Tripp's Reviews > The Enemy

The Enemy by Lee Child
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's review
Apr 06, 2009

really liked it
Recommended for: Thriller readers only
Read in April, 2009

Lee Child's Jack Reacher books tend to elicit extreme responses. (Boy, that website is something, note how the smoke moving across the page flows from the cigarette of Child on to the nearly shirtless Reacher actor. Steamy!) Anyway, people either love the hard-boiled prose, the violence and the twisty mysteries, or they view the prose as overly staccato, Reacher as an unrealistic superhuman and the violence as disturbing. I count myself in the former group, but I can see how it isn't everyone's cup of Double Bergamot Earl Grey.

I've just read the Enemy, which is a sort of Reacher Origins story, to take a comic book concept. The year is 1990 and Reacher is still an MP. On New Year's Eve, he is called in to investigate the death of an Army general found naked and dead in a no-tell motel. As soon as Reacher tries to investigate he finds himself stymied and in danger, grave danger. The story shows a little of Reacher's family history as well as the starting point for his departure from the Army.

We learn that Reacher's military unit is a special police unit that is set outside the normal military chain of command, so that it can better investigate anyone up and down the military hierarchy. This helps explain how the lone wolf Reacher of the books set later in his career could stand to work for an organization like the Army.

Child is particularly good at misdirecting the reader, an essential trait in a mystery. While I had a sense of where things were going, he managed a couple of nice surprises. I also quite liked the Army setting. We get a nice does of intra-Army politics and infighting as well as life on the base.

I didn't love the ending I have to admit. I liked the very end, as the darker Reacher finally emerges, but the climatic revelations went on a bit long. The ride beforehand is great though. This book could even be a reasonable entry point to the series as it is more reflective of the style of other books in the series than the ghoulish Killing Floor, the first book in the series.
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