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68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting police procedural with a blockbuster ending.
In the taut, staccato style reminiscent of Raymond Chandler or John D. MacDonald, Lee Child presents his eighth Jack Reacher novel, a police procedural with a difference: Reacher is an MP, an army Major at Fort Bird, North Carolina, obedient to a different set of rules and objectives. Recently transferred from Panama to be MP Executive Officer, Reacher must immediately...
Published on 19 May 2004 by Mary Whipple

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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity
Last year's "Persuader" was one of the great thrillers of 2003, and implied good things about this series as a whole - chiefly that Child was hitting his stride and discovering new confidence in both his character and his writing - so made me very eager for this prequel. I was intrigued to find out what the young Reacher would be like and how he would have changed from...
Published on 23 Nov 2004 by jxn


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68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting police procedural with a blockbuster ending., 19 May 2004
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Enemy (Hardcover)
In the taut, staccato style reminiscent of Raymond Chandler or John D. MacDonald, Lee Child presents his eighth Jack Reacher novel, a police procedural with a difference: Reacher is an MP, an army Major at Fort Bird, North Carolina, obedient to a different set of rules and objectives. Recently transferred from Panama to be MP Executive Officer, Reacher must immediately investigate the death of a two-star general who has died in a seedy, nearby motel, presumably with a prostitute. His briefcase, containing the agenda for a top-secret conference in California, has disappeared, and when Reacher and his aide, Lt. Summer, go to break the news to the general's wife, they find her dead, too, bludgeoned to death with a crowbar within hours of the general's death.
With almost military precision, dramatic complications unfold, and Reacher soon finds himself facing two new deaths, one of which is a gruesome butchering which takes place on the base. Ordered by superiors to cover up the murder by calling it a "training accident," Reacher and his aide investigate surreptitiously, soon discovering that his MP XO counterparts at twenty more bases throughout the world have also been newly appointed to their positions, all of them on or around December 29. Obvious questions arise about who is pulling the strings, who has the power to transfer so many MPs to new posts, and why someone would want to do so.
Child is a meticulous writer whose plot follows a strict chronological order and moves at a breath-taking pace, with one dramatic scene following hard on the heels of another. Reacher and his aide Summer are not fully developed characters, but they do not need to be as they struggle to learn who is controlling the grisly chess game which has resulted in four deaths. The action is resolved in an extravagant grand finale, with twists and turns and spectacular surprises. Though the ending resolves the disparate threads, it may also be a disappointment to some readers, since the premise behind the plot and the motivation which led to the murders, when finally revealed, seems too unrealistic to justify the murderous extremes to which "the enemy" has gone. Though Child is brilliant in creating an exciting story packed with action, the final pages feel cynical and reveal a view of humanity that is grim. Mary Whipple
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Winner!, 6 April 2004
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This review is from: The Enemy (Hardcover)
This latest novel by Lee Child is sure to please long time fans of all-American hero Jack Reacher, as well as newcomers. The story grabs you from the first few pages and keeps it's grip right through to the end.
It's January 1st, 1990, just past midnight and Reacher receives a phone call concerning the death of a General in a rather seedy motel room. Although a heart attack is established as the cause of death, the forthcoming investigation uncovers a lot more, starting with the murder of the General's wife and a missing briefcase belonging to the General, the contents of which gives others reason to kill. The body count begins to mount and Reacher is warned by his new commanding officer to stop investigating. Although in this prequel, Jack Reacher is under the restraints of military protocol, Reacher fans will not be disappointed. Child finds a way to allow Reacher to be the "One man army" that fans have come to love. We see that, even wearing a soldier's uniform, doesn't stop Jack Reacher from seeking the truth, no matter where it leads, facing the inevitable charges of misconduct and insubordination. Even the threats to his own life don't deter him, but instead lead him deeper into the dark and secretive world of military politics and cover-ups. For true thriller fans, there are enough bone-chilling scenes and suspense to satisfy even the toughest critic. Through Lee Child's superb writing, we see that you what makes someone a true soldier, is not the uniform, but the man.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top-notch prequel, 28 Dec 2006
By 
T. Parker (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Lee Child raids Reacher's back story and takes us back to the great man's last days in the military police, linking the story to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Reacher is bright enough to see what the "peace dividend" is likely to bring in terms of power struggles and military mis-management. This link to real events gives the story a strong foundation, though it is fun spotting the points where Child uses hindsight to make his predictions.

