Thursday, May 27, 2004

Lee Child, one of the best of the unsung thriller writers, returns with another book featuring former military policeman Jack Reacher. The Enemy (Delacorte) is a prequel to the rest of the series, flashing back to Reacher's army days in the early 90s.

As the book opens, Reacher has been transferred to a base in North Carolina where he is placed in charge of the installation's policing operations. It promises to be another dull, routine assignment -- at least until a high-ranking office turns up dead in a fleabag motel room just off-base.

What follows is a terrific military police procedural that finds Reacher pursuing the case -- and its cover-up -- across the country and even overseas to Europe. By doing so he places not only his career, but also his life in jeopardy.

Reacher remains one of the most intriguing characters in the genre, a complex loner who mixes brains and brawn in equal measure. He might not be the most realistic creation, but he never fails to be fascinating.

If you've never read Lee Child before, The Enemy makes an excellent place to start. If you have read him...well, then you already know how good he is.