A Jack Reacher Novel
By Lee Child
Random House Large Print (2010), 576 pages ISBN: 978-0739377673
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - June 2, 2010
This fourteenth Jack Reacher thriller is Lee Child's best. The six foot five muscular ex-Army MP major is still wandering from place to place without baggage, buying new cloths every few days to avoid laundry, convinced that it is far cheaper to spend over $10,000 yearly for clothes than to own a house, pay taxes, mortgage and other costs, besides this is what he wants and always wanted to do. His four year college stay at West Point was the longest stop in his life. He is very intelligent, with a keenly hewed power of observation, seeing things that others cannot see and matters that others try to hide from him, and, what is more, he has and uses practical common sense.
Fans of the Reacher novels will enjoy learning more about this unusual man than was disclosed in Child's prior books, including some facts about his parents and what caused him to become so fearless, and at what age did it occur – it was age four.
Child's writing style, his melding of the passive and active voices in single paragraphs, both presented forcefully and clearly, his focus on a single fast moving drama, uncomplicated or disturbed by a second plot, and his focus on Reacher's concerns and reactions, drives the drama and suspense with speed, like a 120 mile an hour train.
Reacher hops a ride on a bus in freezing South Dakota, which happens to be present when he is ready to move, and finds himself, after the bus crashes, stranded in a small prison town where something – we are not told what – will occur in 61 hours. The town is snowed in. There is a strange building outside of town that was taken over by bikers who threaten the town. The local police are led by a captain with little experience and virtually no skills. The police need to protect an old woman who witnessed a murder. She is the only witness and her testimony is important. It is clear that someone intends to kill her. The master criminal is a man called Plato, like the Greek philosopher, but unlike the ancient man of peace, this modern Plato is a vicious very small but strong psychopath who frightens his employees. He cut off the feet of a man who mocked him for being short to make him shorter than him.
Reacher needs help and finds it by telephone to the current head of his former job, a female major with a beautiful voice, to whom Reacher is attracted. She agrees to help him in exchange for the true story why he, the legendary Reacher, left the Army after only thirteen years of service, after he had banged someone's head against his desk, leaving an indentation that is still present after ten years, an unusual memento of an unusual career.
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Rabbi Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com. The Orthodox Union (OU) publishes daily samples of the Targum books on www.ouradio.org.