The Eleventh Eleventh Hour

Lee Child is on his 11th Jack Reacher book and in

this one

he comes up with one great opening scene. A man with two broken legs is brought by stretcher onto a helicopter. What looks like a mission of mercy, rapidly devolves into something else.

A few pages later, enter Jack Reacher who meets all the criteria for a modern-day hero. A smart, laconic loner, he flies way below the radar with no telephone, no home address, no apparent ties to anyone. He is also a mathematical genius; he loves numbers and sorts through their patterns for deeper meanings.

As the novel begins he is drawn back into the elite military unit of ten years before when he receives a cryptic message from a former Army buddy who somehow is able to find him when no one else can. They join forces to begin a search for the other team members, some of whom have gone missing, perhaps dead.

It’s a good, fast-paced story with an always comforting message that there are honorable people out there who feeling bound by loyalty and commitment, try to do the right thing, no matter how inconvenient or dangerous that might be.

As in any good thriller there are also people you should not trust as well as those you really can’t make up your mind about. Child does a good job of working them into the story with the requisite amount of surprise. The author has previous best sellers in Persuader, The Enemy, One Shot and The Hard Way. If you haven’t been reading him, this is a good introduction. -- Margaret Downing

Bad Luck and Trouble, Delacorte Press, $26

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