If the President had sent Jack Reacher after Osama bin Laden, the elusive terrorist would now be sharing a cell with Saddam Hussein and our troops would be on their way home from Iraq! What a guy --- Triple X, Indiana Jones and Don Quixote all rolled into one. Lee Child has brought his series hero through some impossible situations, yet with each new book he maintains a level of interest and suspense that is seldom found so consistently. ONE SHOT grabs you in the first few paragraphs and doesn't let go until the last sentence.
For those who haven't yet had the pleasure of meeting Jack Reacher, he is retired from a fourteen-year stint in the Army as a Major in the Military Police. He is not only a crack investigator but also a marksman, weapons expert and survivalist. In addition, he's a handsome rascal who knows how to charm women in several different languages. And, while he can be merciless toward his enemies, he is fiercely loyal to his friends and is willing to put his life on the line for anyone who has been victimized by the bad guys. However, he guards his freedom and has nothing to tie him down. No apartment, no car, no cell phone, no credit cards --- only a few sets of clothes and a toothbrush, living the totally feng shui-ed life.
In ONE SHOT, our hero is enjoying the Florida sunshine with a dancer from a Norwegian cruise ship. Meanwhile, up in the heartland, a sniper has gunned down five people, and when he is caught he claims his innocence and asks for Jack Reacher. Although the shooter was never a friend, James Barr had been stationed with Reacher for several years. During that time, in a weird series of events, Barr had opened fire on a military group yet had never been indicted. Reacher heads north hoping that he can testify for the prosecution and finally see Barr brought to justice.
Almost from the beginning of his involvement, Reacher's suspicions are aroused because the airtight case against James Barr appears to be too perfect. Soon Russian Mafia types are tailing him and innocent people are being killed and kidnapped. Meanwhile, the mutilated, mysterious Russian, Zec, and his henchmen always seem to be one step ahead of the police, adding another dimension of suspense.
In ONE SHOT the author provides Reacher with a competent and compatible back-up team as our hero unravels the mystery. Deftly, Child holds back just enough to build tension and keep the reader from getting ahead of his characters. When the climax is reached, loose ends are tied up and the good guys win. Perfect. This is Lee Child's eighth novel, and he soon should be rocketing to overnight success.
Reviewed by Maggie Harding on January 13, 2011