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The Enemy by Lee Child

A book by Lee Child

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A tale of murder, investigation, duplicity and integrity.

  • Oct 21, 2004
Rating:
+3
This is a mystery with so many historical and social undercurrents that you must be very knowledgeable about the atmosphere of the times to understand them all. The setting is New Year's Day in 1990 and they are giddy times in Europe. The German people are smashing the hated symbol of the communist conquest of Eastern Europe, the Berlin Wall, to pieces. For all practical purposes, the Cold War is over and the Western democracies are victorious. However, military people who are paid to think ahead are not altogether happy.
The political changes in Europe means that the massive armored divisions the American military keeps in Western Europe are no longer needed. Therefore, the American military needs to drastically rethink and retool in order to be able to respond to the new conditions. As is always the case when there are drastic changes, there are those who are opposed and those who see the opportunity for personal and professional advancement. This climate leads to ruthless actions, and in this case, the trail leads to senior MP Jack Reacher.
A general dies of a heart attack in a seedy motel, apparently in the midst of a dalliance with a prostitute. Reacher is called in to investigate the case, and there are many unusual features. The general went well out of his way for the dalliance and his briefcase is missing. Since the general was involved in strategic planning, the briefcase most likely contained very sensitive materials. The plot quickly thickens when the general's wife and a gay soldier are both brutally murdered. Shortly after that, the commander of the elite Delta force is also found murdered in what presents the appearance of a drug deal gone wrong.
There are many twists and turns to the plot, and the solution is an interesting one in that the culprits are the obvious ones, but the path to the conclusion is not obvious. It involves the army looking after its' own and attempting to avoid scandal, the presence of gays in the military and the politics of military downsizing. It turns out that the motivation for the murders involved all three themes.
As a subplot, Reacher's mother dies in the story. After her death, an old French disabled veteran hands him a box containing material showing a side of his mother that he never knew. She was involved in the French resistance in World War II as a child, posing as the relative of downed Allied airmen so that they could be smuggled out of France and rejoin their units.
This is a gripping tale. I thought I knew who the culprits were early in the book. I was right but wrong about the reasons and the circumstances. Reacher is the ultimate tough guy, able to easily take on veteran barroom bouncers and Delta force members. However, he is also smart and possesses a great deal of integrity. At the end, he sacrifices his rank to protect the memory of a man who sold him out rather than lie.

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More The Enemy reviews
Quick Tip by . June 29, 2010
What an exception writer Lee Child is. Some of what he writes is so unbelieveable but so engrossing.
review by . March 14, 2009
Lee Child has something pretty good going with his Jack Reacher novels. Prior the The Enemy, we've known Reacher as the ex-military police officer and a drifter who has a penchant for finding trouble and for trouble finding him. In this novel Reacher is still in the military and a very hot case falls into his lap.     The plot itself is fairly simple one. While stationed at Fort Bird, North Carolina Reacher is on duty when a General is found dead in sleazy hotel room. But, it's …
review by . January 06, 2006
In this installment of the Jack Reacher series, Lee Child takes a step back into Reacher's past... The Enemy.    Most of the Reacher books involve current day action since Reacher left the military police and started drifting around the country. But in The Enemy, you're dumped back into 1990. Reacher gets a call on New Year's Eve related to a dead general in a hotel room. Naked, with condom, but no partner. No briefcase either, and that overlooked fact causes Reacher to wonder …
review by . May 20, 2005
Lee Child has something pretty good going with his Jack Reacher novels. Prior the The Enemy, we've known Reacher as the ex-military police officer and a drifter who has a penchant for finding trouble and for trouble finding him. In this novel Reacher is still in the military and a very hot case falls into his lap.    The plot itself is fairly simple one. While stationed at Fort Bird, North Carolina Reacher is on duty when a General is found dead in sleazy hotel room. But, it's …
About the reviewer
Charles Ashbacher ()
Ranked #78
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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From Publishers Weekly
The latest entry in what is arguably today's finest thriller series (Persuader, etc.) flashes back to series hero Jack Reacher's days in the military police. It's New Year's Eve 1990, the Soviet Union is about to collapse and the military is on tenterhooks, wondering how a changed globe will affect budgets and unit strengths, when the body of a two-star general is found in a motel near Fort Bird, N.C. Investigating is Reacher, 29, an MP major who's just been transferred from Panamaâ€"one of dozens of top MPs swapped into new posts on the same day, he later learns. Missing from the general's effects is a briefcase that, it's also revealed later, contained an agenda for a secret meeting of army honchos connected to an armored division. Then the general's wife is found bludgeoned to death at home and, soon after, a third body surfaces, of a slain gay Delta Force soldier whose murder contains clues pointing to Reacher as culprit. With Summer, a young black female lieutenant MP at his side (and, eventually, in his bed), Reacher digs deep, in his usual brilliant and violent way, butting against villainous superior officers, part of a grand conspiracy, as well as against members of Delta Force who think that Reacher killed their colleague. Unlike recent Reacher tales, the novel is as much mystery as thriller, as Reacher and Summer sift for and put together clues, but the tension is nonstop. There's a strong ...
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Details

ISBN-10: 0385336675
ISBN-13: 978-0385336673
Author: Lee Child
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Date Published: 2004
Format: Hardback, Paperback
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