Child has clearly done his research well, for the novel brims with military jargon and procedure, all of which feels right and is delivered effortlessly, rather than dropped in as window dressing. The tale provides the usual generous helping of of murder and mayhem and is tricky enough to keep the reader interested right to the end. We even get to see Reacher make a mistake - proving that he's human after all.

I'm not sure if this is the only Reacher novel written in the first person but, if so, the change makes it a more personal and satisfying experience. Reacher feels right at home here and The Enemy is worthy of its place in the collection.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reacher shelled by tanks and busted one grade, 25 Feb 2005
By 
Joseph Haschka (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Enemy (Hardcover)
In the previous seven books of the Jack Reacher series, author Lee Child positions his hero in space and time after his release from active duty with the U.S. Army's Military Police. We've gotten to know Jack as a relatively asocial tough guy who wanders the United States attracting big trouble as he helps others cope with assorted villains. Here, in THE ENEMY, we see Reacher in his previous life as an MP officer.
It's New Year's Eve 1989, and Major Reacher has only just been yanked off duty in Panama and hurriedly assigned to Fort Bird, North Carolina as the Executive Officer of the post's MP detachment. As the MP Commanding Officer is on leave, Jack is Fort Bird's acting top cop. At the stroke of midnight, Reacher gets a call from the local civilian police saying they've found a dead general in a cheap hotel room. He'd apparently died of a heart attack while entertaining a hooker. The deceased turns out to be General Kramer of XII Armored Corps deployed in Germany. Kramer had been traveling to California for a Big Meeting, and had gone far out of his way from a Washington, DC layover for a night's sleazy good time. Trouble is, the general's briefcase containing the meeting agenda has disappeared, and Jack's duty is to find it. Soon enough, the bodies begin to pile up, mostly of murder victims. And Reacher is pressured from above to stand down from his investigations or be charged himself with one of the killings. But Jack bulls ahead anyway in the trademark Reacher style that his fans have learned to expect.
THE ENEMY strikes me as the most complex Reacher thriller to date. Perhaps too complex. Reacher's personality is unadorned. (In a previous book, we learn that he doesn't even know how to fold a shirt.) His rapport with any Bad Guy involves kicking butt. Here, when the Army is faced with the imminent retreat of Soviet forces from East Germany following the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and the service's various disciplines - infantry, armored, special forces, etc. - must now individually engage in skullduggery to ensure its pre-eminence in a revamped, post-Cold War military, the subtleties of the situation perhaps ill-fit Jack's black-and-white, simplistic approach. But, of course, Reacher prevails in his usual manner, thus providing a superficially satisfying read.
What causes me to give four stars instead of five is my overreaction to the author's poor research on a couple of points. Towards the end, Reacher must fly to LAX in Los Angeles, then drive to a military base north of Barstow. Jack notes that LAX and Barstow are 30 miles and a 1-hour drive apart. What map was Lee, who lives in New York City, looking at?! The two are more like 150 miles apart, or a 2.5-hour drive on a good day through SoCal traffic. On another occasion, Reacher observes about the Army's promotion ladder:
"... the ladder stretches all the way up to a five-star General of the Army, although I wasn't aware of anyone except George Washington and Dwight David Eisenhower who ever made it that far."
