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Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child


13 "Reacher" books under my belt and Jack still has pulling power.

Lee Child's rangy hero returns to save the day once more, in his latest outing - Gone Tomorrow. I pulled that book out of its package quicker than a five year old at Christmas - the distinctive cover had me drooling and I couldn't resist a quick flick through the first paragraphs, the second I got my hands on it.

Then my dignity returned and I reluctantly put the book aside - the long weekend beckoned and I intended to have put in some serious hammock time, with the enigmatic Jack.

As you can see, it doesn't take a lot to get me excited about the latest Jack Reacher novel. But I'm not alone - all of Child's "Reacher" books have been instant best sellers here. Just boasting about my copy to my Book Club pals had them salivating over the prospect of getting their mitts on it - I told them to form an orderly queue - behind my husband.

That's the lure of Jack. These books are decidedly masculine in tone, but women love them too.

If you're not familiar with Jack - here's a quick potted history. Reacher is a six foot-five inch ex US Army Major of no fixed abode. He doesn't have a driver's licence, doesn't claim federal benefits and he doesn't do tax returns. He likes to slip into peoples' lives and slide right out again - but only after he's saved their bacon and put the world to rights. Trouble seems to dog him everywhere he goes. If I was him, I'd be nervous just crossing the road for bread and milk.

Anyway back to Jack's thirteenth outing...

It's two a.m. in Manhattan. On a subway car hurtling uptown, Jack Reacher sits sprawled out, heading nowhere in particular, observing his environment. He sees the same tired faces; weary men and women. Nothing remarkable in that, unless you have Reacher's training. Because the woman he sees sitting across from him is the textbook example of a suicide bomber.

Ever wondered what Reacher would do to Al Qaeda? Gone Tomorrow is your answer.

Lee Child lures us back into Reacher's world with distinctive style. Settling into "Jack speak" (and this one's written from Jack's POV) is like slipping on a pair of comfy slippers. Lee Child delights in sharing Reacher's huge capacity for facts - these books feel a bit like instruction manuals at times (example: his comprehensive description of what a .357 Magnum revolver will do), but Reacher makes it all sound fascinating.

I wonder if a younger Lee had an early career in advertising or promotion - the way he ends each chapter with a tantalising hook tempts you straight to the next chapter - even if you were about to turn out the light. I'm a sucker for it every time.

On a recent visit to our shores Lee Child told his readers that there would be 20 Jack Reacher novels and that in the final outing, Jack would be taken out in spectacular fashion. It doesn't bear thinking about, but I suppose this ageless hero (in real time, wouldn't he be close to superannuation now?) has to be put to rest some time.

So to sum up - Gone Tomorrow is another enjoyable, solid Reacher read. Not as good as Child's best  - "The Visitor", but pretty darn good. Reacher fans will rush out and buy this novel anyway and they won't be disappointed. Formulaic they may be, but I'll be hanging out for numbers 14 to 20.

RATING: 8/10

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child
Publisher:
Random House
RRP:
Available:
Now


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