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Publisher's Summary

Jack Reacher. Hero. Loner. Soldier. Soldier's son. An elite military cop, he was one of the army's brightest stars. But in every cop's life there is a turning point. One case. One messy, tangled case that can shatter a career. Turn a lawman into a renegade. And make him question words like honor, valor, and duty. For Jack Reacher, this is that case.

New Year's Day, 1990. The Berlin Wall is coming down. The world is changing. And in a North Carolina "hot-sheets" motel, a two-star general is found dead. His briefcase is missing. Nobody knows what was in it. Within minutes Jack Reacher has his orders: Control the situation. But this situation can't be controlled. Within hours the general's wife is murdered hundreds of miles away. Then the dominoes really start to fall.

Two Special Forces soldiers - the toughest of the tough - are taken down, one at a time. Top military commanders are moved from place to place in a bizarre game of chess. And somewhere inside the vast worldwide fortress that is the U.S. Army, Jack Reacher - an ordinarily untouchable investigator for the 110th Special Unit - is being set up as a fall guy with the worst enemies a man can have.

But Reacher won't quit. He's fighting a new kind of war. And he's taking a young female lieutenant with him on a deadly hunt that leads them from the ragged edges of a rural army post to the winding streets of Paris to a confrontation with an enemy he didn't know he had. With his French-born mother dying - and divulging to her son one last, stunning secret - Reacher is forced to question everything he once believed...about his family, his career, his loyalties - and himself. Because this soldier's son is on his way into the darkness, where he finds a tangled drama of desperate desires and violent death - and a conspiracy more chilling, ingenious, and treacherous than anyone could have guessed.

Don't miss any of Jack Reacher's adventures.
©2004 Lee Child (P)2004 Brilliance Audio

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  • Overall
  • CBDC
  • Washington, DC USA
  • 09-30-09

Made me really admire Reacher

I liked this book - I've read (and enjoyed) many of the other Lee Child Reacher novels, but this one seemed to make Jack Reacher more approachable and human. He's the ethical and hard-ass he is in the other books, but the relationships with his mother and brother, her history, put Reacher's character in a context where I really liked him. In the earlier books I've read, he was always the "good guy" but not quite as whole a person. It's also a really good listen..

23 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joanna
  • SCOTTSDALE, AZ, United States
  • 06-24-09

Pros and Cons

I have to give this book mixed reviews. The major positive (no pun intended!) is that it is a prequel for the retired military MP Jack Reacher we have come to know to this point. Personally, I have been craving to know more about his life while he was actually in the military, and this aspect of the novel was a wonderful treat. The story thoroughly immerses the reader into military life and gives us great insight to its lifestyle. We are given more background to fill in the gaps of what makes Reacher tick, and how he came to acquire his special "talents." As always, Child creates interesting characters and Dick Hill does a wonderful job with the narration.

On the down side, I have to say that this investigation was slow as molasses, sometimes to the point of being downright boring. It is the first Reacher novel that I was actually relieved when it was over. It was long and drawn out, there were tons of dead ends that didn't even give the reader a chance to begin to speculate who-dunnit, and I was very disappointed with the story. And to top things off, the ending was very sad for Reacher. After a seemingly endless struggle for him throughout the ordeal of the investigation, I felt unsatisfied and exhausted at the end of the book. I love the Reacher character, and have followed the series from the beginning, but this book left me feeling conflicted. Perhaps that was Child's intention, but I read these books for entertainment, and it was a bit of a downer.

37 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ed
  • Saint Augustine, FL, United States
  • 03-14-09

Child sneaks in a prequel

I am listening to the Reacher series in the order of publication and was a little surprised at this anachronistic offering. My surprise didn't turn into disappointment though because it was interesting to get to know some characters, like Reacher's brother, Joe, who was killed off in the first book of the series. And what is revealed about Reacher's mom more than justifies Child's decision to write this prequel. We also got to see how Jack operated while still a member of the armed forces. This story had a few elements that strained credulity, but the good part is that Reacher is (or was) the Superman we have grown to know and love in the earlier books. I'm already listening to One Shot and will be disappointed when I finally work my way through the entire Reacher series.

27 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jane
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 09-29-12

Weak 3 stars.

It wasn’t as fun or engaging as other Reacher stories. A long drawn out mystery with a tell-all at the end.

A general was meeting someone for sex in a motel and dies of a heart attack. His briefcase with confidential documents is missing. Someone kills his wife the same day. Someone kills a Delta force soldier in the woods a day or so later. Reacher’s boss is transferred out and replaced by Willard who tells Reacher not to investigate these deaths.

