From Publishers Weekly
Child (The Persuader
, etc.) brings back his intrepid hero, Jack Reacher, for another excellent mystery, which steps back in time to the eventful first few weeks of 1990. The Berlin Wall has just come crashing down, marking an end to the Cold War, and as a result, the U.S. Army is facing a massive restructuring of purpose and personnel. During this turbulent time, 29-year-old Reacher, an MP major stationed to a base in North Carolina, is called on to investigate the death of a two-star general found dead in a seedy motel. Veteran reader Wolf, who has given voice to Reacher in seven previous novels, slips easily into this character; his calm, thoughtful delivery fits perfectly with Reacher's contemplative first-person narration. Wolf uses his voice to draw listeners into Reacher's investigation, as the MP ponders each clue and follows a trail of cover-ups and murder to the highest echelons of the military. Although Wolf struggles a bit with his French accents, his narration complements one of the best novels in Child's series.
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*Starred Review* Child's eighth Jack Reacher novel isn't a classic thriller in the mold of its predecessor, Persuader
[BKL Mr 15 03], but it's just as compelling. This time Child sticks closer to the police-procedural formula, lavishing on investigatory detail and building suspense gradually rather than propelling the reader ever forward with high-octane thrills. The story, which hinges on the death of a general in a lowlife motel outside Fort Bird, North Carolina, moves back in time to the early nineties, when Reacher was an up-and-coming military policeman. Trying to recover the dead general's briefcase, which contains sensitive information regarding the army's post-cold war plans, takes Reacher and his partner, an African American female, deep into the treacherous heart of military bureaucracy--and into a tragic by-product of the "don't ask-don't tell" policy regarding gays in the armed forces. In a subplot involving Reacher's mother, ill with cancer, Child also incorporates some fascinating backstory regarding Reacher's childhood as an army brat. Known for his hold-your-breath action scenes, Child proves equally adept at portraying how a criminal investigation uses the smallest of building blocks (a yogurt container) to construct a compelling circumstantial case. Combine that with finely textured relationships--always an extra dimension in this series--and you have a novel that takes Child in a new direction (more Michael McGarrity than Stephen Hunter) but does so flawlessly. Bill OttCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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