Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mayhem in Manhattan

Action abounds in Lee Child's "Gone Tomorrow." Jack Reacher is on a New York subway and eyeballs a woman sitting across from him. From Israeli intelligence, he recalls the eleven points to look for in a female suicide bomber. She has almost every sign. As he approaches her to ask if he can help, she pulls out a gun and kills herself.
After giving his statements to the police, he meets the brother of the woman on the train, also a cop. He tells Reacher that his sister, Susan Mark, wouldn't have committed suicide. Something happened to make her do it. He also informs Reacher that his sister worked for the Pentagon.
There are men outside the train station who ask Reacher if the woman handed him anything or mentioned the names John Swanson or Lila Hoth. She didn't but the names give Reacher subjects to investigate. He buys a book written by Congressman John Swanson about his life. He discovers that Swanson was in the Delta Forces and received a number of medals but the details aren't given.
Reacher goes to Washington, DC and speaks to Swanson but doesn't learn anything. Then back in New York, he meets Lila and her mother. They tell him that the mother, Svetlana was supposedly Ukrainian and was attempting to find a soldier who had a relationship with her in Berlin and that Susan Mark was helping them.
As the fast moving plot speeds along, we are given insight into Reacher's reasoning and find that there were holes in Lila and her mother's story. They appeared sympathetic but were pulling a scam. They wanted info that would embarrass the Congressman or the United States. Reacher must find the memory stick that Susan stole from the Pentagon but Congressman Swanson's aide tells Reacher he's better off not knowing what's on the tape.
Child's last novel, "Nothing to Lose" wasn't up to his prior excellence but with "Gone Tomorrow" he's back at the pinnacle of action thrillers. We have more insights to Reacher's thought process which makes him more interesting. It is also somewhat different to see him work with others as opposed to being "The lone stranger."
Most of the action takes place in Manhattan and the author describes the city and its inhabitants to perfection.

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