This is not typical tough guy Reacher with a lot of action and good mystery. The mystery drags through most of the book. There is some discovery but not much. Then all of a sudden toward the end, Reacher has a eureka moment in his head and tells his partner in a five minute monologue the complicated story of what has been going on. I would have preferred we learn clues and some of the mystery as we go along. This book doesn’t have the energy of prior books. There are a few good fighting and macho scenes, but not enough to make up for the rest.

This is the first Reacher book that I have NOT labeled as a thriller. In a thriller we watch the bad guy planning and doing bad things to Reacher and others. In this book, the bad guys are hiding and covering up things rather than planning future harm to Reacher. That might be part of the reason it’s not as good as the prior books.

Reacher wants to investigate a murder, but his incompetent bureaucratic boss orders him to write it up as a training accident and not investigate. So Reacher investigates on the sly, with his boss threatening to arrest him for being AWOL or not following orders. That is the main threat to Reacher which is not as fun as when bad guys try to harm him.

I did not like two things toward the end. Usually I like seeing Reacher beat up and kill bad guys. But he killed one of them in a way that bothered me. It felt like an assassination. It wasn’t killing in self defense. I don’t know why it bothered me when other Reacher killings did not.

Another thing that bothered me was that Reacher received an inheritance. He said he didn’t want it and gave it away. In other books, he is a vagabond and uses his savings to pay for busses, motels, and cheap restaurant food. The inheritance would help him. Yes he is still in the army and has not yet started his vagabond lifestyle, but it felt unsettling and impractical. Army pay is not very good. In another book he inherited money that he put in a bank account to fund his vagabond lifestyle. I don’t see why this inheritance should have been different.

The narrator Dick Hill was very good.

Genre: mystery suspense.
Ending: Technically good, but an unsettled feeling.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good, not great.

Apparently very popular author but I didn't find the book one of the great ones. The story was good with a lot of undercurrents but still could have been told in half the space. And the author needs to find a new catch phrase. He over uses the very clever line "I said nothing" from start to finish.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Surprise; a Prequel

After The Persuader, which I considered mediocre; I was ready for a strong bounce back novel. Child definitely delivered with The Enemy which to my surprise was the first non sequential Reacher novel.
In many ways I felt this was a more natural setting for Child's Jack Reacher character. The character's comfort level in the U S Army setting seemed superior to that in his civilian incarnation. I liked the inclusion of his mother's past as well; it took her out of the French June Cleaver on an army base that appeared through the initial seven books as well as the three Reacher novellas. Furthermore Reacher seemed to work better within a system where he had well qualified subordinates assisting him. In my opinion this was an excellent comeback work for Child.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

more Reacher

Reacher reviews are difficult to write because of the sameness of the books. They are wonderful entertainment!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Not what I expected

I have either read, or listened to most of the Reacher novels, and I found this one to be the least engaging.

I was originally attracted to the storyline because it takes place in 1990, and as a rule, I like to read a series in order if at all possible, and even though, this novel was released later on in the series, it was an easy choice for me.

The story never "grabbed" me. It felt strained and disjointed. If this was the first Reacher novel that I had happened upon, I'm doubtful that I would have listened to any of the other books in the series.

Thank goodness that wasn't the case! This was the exception rather than the rule.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

The Enemy Within

Another very good Reacher story by Lee Child. This one is very different from most others in the series. Reacher's usual bone crushing fights only happened once which gets him in really hot water because he is still in the military. He has reached the rank of Major and he is an MP with a chest full of medals, even a Silver Star. Nevertheless, he breaks military protocols to find out who is ordering military men, and one military wife, murdered. The story tells how devious Reacher and his female investigator had to be in order to investigate the higher ups in the military hierarchy. We are introduced to his brother Joe and his mother. Reacher and Joe goes to visit their mother in Paris. We are told a lot about his mother's past as a young girl which is surprising and totally unexpected. This story is very convoluted with many minor players, but it ranks high on my Reacher list because it held my complete attention for every minute. A Good Read.... Recommend.

As usual, Dick Hill provides a superb performance.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Janet
  • Yuma, AZ, USA
  • 05-26-09

Twisting Thriller

The Enemy is a twisting thriller that started out as a murder mystery, quickly moved into a military/political murder mystery thriller! I loved the Reacher Boys. This is a must read for anyone that likes mystery/thrillers, especially with a military/political twist!

10 of 12 people found this review helpful