Sunday, March 23, 2008

THE HARD WAY by Lee Child

By Lee Child
Delacorte Press
ISBN: 97803853366987
Genre: Mystery
Hardback, $25.00, 373 pages

Millionaire/mercenary Edward Lane hires Jack Reacher to find his wife, Kate, and stepdaughter, Jade. Both were kidnapped on a shopping trip and Lane is willing to pay whatever it takes to get them back. Patti Joseph has been surveilling Lane and his group of killers since the kidnapping and subsequent death of her sister, Anne, several years earlier. Anne was Lane’s former wife and Patti suspects he used her kidnapping as a cover-up for her murder. She puts Reacher in touch with former FBI agent, now private investigator Lauren Pauling. Like Patti, Lauren is haunted by the death of Anne Lane, and she and Reacher team up to try to find out what really happened then and now. Their investigation leads them to a civil war in Africa, where Lane abandoned two of his men, both of whom Patti suspects actually killed her sister at Lane’s behest. From there, it turns to England, where Reacher uncovers a brutal truth that places his and Lauren’s lives in mortal danger.

Jack Reacher is one of the coolest characters written. A former Army MP and loner by nature, he travels the world with only the clothes on his back and a toothbrush tucked in his pocket. He seems to drift in and out of people’s lives like a fine mist, leaving behind mayhem at the very least and murder at most, but always justice. Child’s style is gritty and bare-bones and compelling. He finely attunes this thrilling read with action-packed suspense, a workable mix of amiable and malevolent characters, and the ultimate draw: good versus evil. One of the best books yet in the Reacher series. This reader looks forward to many more.

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