TWO SMALL TOWNS IN COLORADO: HOPE AND DESPAIR. BETWEEN THEM, NOTHING BUT TWELVE MILES OF EMPTY ROAD. JACK REACHER CAN T FIND A RIDE, SO HE WALKS. ALL HE WANTS IS A CUP OF COFFEE. WHAT HE GETS ARE FOUR REDNECK DEPUTIES WHO WANT TO RUN HIM OUT OF TOWN. MISTAKE. THEY RE PICKING ON THE WRONG GUY. JACK REACHER IS A BIG MAN, AND HE S IN SHAPE. NO JOB, NO ADDRESS, NO BAGGAGE. NOTHING, EXCEPT BLOODY-MINDED CURIOSITY. WHAT IS THE SECRET THE LOCALS SEEM SO KEEN TO HIDE? A HARD MAN IS GOOD TO FIND. EX-MILITARY COP REACHER IS TODAY S MOST ADDICTIVE HERO. NOW HE PULLS ON A TINY LOOSE THREAD, TO UNRAVEL CONSPIRACIES THAT EXPOSE THE MOST SHOCKING TRUTHS. BECAUSE, AFTER ALL, JACK REACHER HAS NOTHING TO LOSE
Editorial Review :
From Barnes & Noble The Fan Letter by Lee Child
They say the past is another country, and in my case it really was: provincial England at the end of the fifties and the start of the sixties, the last gasp of the post-war era, before it surrendered to the tectonic shift sparked by the Beatles. My family was neither rich nor poor, not that either condition had much meaning in a society with not much to buy and not much to lack. We accumulated toys at the rate of two a year: one on our birthdays, and one at Christmas. We had a big table radio (which we called "the wireless") in the dining room, and in the living room we had a black and white fishbowl television, full of glowing tubes, but there were only two channels, and they went off the air at ten in the evening, after playing the National Anthem, for which some families stood up, and sometimes we saw a double bill at the pictures on a Saturday morning, but apart from that we had no entertainment.
So we read books. As it happens I just saw some old research from that era which broke down reading habits by class (as so much was categorized in England at that time) and which showed that fully fifty percent of the middle class regarded reading as their main leisure activity. The figure for skilled workers was twenty-five percent, and even among laborers ten percent turned to books as a primary choice.
Not that we bought them. We used the library. Ours was housed in a leftover WW2 Nissen hut (the British version of a Quonset hut) which sat on a bombed-out lot behind a church. It had a low door and a unique warm, musty, dusty smell, which I think came partly from the worn floorboards and partly from the books themselves, of which there were not very many. I finished with the children's picture books by the time I was four, and had read all the chapter books by the time I was eight, and had read all the grown-up books by the time I was ten.
Not that I was unique - or even very bookish. I was one of the rough kids. We fought and stole and broke windows and walked miles to soccer games, where we fought some more. We were covered in scabs and scars. We had knives in our pockets - but we had books in our pockets too. Even the kids who couldn't read tried very hard to, because we all sensed there was more to life than the gray, pinched, post-war horizons seemed to offer. Traveling farther than we could walk in half a day was out of the question - but we could travel in our heads ... to Australia, Africa, America ... by sea, by air, on horseback, in helicopters, in submarines. Meeting people unlike ourselves was very rare ... but we could meet them on the page. For most of us, reading - and imagining, and dreaming - was as useful as breathing.
My parents were decent, dutiful people, and when my mother realized I had read everything the Nissen hut had to offer - most of it twice - she got me a library card for a bigger place the other side of the canal. I would head over there on a Friday afternoon after school and load up with the maximum allowed - six titles - which would make life bearable and get me through the week. Just. Which sounds ungrateful - my parents were doing their best, no question, but lively, energetic kids needed more than that time and place could offer. Once a year we went and spent a week in a trailer near the sea - no better or worse a vacation than anyone else got, for sure, but usually accompanied by lashing rain and biting cold and absolutely nothing to do.
The only thing that got me through one such week was Von Ryan's Express by David Westheimer. I loved that book. It was a WW2 prisoner-of-war story full of tension and suspense and twists and turns, but its biggest "reveal" was moral rather than physical - what at first looked like collaboration with the enemy turned out to be resistance and escape. I read it over and over that week and never forgot it.
Then almost forty years later, when my own writing career was picking up a head of steam, I got a fan letter signed by a David Westheimer. The handwriting was shaky, as if the guy was old. I wondered, could it be? I wrote back and asked, are you the David Westheimer? Turned out yes, it was. We started a correspondence that lasted until he died. I met him in person at a book signing I did in California, near his home, which gave me a chance to tell him how he had kept me sane in a rain-lashed trailer all those years ago. He said he had had the same kind of experience forty years before that. Now I look forward to writing a fan letter to a new author years from now ... and maybe hearing my books had once meant something special to him or her. Because that's what books do - they dig deeper, they mean more, they stick around forever.
