three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
12-Sept-Oct-2004
By: 
Lee Child
user_rating: 
0

A Jack Reacher Novel

A-EnemyAt the dawn of 1990, just after the Berlin Wall has fallen, a two-star general is found dead in a sleazy motel outside a North Carolina Army base. He probably suffered a heart attack during sex, and the only sober MP (military policeman) that New Year’s Eve, 28-year-old Jack Reacher, is called in. Reacher’s investigation—and the briefcase that’s missing from the general’s room—leads Reacher from truck stops to conspiracy theories in no time. Oh, and there’s also his ailing mother in Paris. This is the eighth Jack Reacher novel, and it’s a prequel to the best-selling series.
Delacorte. 393 pages. $25.
ISBN: 0385336675

New York Times 4 of 5 Stars
"[A book] that fills in the blanks in a serial character’s biography can be a writer’s quagmire if there are too many loose ends to tie up or tangents to follow. But The Enemy is tight and effective …." Janet Maslin

St. Petersburg Times 3.5 of 5 Stars
"This was a rip-roaring read from the first page to the last." Jean Heller

Oregonian 3 of 5 Stars
"Make no mistake, Child writes in-your-face dialogue with the best of them. That, along with the pacing and intelligence of The Enemy almost render its central flaw forgivable: Reacher simply sits back—literally, on an airplane—and figures it all out in his head, without the rest of us having seen the same clues at the same depth, which might allow us to get there with him." Larry Brooks

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 3 of 5 Stars
"Child still feels compelled to throw in formulaic elements. … It is those hackneyed elements that keep The Enemy from being a flat-out genre classic." Dorman T. Shindler

Critical Summary

Child continues to knock out his action sequences with flair, but in The Enemy, he takes time to depict the piecemeal construction of a criminal investigation. He also spends energy on the hero’s relationship with his mother and brother, an effort that further fills in Reacher’s background and will surely please long-time fans of the character. It’s true, Child throws in some clichéd elements to this otherwise first-rate story. But most reviewers easily looked past that flaw. "After reading these books for so many years, I’m not easily kept in the dark," claims the St. Petersburg Times, "so it’s always fun when I’m still guessing toward the end."

Also in the Series

AS-WithoutFailWithout Fail | Jack Reacher (2002): The Secret Service comes up with a new method of evaluating their effectiveness: hire Jack Reacher to attempt an assassination. "If Without Fail doesn’t hook you on Lee Child, I give up." Marilyn Stasio, New York Times, 6/9/2002.