This is a remarkably obtuse statement from someone who attended West Point. While Washington was posthumously appointed by President Ford to forever be the most senior officer in the American Armed Forces, he never achieved higher than the highest rank then existing, i.e. 3-star Lieutenant General. Five-star rank was established by Congress in 1944 to give the most senior American officers equal standing with British, French, and Soviet Field Marshals. Five U.S. Army officers, all of the World War II era, have achieved that exalted status: George Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Eisenhower, Henry Arnold (of the Army Air Corps), and Omar Bradley. (Four naval officers have also been given a fifth star: Leahy, Nimitz, King, and Halsey.)
Despite my reservations about THE ENEMY, Jack Reacher is my favorite literary super-hero, and Child's next book is on my Wish List.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thanks for a great read !, 12 Aug 2004
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This review is from: The Enemy (Hardcover)
I have read all Lee Child's books so far and this one is the most impressive. Of course there is as usual a gripping plot, but the prominent feature is an astounding inside picture of the U.S. Army. Although not having served in it myself and not being able to judge its complete accuracy, I found it extremely convincing and fascinating. One wonders how Lee obtained this view, being British himself.
His writing style is extremely kinematic. I think his liberal sprinkling of the sentence "I said nothing" really defines his style (I believe if you counted it in his books the total would run in the hundreds).
He has a magic recipe that makes for enthralling story-telling that is recognizable from page one.
When are we going to see Jack Reacher in the movies ? I think Fred Dryer (aka Rick Hunter) would be the best fit.
Thanks Lee, for one more wonderful book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic new perspective on Reacher, 1 Jun 2004
By 
Garry Pearce (Walton-On-Thames, Surrey, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Enemy (Hardcover)
This book takes a step back in time to see the Reacher previously alluded to in the first books in the series during his days as an MP. This appears to be a brave departure from Child on the tried and tested and in Persuader almost formulaic structure of the other novels in the series.
The book not only gives a look at the old Reacher but also gives an excellent insight into how and why he became the nomadic loner that we have seen in the series to date. While it may not have the impact of Killing Floor it certainly rates up in the top 3 of Child's series and one I would whole-heartedly recommend to fans of the series who felt a little let down by Persuader and were reluctant to pick this book up as a result.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Colonel Reacher - Military Policeman, 30 Mar 2004
By A Customer
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This review is from: The Enemy (Hardcover)
Any other Jack Reacher aficionado, waiting for "The Enemy" as I was, will be rewarded with this unexpected and explosive adventure from his past life in the army. New Years Eve at a new posting, Reacher is probably the only sober high ranking military policeman in the Western Hemisphere, so he is instructed to investigate the death of a soldier in a motel room - a soldier who turns out to be a General. Then being told to inform the General's wife - accompanied by a young woman lieutenant - they discover she has been murdered. It's only chapter two. The danger of starting this breath-taking and absolutely riveting book after supper, means you are likely to be up all night. Reacher is younger, and in the army he is nastier - he makes enemies. Finding he is being framed for murder - and also tightly bound by the hierarchies and regulations of military life, he decides that his only alternative is to investigate on his own. He takes absence without leave and his lieutenant decides to go with him - they are a refreshingly businesslike team too. Reacher shoulders his way through a minefield of boobytraps in pursuit of the almost unproveable truth of his innocence, and she, cool, brave and efficient. In the background is the fall of the Berlin Wall and its effect on Cold War warriors and the armies of the world.
Also in the background of this brilliant thriller, are details of Reachers family - his elder brother Joe from "The Killing Floor" - and his enigmatic mother in Paris, who is dying but courageously tells them both to push off .
