three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
42-Sept-Oct-2009
By: 
Lee Child
user_rating: 
0

A Reacher Novel

A-Gone TomorrowAward-winning British thriller writer Lee Child returns with the 13th installment in the best-selling Jack Reacher series (after The Hard Way, 4 of 5 Stars Sept/Oct 2006, Bad Luck and Trouble, 4 of 5 Stars July/Aug 2007, and Nothing to Lose).

The Story: "Suicide bombers are easy to spot," muses ex-military police officer and itinerant loner Jack Reacher late one night on a New York City subway. "They give out all kinds of telltale signs. Mostly because they're nervous. By definition they're all first-timers." A young woman wearing an oversized, out-of-season coat and mumbling to herself-textbook signs, according to the Israeli secret service pamphlet Jack has memorized-has just boarded the train. When Jack approaches her, she takes out a gun and kills herself, sparking off a chain of events that will pit Jack against shadowy government agencies and take him deep within the American war on terrorism.
Delacorte. 432 pages. $27. ISBN: 9780385340571

Los Angeles Times 4 of 5 Stars
"Child's writing is both propulsive and remarkably error-free, and he's expert at ratcheting up the tension while dispensing all manner of specific information. ... Perhaps because it deals with international terrorism, this book is at once creepier and more serious than some others in the series, with not as many opportunities for the old demolition machine to go into action." Kenneth Turan

Minneapolis Star Tribune 4 of 5 Stars
"This is the 13th book in Child's terrific series featuring Reacher, and it's the most provocative and thrilling one yet. ... From the opening sequence on the train, Child quickens the pace, layering double-crosses, deceits, conspiracies and clues until readers are hurtling across the pages." Carole E. Barrowman

Newsday 3.5 of 5 Stars
"It would be disingenuous to pretend that the main reason we enjoy Reacher isn't the pleasure of the violence he inflicts on the bad guys. One defect of Gone Tomorrow is that it takes about 200 pages for Reacher to put a hurting on someone." Charles Taylor

Philadelphia Inquirer 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Gone Tomorrow (the title, spinning on the famous cliché 'Here today,' has absolutely nothing to do with the story) is Child's 13th over-the-top action-packed slammeroo, and it begins, as nearly all the others in this series have, with a damsel in distress. ... Alas, there are some moments when the gears grind a bit." Bill Kent

Kansas City Star 3 of 5 Stars
"Lee Child's formula is always the same: Jack Reacher, homeless former MP with a strong sense of right and wrong and an unexplained source of cash, blows into some town, rights wrongs, kills bad guys and moves on. Like Child's other Reacher novels, Gone Tomorrow ... works as sheer entertainment." Leslie McGill

Critical Summary

Though critics applauded Jack Reacher's latest adventure, they harbored no illusions about this improbably indestructible man with an encyclopedic knowledge of weaponry and combat techniques. Child is a gifted storyteller whose plot twists and cliff-hangers ratchet up the pace until readers can barely hang on, but reviewers agreed that while Gone Tomorrow is absolute fun, some flat writing, cheesy dialogue, and a nondescript sense of place keep it from rising above the genre. On the other hand, the Philadelphia Inquirer speculated that highbrow prose and extensive scene setting might have interfered with the plot. A few critics also lamented Jack's relatively late start in "kicking butt for democracy" (Newsday). Still, readers searching for an edge-of-your-seat thriller need look no further.