BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Lee Child’s The Affair.
Six shots. Five dead. One heartland city thrown into a state of terror. But within hours the cops have it solved: a slam-dunk case. Except for one thing. The accused man says: You got the wrong guy. Then he says: Get Reacher for me. And sure enough, from the world he lives in—no phone, no address, no commitments–ex–military investigator Jack Reacher is coming. In Lee Child’s astonishing new thriller, Reacher’s arrival will change everything—about a case that isn’t what it seems, about lives tangled in baffling ways, about a killer who missed one shot–and by doing so give Jack Reacher one shot at the truth.…
The gunman worked from a parking structure just thirty yards away–point-blank range for a trained military sniper like James Barr. His victims were in the wrong place at the wrong time. But why does Barr want Reacher at his side? There are good reasons why Reacher is the last person Barr would want to see. But when Reacher hears Barr’s own words, he understands. And a slam-dunk case explodes. Soon Reacher is teamed with a young defense lawyer who is working against her D.A. father and dueling with a prosecution team that has an explosive secret of its own. Like most things Reacher has known in life, this case is a complex battlefield. But, as always, in battle, Reacher is at his best.
Moving in the shadows, picking his spots, Reacher gets closer and closer to the unseen enemy who is pulling the strings. And for Reacher, the only way to take him down is to know his ruthlessness and respect his cunning–and then match him shot for shot….
The final sentence of Child's ninth suspenser (after The Enemy) "Then he could buy a pair of shoes and be just about anywhere before the sun went down" is quintessential Jack Reacher, the rugged ex-army cop who practically defines the word "loner" and kicks ass with the best of 'em. In the book's gripping opening, five people are killed when a shooter opens fire in a small unnamed Indiana city. But when ex-infantry specialist James Barr is apprehended, he refuses to talk, saying only, "Get Jack Reacher for me." But Reacher's already en route; having seen a news story on the shooting, he heads to the scene with disturbing news of his own: " done this before. And once was enough." Nothing is what it seems in the riveting puzzle, as vivid set pieces and rapid-fire dialogue culminate in a slam-bang showdown in the villains' lair. (And what villains: a quintet of Russian migr s, the stuff of everybody's worst nightmares, led by a wily 80-year-old who makes Freddy Krueger look like Little Lord Fauntleroy.) As usual, Child makes the most of Reacher's dry wit, cut-to-the-chase psychology and stubborn taciturnity in short, this is a vintage double play for author and leading man.
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Book cover is the only problem
Another good Reacher book. However, they are obviously trying to plan the seed of Tom Cruise as Reacher. It just doesn't work for me. Party of Reacher's character is his intimidating size, and unless they only cast short people , Cruise will not be a convincing Reacher
Book vs Film
It's natural, when you read the source book of a moderately popular film, to talk about which is better. I always feel this is the wrong approach. Any book written above the level of, to use the old term, a 'dime store novel', is automatically denser and more intricate than any 120 minute adaptation. That being said, I think that aside from the fact that Tom Cruise is about a foot too short this book was well adapted for the screen. The choices kept the framework, the layers and a decent complexity to be true to the novel.
As for the novel, it fits nicely into the narrative of Jack Reacher. He's enigmatic to those with whom he comes in contact. This is a modern day version of the "Man With No Name" spaghetti westerns of the early Clint Eastwood. Reacher's military background allows him to possess an intellectual ability to examine his circumstances and reach logical conclusions. There's no 'cheating' by holding back details needed to figure out the story at the 'who dunnit' level. His physique and training means you aren't surprised when he repeatedly comes out on top in most of his confrontations.
Most readers will be aware of the film version (I'd read the first novel just before the film was released). Since then I've been a little uncomfortable with the fact that the preceding seven stories ("The Enemy" occurs while Reacher is still in the army, so it falls within his 'service record' life) are complete ciphers. Even if there is a tendency to act as if Reacher was never there in terms of the FBI, locally LEOs and others, someone should be able to find at least the ghost of a trail.
In "One Shot" the title itself works at a number of levels. Reacher is reluctantly drawn into the life of a man he once hunted and was ready to grind up in the armies judicial system when politics intervened. This is his second shot. The gunman missed one shot when he should have made, to use the sniper motto, one shot, one kill.
To say much more would introduce too many spoilers. Suffice it to say that Reacher fans will walk this anonymous city with Jack without hesitation. Those who begin with him here should be sufficiently intrigued to go back to "The Killing Floor" and start this exploration of the underbelly of society and the nasty people who lurk there.
Just saw the movie, Tom Cruise was perfect as Jack Reacher, he was exactly like the character in the book. And for once believeable not over done, like most movies these days.