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity, 23 Nov 2004
This review is from: The Enemy (Hardcover)
Last year's "Persuader" was one of the great thrillers of 2003, and implied good things about this series as a whole - chiefly that Child was hitting his stride and discovering new confidence in both his character and his writing - so made me very eager for this prequel. I was intrigued to find out what the young Reacher would be like and how he would have changed from his army days, and the promise on the bookjacket of a Reacher far different from the one we have come to know and love seemed to bode well. Except - and here's the thing - save the ease with which he is able to travel internationally, there is no difference; he is the exact same character - same mistrust of authority, same go-it-alone attitude, same guy just several years younger (not that you'd even notice that). Obviously there are limits to what we should anticipate -Reacher is Reacher, after all, and so expecting him to be too far removed from the character in the previous (later) books would be foolish - but while not quite expecting to pick up this novel and find Reacher working as a mime at Butlins I had hoped Child might at least offer some changes to his personality. Given how Child has hinted at the possibility of more prequels, I for one would have been interested to see some differences in the character here that would have been worked out in the prequels until he became the Reacher we meet at the start of "Killing Floor". Seeing as this is the same Reacher, the only difference between the prequels and the "current" novels would be the date and setting - Reacher himself, the towering, compelling focus of all the books, is unmoved and unchanged, and this seems to render the idea of more prequels pointless. I hesitate to accuse Lee Child of not being bold enough to offer up too changed a Reacher lest the reading public not take to the idea, but this book feels rather tentative to me; after the brilliance displayed in several of his other books this feels more like a half-step back than the confident stride forward it should have been, with even the plot collapsing towards the end after much to-ing and fro-ing over the Atlantic which only helps to complicate matters, and the long-anticipated glimpses of certain characters seeming more like consolation than a conscious decision on Child's part. For me, this is easily Child's weakest book, and made all the weaker for all it represents and the possibilities it closes off. But long may he continue, because when he's good he's really very very very good.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full bloodied, action thriller., 26 Mar 2004
By 
D. Norman "chippermoon@aol.com" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Enemy (Hardcover)
THE ENEMY by Lee Child.
Two minutes into the New Year, Military Intelligence Officer, Jack Reacher receives a phone call. He is told that a two star General, General Kramer, has been found dead in a squalid lay-by Motel in North Carolina. The cause of death is established as a heart attack. No reason for foul play is suspected until the body of his wife is discovered as a murder victim. The briefcase containing the Agenda for an important forthcoming Military Meeting is missing. This briefcase was last seen in the possession of General Kramer.
THE ENEMY- a prequel to the previous seven Jack Reacher novels, is set against the year of 1990. The year in which the Berlin wall is taken apart and the cold war ends. The whole recognised order of all U.S. Military Units is in the balance. Politics are rife. Against this background, in which supremacy between U.S. Military and Infantary Units and the establishments of Rock Creek and Fort Bird form, a contributary factor, Colonel Willard becomes Jack's new Commanding Officer. He has his own vested interest in the proceedings. He warns Jack from continuing the investigation, sets him up as being a suspect in the murder of Delta Unit member, Christopher Carbone. This enrages Delta Unit. They give Jack five days to clear his name. If not, he is a dead man.
Jack forms an alliance with shapley, attractive Lt., Summer. Together they endeavour to seek out the truth. Knowing that for the both of them, not just their careers but their very lives are at stake.
As in the previous Jack Reacher novels author, Lee Child writes with sure-fire accuracy. The details concerning the political unrest and information of the re-structuring of Military Units only strengthens the story, from which sub plots emerge as more bodies are disovered.
There are some poignant moments as well. A further insight into the personal life of Jack, as with his brother Joe, they travel to Paris, to meet for the last time their critically ill Mother.
Ultimately though, Jack never loses his appeal as being an action hero. And he proves this - big time - with the story culminating in a desert battle. Which, in the truest sense of the word, is exactly that. A battle!
THE ENEMY - is an excellent, investigative, full bloodied action thriller.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jack Reacher returns, 27 April 2004
By 
Alexa Hodgson (Kent United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Enemy (Hardcover)
I am a huge fan of Lee Child, having read all his Jack Reacher novels todate, and this again does not dissapoint. I like the story being based inJack's past career as a MP (military policeman), as all his previousnovels take place after Jack has come out of the army.
A real pageturner and would recommend to any of Lee Child fans, or to those who likea murder mystery adventure, with a hero tougher and smarter than JamesBond. Buy it, you won't be dissapointed!
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