Jack Reacher thinks he knows a suicide bomber when he sees one.Twenty years ago he learnt a list of behavioural indicators from an Israeli army captain. It is a set of twelve bullet points for male suspects, and eleven for women. Riding the New York City subway at two o'clock in the morning he reckons he is looking at one - a female suicide bomber, that is. He's worked his way through the bulleted list and she fits. And then the woman realises that he has spotted her.
For thirteen years Jack Reacher was a military policeman in the US Army, saw service all over the world, and finally reached the rank of Major. He was highly decorated but that didn't help when the army downsized. He's never lost his ability to put two and two together, and so in the police interviews that follow the subway incident, he smells a rat or two, especially when the interviewers ask him about a name he recognises. John Sansom is an Army veteran, and a highly decorated hero, aiming at election as a Senator, but Jack can't work out what he got his decorations for. It's a puzzle Jack wants to solve.
There is something uncomfortable and patriotically close to the bone about the central theme of this novel. I feel that Lee Child wears his political beliefs on his sleeve, and is writing for an audience only too sensitive about suicide bombers and the aftermath of 9/11.
Reacher talking about a photo he sees in a book that Sansom has written:
- That photograph that was different was a news picture I had seen before. It was of an American politician called Donald Rumsfeld, in Baghdad, shaking hands with Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator, back in 1983. Donlad Rumsfeld had twice been Secretary of Defense, but at the time had been a special presidential envoy for Ronald Reagan. He had gone to Baghdad to kiss Saddam's ass and pat him on the back and hive him a pair of solid gold spurs as a gift and a symbol of America's everlasting gratitude. Eight years later we had been kicking Saddam's ass, not kissing it. Fifteen years after that, we killed him. Sansom had captioned the picture Sometimes our friends become our enemies, and sometimes our enemies become our friends.
GONE TOMORROW is #13 in the Jack Reacher series, but I don't think you need worry if you have never read any before. GONE TOMORROW will work well as a stand-alone.
My rating: 4.1
THE HARD WAY, my rating: 4.7
Jack Reacher is a maverick. A gun-for-hire, with the remorse gene missing, ex-military, photographic memory, and an incredible ability to tell the time without a watch. Late one night as he sits in a New York cafe drinking coffee from a foam cup ready to move at a moment's notice, he sees a man unlock a car, get in, and drive away. The next night Jack is back in the same cafe at the same time and a man approaches him and asks what he saw the previous night. And Jack is able to describe the car, its number plate, make and colour. Edward Lane on the other hand is a wealthy man running an illegal soldiers-for-hire operation. His wife has been kidnapped and he engages Jack to find her. Jack's hackles rise when he learns that this is the second time Lane has lost a wife this way.