Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Enemy - Lee Child

In honor of the upcoming Lee Child/Jack Reacher release of The Affair on September 27, 2011 I recently re-read The Enemy by Lee Child. The Affair is a prequel to Killing Floor set six months before the original Reacher novel. I also recently read "Second Son", a short story depicting Reacher as a 13 year old boy (highly recommended for 1.99 on Kindle if you are a Reacher fan).

The Enemy is a prequel novel starring Reacher as a member of a special division of the Army military police. The novel was released in 2004, but starts on New Year's eve 1989 and the first few days of 1990. You really get to see Reacher in his element while he works for the Army. It gives great background to why he thinks what he thinks, and how he works through cases after he leaves the Army. If you're a big Reacher fan, you know some of the novels are written in first person, others in third. This is written in first, so you can get inside Reachers head.

The novel has a great beginning, with a general found naked face down in a sleazy motel across the street from a gentlemen's club. Reacher quickly gets involved in the case, and finds out that the case is much more complicated. For one, the agenda of a top secret meeting in California is missing. All of the general's coworkers say there wasn't an agenda, but everyone in the Army knows any time there's a meeting, there's always an agenda. All of a sudden, the general's wife has been murdered, as well as a Delta force soldier on base. Reacher starts trying to put the pieces together, but he has a new boss who is trying to obstruct him, and even tries to pin some of the crimes on him!

The novel is huge in terms of space. The book starts in Fort Bird, NC, then moves through Paris, Germany, California and South Carolina. You really wonder if Lee Child visited all of these places, because the descriptions are very realistic. In typical Reacher fashion, he has the crime figured out about 80% through the novel, then spends the last 20% getting his ducks in a row for the legal system, and finally exacts his revenge.

There's a lot of coffee talk in this book, which I can appreciate lately since I've been drinking so much coffee. To paraphrase... "The diner had a bottomless cup policy, and I exploited it ruthlessly."

This is a classic Reacher read, right up there with Killing Floor and Persuader. It is highly recommended, especially in light of the upcoming prequel Reacher novel The Affair.

I'm taking a break from crime fiction until the new Reacher comes out. In the meantime, I'll be reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. It's an experiment in patience, kind of like my recent reading of Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon.

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