Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Review of "The Enemy," by Lee Child

 Review of

The Enemy, by Lee Child ISBN 0385336675

Four out of five stars

Inner warfare among American military is unsettling

 While I occasionally read a military thriller, this was my first Jack Reacher novel. Reacher is an army investigator that is suddenly transferred with no real reason given. The timeframe is New Year’s Day of 1990, when the Iron Curtain is falling down with a surprisingly mild and non-violent thud. With no Soviet Red Army backed up by the Warsaw Pact forces to plan against, the U. S. military is facing a massive downsizing. This is especially true for the armored divisions in Europe, their metal fighting behemoths are rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

 A general of the armored forces is on his way to a major planning conference when he stops at a seedy motel where most of the rooms are rented by the hour. He suffers a fatal heart attack when he is about to meet his connection. Reacher is called in to investigate and one of the first things he notices is that the general’s briefcase is gone. Since it had to contain an agenda for the meeting and that agenda is an important state secret, there is pressure to find it.

 Reacher makes an unwarranted and dangerous assumption, and it gets him in trouble. At times, it appears that he has no real allies in the military and when two elite Special Forces soldiers are taken down, Reacher is suspected. This puts him within the crosshairs of people that should be his allies. As expected, Reacher prevails and tracks down the perpetrators, which are most unsavory.

 The timeframe of this book was before the famous “Don’t ask don’t tell” policy of the U. S. military. Therefore, some aspects of the plot are very dated. What is most disturbing is how quick and easy other members of the military are to turn on Reacher. The placing of personal interests over that of the country by people in the military is always troubling, even when it is in a work of fiction. Reacher is also slow to grasp a very obvious major clue.

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