Travelling light

2009-07-29 00:00


Gone Tomorrow

Lee Child

Bantam Press

GONE Tomorrow is the latest Jack Reacher thriller, which will have men and women (yes, this action hero appeals equally to both sexes apparently) reaching for their wallets.

For the uninitiated, Reacher is the ultimate loner, he travels super-light; just a toothbrush and the odd credit card. In the earlier books (this is the 13th) he even managed without those, staying off the radar to pop up here and there as a lone avenger and righter of wrongs.

However, security measures post 9/11 have meant even the Reachers of this world have had to come in, some way at least, from the cold. And 9/11 is very much the background to Gone Tomorrow.

The story opens with Reacher travelling in a subway train in New York City when he realises the woman sitting opposite shows all the signs of being a suicide bomber — Reacher recognises them thanks to having once caught sight of an Israeli profile of the aforesaid. Fans will know Reacher tends to have arcane bits of knowledge stashed away for such unforeseen circumstances.

As it turns out she isn’t, but still manages to meet a gruesome end that propels the ensuing thrill-ride which cleverly blends in U.S. politics, post 9/11 concerns and some heavy-duty violence.

Child is expert at pulling you along, adding cliffhanger twists that wrong-foot Reacher as well as the reader. But this reader (although initiated) remains unconvinced, despite the critical acclaim for both the series and Child’s stripped-down prose. After reading a clutch, I’ll ­admit Reacher is a genuine original but they are still the sort of books you leave behind on the plane. Here ­today …

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