Excerpt from The Enemy by Lee Child, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Enemy

A Jack Reacher Novel

By Lee Child

The Enemy
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: May 2004,
    400 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2005,
    496 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


The clock moved. The hand jumped and bounced and settled. Three minutes past midnight. The phone rang again. It was someone calling to wish me a happy new year. It was the sergeant in the office outside of mine.

"Happy New Year," she said to me.

"You too," I said. "You couldn't stand up and put your head in the door?"

"You couldn't put yours out the door?"

"I was on the phone."

"Who was it?"

"Nobody," I said. "Just some grunt didn't make it to the new decade."

"You want coffee?"

"Sure," I said. "Why not?"

I put the phone down again. At that point I had been in more than six years, and army coffee was one of the things that made me happy to stay in. It was the best in the world, no question. So were the sergeants. This one was a mountain woman from north Georgia. I had known her two days. She lived off post in a trailer park somewhere in the North Carolina badlands. She had a baby son. She had told me all about him. I had heard nothing about a husband. She was all bone and sinew and she was as hard as woodpecker lips, but she liked me. I could tell, because she brought me coffee. They don't like you, they don't bring you coffee. They knife you in the back instead. My door opened and she came in, carrying two mugs, one for her and one for me.

"Happy New Year," I said to her.

She put the coffee down on my desk, both mugs.

"Will it be?" she said.

"Don't see why not," I said.

"The Berlin Wall is halfway down. They showed it on the television. They were having a big party out there."

"I'm glad someone was, somewhere."

"Lots of people. Big crowds. All singing and dancing."

"I didn't see the news."

"This all was six hours ago. The time difference."

"They're probably still at it."

"They had sledgehammers."

"They're allowed. Their half is a free city. We spent forty-five years keeping it that way."

"Pretty soon we won't have an enemy anymore."

I tried the coffee. Hot, black, the best in the world.

"We won," I said. "Isn't that supposed to be a good thing?"

"Not if you depend on Uncle Sam's paycheck."

She was dressed like me in standard woodland camouflage battledress uniform. Her sleeves were neatly rolled. Her MP brassard was exactly horizontal. I figured she had it safety-pinned in back where nobody could see. Her boots were gleaming.

"You got any desert camos?" I asked her.

"Never been to the desert," she said.

"They changed the pattern. They put big brown splotches on it. Five years' research. Infantry guys are calling it chocolate chip. It's not a good pattern. They'll have to change it back. But it'll take them another five years to figure that out."

"So?"

"If it takes them five years to revise a camo pattern, your kid will be through college before they figure out force reduction. So don't worry about it."

"OK," she said, not believing me. "You think he's good for college?"

"I never met him."

She said nothing.

"The Army hates change," I said. "And we'll always have enemies."

She said nothing. My phone rang again. She leaned forward and answered it for me. Listened for about eleven seconds and handed me the receiver.

"Colonel Garber, sir," she said. "He's in D.C."

She took her mug and left the room. Colonel Garber was ultimately my boss, and although he was a pleasant human being it was unlikely he was calling eight minutes into New Year's Day simply to be social. That wasn't his style. Some brass does that stuff. They come over all cheery on the big holidays, like they're really just one of the boys. But Leon Garber wouldn't have dreamed of trying that, with anyone, and least of all with me. Even if he had known I was going to be there.

From The Enemy by Lee Child.  Copyright Lee Child 2004.  All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...
  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  254Cartwheel:
    Jennifer duBois
  2.  170The Weight of Blood:
    Laura McHugh

All Discussions

Who Said...

Men are more moral than they think...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.