The Enemy

by Lee Child

Delacorte Press, May, 2004.
Hardcover, 400 pages.
ISBN: 0385336675

The Enemy by Lee Child The enigmatic Jack Reacher is back in a powerhouse entry in this outstanding series. The Enemy takes readers back to 1990, when Reacher was still in the military police. Reacher has just been transferred from Panama (where his unit was looking for Noriega) to Fort Bird, North Carolina where Reacher will be the acting Military Police CO. On New Year's Eve, a two star general is found dead in a sleazy motel when he was supposed to be on his way to an important conference in California. The general's briefcase with top secret documents is missing and his wife is then found murdered in the couple's nearby home. But Reacher and his attractive assistant find their investigatory efforts blocked at every turn by the new base commander. When Reacher won't back off the case, which clearly has political implications, he finds himself the prime suspect in the murder of a Delta Force officer. To complicate matters further, Jack finds out that his mother is dying, so he and his brother must make the trek to Paris to see her, where he finds out that the mother he thought he knew had hidden depths.

The Enemy provides a fascinating glimpse into a younger, less cynical Jack Reacher than has been seen so far in this excellent series. Lee Child expands Reacher's backstory and we finally learn more about his childhood and his mother's extraordinary life. The investigation is filled with suspense, political intrigue and the kind of intricate plotting and hard-hitting action that is classic Lee Childs. The narrative voice is pitch-perfect: Reacher is a tough guy with an incisive mind, a personal code of honor and a mean right hook. Childs' lean, mean prose style and compelling hero make for a top-notch series that shows no signs of losing steam.

Claire E. White

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This review was published in the May-June, 2004 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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