Thursday, April 4, 2013

Book Review

Echo Burning (Jack Reacher, #5)Echo Burning by Lee Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just spent a few days in Texas, traveling the barren countryside, sweating in the scorching heat,and tasting the dust, and I didn't have to leave my comfortable sofa. I was transported there by Lee Child's amazingly descriptive narrative. "Echo Burning", another Jack Reacher novel, and one of the earlier ones, was a page turner in every sense of the word. Child's fans know that Reacher is an unencumbered traveler, managing to find trouble wherever he ends up. By the time he leaves, people are hurt or dead, and problems are solved. In "Echo Burning" Reacher is picked up while hitchhiking by Carmen Greer, a pretty Hispanic woman with a strange proposal. She's looking for someone to kill her husband Sloop, a wife beater currently in prison. She and their daughter live with his mother and brother in the town of Echo, Texas and are treated like the hired help. Sloop is scheduled to be released in a few days and Carmen is desperately looking for the right person to do the job. Although 6'5" Reacher looks like he could be the one, he quickly refuses, but is intrigued by her story and realizes she needs help from the abusive home she is in. Carmen arranges to have Reacher sign on as a hired hand on their large ranch so he can be a bodyguard as she awaits her husband's release. When he learns Carmen has purchased a gun to defend herself, he reluctantly shows her how to shoot it. Sloop is released and Reacher is soon driven out of Echo by the local sheriff at the family's request, only to hear that Sloop has been shot and is dead. Carmen is arrested and thus follows a very twisted tale that will have the reader believing one thing, then the opposite. There are other killings that seem random but are related to the Greer family connections. Reacher and an attorney named Alice are determined to get to the truth, and it's quite a journey to get there. One of the final scenes was much too long and detailed, and some of Reacher's deductions could only be made by someone who is clairvoyant. It does wrap up in the end, and Reacher is seen leaving town on foot, ready for his next adventure.

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