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"The Enemy", the ninth Jack Reacher book, takes us back to January 1990, just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when Reacher was a Major in the Military Police.
One of the things I enjoyed about the previous book, "The Persuader" was the glimpses it gave me of who Jack Reacher was when he was in the Army. It left me hungry for more. Perhaps it had the same impact on Lee Child because "The Enemy is set entirely in Reacher's Army past.
"The Enemy" is a sort of "Origins of Wolverine" book. it deepened my understanding of how the Jack Reacher I met in the previous books came to be the way he is.
"The Enemy" explores how the US Army works via an investigation into the death of General. The plot is tight, complex and satisfying, spiced by conflicts with an asshole superior officer with an agenda and a larger mystery around a coordinated but unexplained large-scale re-assignment of Special Unit MPs.
I know nothing of the US Army other than what I've seen of their bases in Germany and the UK but I found Child's depiction of it convincing and compelling: the sheer scale of the organization as it was back then, the way bases are the same everywhere in the world, right down to the menus in the Officers' Club, the power of rank, the freedom to work the system, the complete lack of control on where and under whom you will serve.
I enjoyed seeing Reacher outside the US, in Germany (where the US bases make everything seem as close to home as possible) and France in which Reacher, son of a French woman, seems more at home than in North Carolina. I was fascinated to see how Reacher behaved with his older brother, a man who was killed in the first Jack Reacher book, "Killing Floor" and who's ghostwad evoked in the sixth book "Without Fail" when Reacher is approached by his brother's ex-girl friend.
Reacher in 1990 seemed less damaged and less lost than the Reacher in the other books. The Army and his family give him stability and a sense of purpose. It becomes clear how the loss of these things would change him for the worse.
But the 1990 Reacher is still recognisable. The things that make him scary are already present: his tendency towards violent confrontation, his inablity to let things go, his habit of using others to achieve his own agenda and his willingness to appoint himself as both judge and executioner. The things that prevent me from writing him off as a psychotic thug are also there: hisdrive to do the right thing, his willingness to take the consequences for his actions and his strong desire to keep the Army the way he thinks it should be.
"The Enemy" is a well-written period criminal investigation novel that would be attractive as a stand-alone novel. The insight's that it brings on Reacher's origins move it up into a compelling read and encourages me to thank that the Reacher novels will continue to get better, which is good news as I still have eleven more to go.
Where does The Enemy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
The Enemy is of a very high standard and very much like Lee Child's other Jack Reacher books, an in-depth journey into Whitehouse politics and murder
Who was your favorite character and why?
You cannot rate anyone in a Jack Reacher book any higher than Jack Reacher himself. A very convincing portrait of an ex-army policeman with all the skills, knowledge and experience of someone who grew-up as an army child
What does Jeff Harding bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
I believe Jeff Harding is one of the greatest US voice-over artists that has ever been used to read USA-based audio books. As a blind reader of thriller audio books, I have listened to a large number of his audio books and I marvel at his capacity to not only make the books interesting but to read in so many different voices and dialects, even British English on some occasions! I rate Jeff as one of the best.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Without giving much away, the scene where the vice President was visiting a homeless shelter to serve lunch was the most moving part of the book
Any additional comments?
I rate this book as one of the best in the Jack Reacher series.... although I must say, I have already read seven and they are all brilliant
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
What did you like most about The Enemy?
The story was well planned out and kept me guessing.
What did you like best about this story?
Jeff Harding narrating made it all the more easy to listen to, he is the best.
Which character – as performed by Jeff Harding – was your favourite?
Any additional comments?
Another great Jack Reacher novel. The plot was interesting and action packed. If you like the series or the genre you'll like the enemy, a real listener/page turner.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Even though this is the eighth book in the series, it's the first chronologically, and the first one I read. It was enjoyable, so much so that I read it in 36 hours. Looking forward to the next one. It's a bit more thoughtful unusual detective/action genre, which makes for a very good read.
A new style for me. Good technical knowledge. Fair weave of complexity for first book.