In this slick, swift, sexy thriller, it's Jack Reacher, the thinking man's Rambo, against a band of hand-picked, combat-hardened, armed-to-the-teeth, ex–special services guys, but, hey, there are only eight of them.
We're talking Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, Green Beret, British SAS and the like, all now free from their savage services but never from their training. Which is to render people dead without wasted motion or mercy. They're commanded by an ex–U.S. Army colonel who has formed these wacko killers into a group called Operational Security Consultants (read mercenaries), and who may be considerably off-kilter himself. Reacher comes into contact with them all by happenstance. Sitting in a favorite café, sipping espresso, he notices something odd about a certain parked car—and is noticed noticing. What he's seen, it turns out, is a car full of ransom money. It belongs to ex-Colonel Edward Lane, whose wife and step-child—Kate and Jade—have been kidnapped. In Reacher's world, however, it's a truism that kidnappings are not always what they appear. Kate, Reacher soon learns, is not Lane's first wife. Nor is she his first wife to be kidnapped. Reacher learns this from a young woman with vengeance on her mind. For four years, Patti Joseph, the first Mrs. Lane's sister, has kept Lane under personal surveillance, convinced that he murdered her sister, intent on making him pay for it. From private eye Lauren Pauling—green-eyed and elegant—Reacher learns more about Lane, none of it redeeming. In and out of bed, Reacher and Pauling form an effective team, mounting a search-and-destroy operation that eventually takes them across the Atlantic to what amounts to an English O.K. Corral.
Quintessential Child (One Shot, 2005, etc.)—preposterous as always, but oh, how those pages keep turning.