’s inimitable telling. Those six words pack more emotional freight than you know. Leading up to an explosive conclusion that fully delivers on the promise of the line.
Why is the line so powerful?
A study conducted in part by MIT has identified the 100 most emotion-laden words in the English language. Those words have helped researchers find the six most common story arcs in the most popular fiction.
Words that fall into the top 10 positive emotions include, joy, laughter, happiness, excellent, and love. Plus variations on laughter and happiness.
Words that fall into the bottom 10? Terrorism, terrorist, suicide, death, murder, kill, killed, and died. Look here:
Suicide bombers are easy to spot.
Eight of the 10 most negatively emotion-laden words are explicit or implied in the first two words of Gone Tomorrow. That’s one reason the first sentence from Reacher’s mind to the page is so compelling. A second reason is what I call a Turn within the sentence, a dramatic swing from terror toward the positive, the notion that it’s easy to spot a likely suicide bomber. Maybe it’s so easy even you and I could do it to save our own lives. Plus. Reacher leads us to believe he will prove his declaration. Very persuasive.
An Aside: Lee Child says he based the opening of this novel on an actual incident in which an innocent person was killed by police in Britain who mistakenly identified a student because he was perhaps too easy to spot as he displayed all 12 signals of the suicide bomber, although he was not one. Read the essay right here on Child’s Author Page on Amazon.com:
Believe me, his other books have reasonable denouments, the reader gets a sense of satisfaction, and you put the book down glad you read it. This one, not at all. I blame the author who is so successful he believes he can actually convince the reader he can invent a great ending, but then is unable to deliver. Has he totally lost his creativity and inventiveness? Or did he just get lazy? Don't make the same mistake I did by reading this book. It's not worth it in the end. I'm ashamed for Child. I thought he was better than this.
(On another, minor note, it's impossible for a thumb drive to have the only copy of a picture extant. It needed to be copied from a computer which still has the original, which is digitally a copy too, from either the print or the negative. There were no digital cameras in 1983, so the prints and any negatives from which the digital copy were made were also someplace in DoD's files.)
Lee Child's work has clearly spoiled me because when I try to listen to other audiobooks (listen to the books each night while I walk my two dogs), I keep coming back to listen to the next one in the Jack Reacher series finding other stories slow, boring and simply not able to hold my interest. Mr. Child, please keep them coming.