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Summary and book reviews of The Enemy by Lee Child

The Enemy

A Jack Reacher Novel

by Lee Child

The Enemy
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  • First Published:
    May 2004, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2005, 496 pages

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Book Summary

'A fabulously suspenseful prequel that reveals Reacher's character as he uncovers a homicidal cabal of military officers....Child has turned away from formulaic high-jinks to explore his characters instead: The result? His best so far' - Kirkus.

Winner of the 2005 BookBrowse Ruby Award for Most Popular Book in Category

Jack Reacher. Hero. Loner. Soldier. Soldier's son. An elite military cop, he was one of the army's brightest stars. But in every cop's life there is a turning point. One case. One messy, tangled case that can shatter a career. Turn a lawman into a renegade. And make him question words like honor, valor, and duty. For Jack Reacher, this is that case.

New Year's Day, 1990. The Berlin Wall is coming down. The world is changing. And in a North Carolina 'hot-sheets' motel, a two-star general is found dead. His briefcase is missing. Nobody knows what was in it. Within minutes Jack Reacher has his orders: Control the situation. But this situation can't be controlled. Within hours the general's wife is murdered hundreds of miles away. Then the dominoes really start to fall.

Two Special Forces soldiers, the toughest of the tough, are taken down, one at a time. Top military commanders are moved from place to place in a bizarre game of chess. And somewhere inside the vast worldwide fortress that is the U.S. Army, Jack Reacher, an ordinarily untouchable investigator for the 110th Special Unit, is being set up as a fall guy with the worst enemies a man can have.

But Reacher won't quit. He's fighting a new kind of war. And he's taking a young female lieutenant with him on a deadly hunt that leads them from the ragged edges of a rural army post to the winding streets of Paris to a confrontation with an enemy he didn't know he had. With his French-born mother dying, and divulging to her son one last, stunning secret, Reacher is forced to question everything he once believed about his family, his career, his loyalties and himself. Because this soldier's son is on his way into the darkness, where he finds a tangled drama of desperate desires and violent death and a conspiracy more chilling, ingenious, and treacherous than anyone could have guessed.

Chapter One

As serious as a heart attack. Maybe those were Ken Kramer's last words, like a final explosion of panic in his mind as he stopped breathing and dropped into the abyss. He was out of line, in every way there was, and he knew it. He was where he shouldn't have been, with someone he shouldn't have been with, carrying something he should have kept in a safer place. But he was getting away with it. He was playing and winning. He was on top of his game. He was probably smiling. Until the sudden thump deep inside his chest betrayed him. Then everything turned around. Success became instant catastrophe. He had no time to put anything right.  Nobody knows what a fatal heart attack feels like. There are no survivors to tell us. Medics talk about necrosis, and clots, and oxygen starvation, and occluded blood vessels. They predict rapid useless cardiac fluttering, or else nothing at all. They use words like infarction and fibrillation, but those terms mean nothing ...

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    BookBrowse Awards
    2005

Reviews

BookBrowse

'The Enemy' is a treat for existing fans, because it's a prequel to the other books, taking Reacher back to his days as a military policeman at the end of the Cold War, revealing key information about why he became the person he is in the later books. Because this is a prequel it's also a great place for new readers to discover this excellent author.  

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

The latest entry in what is arguably today's finest thriller series flashes back to series hero Jack Reacher's days in the military police.....Textured, swift and told in Reacher's inimitably tough voice, this title will hit lists and will convince those who still need convincing that Child has few peers in thrillerdom.

Library Journal - Michele Leber

Child's trademark smart story lines, crisp prose, and nonstop action with a slam-bang finish make this essential for popular fiction collections.

Kirkus Reviews

A fabulously suspenseful prequel that reveals Reacher's character as he uncovers a homicidal cabal of military officers....Child has turned away from formulaic high-jinks to explore his characters instead The result? His best so far.

Booklist - Bill Ott

Starred Review. 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.

Reader Reviews
Joshua Lim

The Enemy
wonderful page-turner....quite disappointed (which is quite rare) when the story ends...has become a jack reacher fan as a result of this book...good writing!

V. Maarse

Exciting story, but...
The story is good and exciting, but to my opinion Lee Child wants to use too many words to make a point, which in several cases doesn't lead anywhere. Hero is a real superhero and you have to like that not to be a little irritated by that. Surprised ...   Read More

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