From the Publisher “As I was reading this latest book, I was trying to understand why I like the Reacher series so much….The Jack Reacher books are all revenge fantasies. By the time the reader encounters the first fight, the reader is already mad…. Reacher doesn't go looking for trouble, but trouble usually finds him.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Explosive and nearly impossible to put down.”—People
“Do yourself a favor and get hooked on this series.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Colossal. Earthshaking. Stupendous…Jack Reacher is one of the most enduring action heroes on the American landscape.” —Janet Maslin, New York Times“
Janet Maslin Lee Child's brainiac tough-guy series has been on a steady winning streak, a pattern that began three books back withOne Shot and continues through the latest installment, Nothing to Lose. The success of these books rests partly on the big, hulking shoulders of their charismatic hero, but also on Mr. Child's great love of gamesmanship…Nothing to Lose is Mr. Child's steepest feat of escalation thus far…Mr. Child's books, like Hitchcock's films, inspire a hard-won confidence: every detail, no matter how minor, has been put into play for a reason.
—The New York Times
At the start of bestseller Child's solid 12th Jack Reacher novel (after Bad Luck and Trouble), the ex-military policeman hitchhikes into Colorado, where he finds himself crossing the metaphorical and physical line that divides the small towns of Hope and Despair. Despair lives up to its name; all Reacher wants is a cup of coffee, but what he gets is attacked by four thugs and thrown in jail on a vagrancy charge. After he's kicked out of town, Reacher reacts in his usual manner-he goes back and whips everybody's butt and busts up the town's police force. In the process, he discovers, with the help of a good-looking lady cop from Hope, that a nearby metal processing plant is part of a plan that involves the war in Iraq and an apocalyptic sect bent on ushering in the end-time. With his powerful sense of justice, dogged determination and the physical and mental skills to overcome what to most would be overwhelming odds, Jack Reacher makes an irresistible modern knight-errant. (June) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Soon after arriving in Despair, CO, the large, deadly, and enigmatic Jack Reacher, last seen in Bad Luck and Trouble, happily begins to take things into his own hands. He is a loner, a paladin, a wanderer who always seems to find trouble and always helps the good guys prevail. The towns of Hope and Despair are only a few miles apart as the crow flies, but guess which one is a dismal factory town ruled by a despotic religious fanatic? Good. Now guess which one Jack Reacher is going to take apart in his own inimitable fashion? It turns out that the fanatic believes the end of the world will come soon and wants to expedite the process. While this is going on, bodies are being found in the desert and people are disappearing. Child's 12th thriller may be formulaic and predictable, but Jack Reacher fans have always liked that about Child's novels. Recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ2/1/08.]
In Jack Reacher's whiz-bang latest (Bad Luck and Trouble, 2007, etc.), small-town cops bust him for vagrancy-big mistake!Despair, Colo.: population 2,692, and none of them with the sense they were born with. Because Reacher warned them, nobody can say he didn't. There he was, just passing through, seated harmlessly at the restaurant table, wanting only a cup of coffee, when the four deputies, "each a useful size," appeared in the doorway, clearly intent on seeing the back of him. Says Reacher to the restaurant's surly proprietor, " ‘If I get a cup of coffee I'll walk out of here. If I don't get a cup of coffee, these guys can try to throw me out, and you'll spend the rest of the day cleaning blood off the floor . . . ' " Broken bones ensue-none of them Reacher's-but when a riot gun is added to the argument, Reacher allows himself to be arrested. The fact is his curiosity-ever a major component in the Reacher persona-requires that he stick around until he uncovers the something he suspects is rotten in Despair. Enter the lady deputy sheriff from Hope, the tiny town that borders Despair. Hope, of course, is as attractive as Despair is forbidding. Ditto Deputy Vaughan, who provides another compelling reason for Reacher to bide a bit. They join forces in an investigation that takes a series of twisty turns involving, among others, a buck-chasing religious zealot and some vexatious conspirators in Pentagon corridors of power. Answers garnered, curiosity slaked, Reacher arrives at a critical moment. He must now say to Vaughan, albeit ruefully, what those who know him best always knew was inevitable: " ‘I don't do permanent.' "When, single-handedly, Reacher takes out eight huskies in a bar-roombrawl, a million plus fans will grin happily, knowing that all's right with the action-lit world. Agent: Darley Anderson/Darley Anderson Agency
About the Author :
Lee Child is the #1 internationally bestselling author of the Jack Reacher thrillers. His debut, Killing Floor, won both the Anthony and the Barry awards for Best First Mystery, and The Enemy won both the Barry and the Nero awards for Best Novel. "Jack Reacher", the film based on the 9th novel, One Shot, stars Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Rosamund Pike, Jai Courtney, and David Oyelowo and debuted in December 2012. Child, a native of England and a former television director, lives in New York City and the south of France with his wife and daughter. Find out more about Lee Child and the Reacher novels on his official website: LeeChild.com, on Facebook LeeChildOfficial, on Twitter #LeeChildReacher, and YouTube leechildjackreacher.