Thanks to an unfortunate run-in with an off-duty cop, Reacher finds himself hitching out of a small Texan town in the height of summer’s midday heat. Expecting to wait hours, he’s surprised to be picked up in minutes, by the kind of driver least likely to stop for a tall, heavily-built man in his prime – a delicate young woman. He’s even less prepared for Carmen’s request – to kill the abusive husband who, jailed for tax evasion, is about to be released early. Reacher is, and has been, many things, but not a killer for hire. He does agree, however, to go to the ranch where Carmen, her beloved daughter Ellie, and her in-laws live.
The fifth in this series about a former MP who goes where the road takes him, righting wrongs along the way, has the same elements as almost all the rest of the Reacher novels I’ve read so far - innocent victims, unrelentingly bad opponents, tensely perilous situations cunningly outwitted, good triumphing over villainy, and our hero riding off into the sunset. As with the rest of the series there’s no need to have read any of Child’s work before – all the back story you need is seamlessly woven into the first few pages, and except where needed for verisimilitude plays second fiddle to the plot. It is Child’s genius that transforms what would, in lesser hands, be formulaic pap into a compelling read that kept me up until late in the night. His characters are fully fleshed, dialogue compelling, sentence structure economical but somehow detailed, and a plot that satisfyingly doubled back on itself. Reacher is always a step ahead – of the other characters, and of at least this reader.
Echo Burning also has one of the nicest dedications I’ve come across in quite a while.
I thoroughly enjoyed Echo Burning and look forward to my next encounter with the laconic, idealised Reacher. – Alex
The Jack Reacher novels
Killing Floor; Die Trying; Tripwire; The Visitor; Echo Burning; Without Fail; Persuader;The Enemy; One Shot; The Hard Way; Bad Luck and Trouble; Nothing to Lose; Gone Tomorrow; 61 Hours; Worth Dying For