Jerry's Reviews > One Shot

One Shot by Lee Child
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Jul 04, 10

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Read in June, 2005

It's already "shot" to our ten LIFETIME BEST list !

We've read all eight of the Jack Reacher books and absolutely love this singular character. And in "One Shot" we found one of the best books we've ever read -- how's that for high praise! First, Reacher is perhaps the best new leading man of this decade: as smart as Nero Wolfe; as honest and personable as a Dick Francis hero; and as physically fit and resourceful as Arnold Schwarzenegger, with the type of will that enables him to break a bad guy's neck without a second of indecision. Second, Child has created a plot with such gripping suspense, we stayed up till 3 a.m. to finish this -- we can't even remember the last time we were up much past midnight! And the supporting cast, including two women, were so appealing, with characters crafted so well, we'd almost like to see more of them as well.

The story gets off to a hot start when a sniper mows down (with six rifle shots) five random people innocently leaving their place of work. The guy seems to have expertly planned his attack, yet leaves behind such a wealth of forensic evidence that even a CSI rookie could have followed the trail and snagged the killer, as did the local Indiana small city cops just hours later that night. The arrested man, James Barr, who turns out to be a Gulf War Army sniper, says almost nothing, but finally denies his guilt and asks for Jack Reacher. Reacher hears about the deed on national TV and sets out for the town before he knew he had been tangentially involved. Meanwhile Barr gets almost killed in prison overnight and is in a coma in the hospital. When Reacher shows up and sees the case from the police side, he is also convinced it's open and shut -- and we're left wondering where this is all going. Answer -- into one great story that tracks down the truth from the tiniest of inconsistencies, with little more than caring people to keep the search going strong. When Reacher gets hit on by some bad guys after a setup from a cute townie girl, and then the girl gets brutally offed, he's in the game for good now; and as usual, enraged enough morally to relentlessly chase -- mostly on foot (he doesn't own a car or anything else for that matter!) -- the villains. Finally, it may be that a crooked cop or DA (the defense lawyer's father of all people) may be part of the problem, only adding to the tension! Cap this off with a fabulous ending that leaves everybody happy and satisfied, especially we readers, and what more can we ask for in a novel!

We rarely effuse to this extent about a "mere" thriller, but Lee Child has written a truly great book -- one that grabs our hearts and minds, keeps us involved as the pages fly by, and rams home several hours of first class entertainment. For fiction fans, THE MUST READ OF THE YEAR !!

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