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Lee Child: One Shot

 

Crescent Blues Book Views Delacorte Press (Hardcover), ISBN 0-385-33668-3

Book: lee child, one shot
Periodically, by the time I finish the first chapter or two of a new novel, I sense the onset of what I recognize as the "I have too much to do to sit here all day and read, but maybe I'll take just a bit more time to read just another few pages syndrome." On those occasions, I almost always try to put up a valiant fight against the urge, but I know I'm hooked. That edgy feeling began at about page two of Author Lee Child's One Shot. I gave up fighting it by page four.

The suspense begins as a sniper takes his position on an upper floor of a parking garage. His carefully chosen location provides a panoramic view of the pedestrians walking purposely past a fountain on their way to and from a myriad of destinations. With the calm reserve gained from experience and hours of practice, he picks his targets as they walk randomly into his sights. Six shots in rapid order claim five innocent lives. His plan completed, he gathers his gear, slides carefully back into the garage, and vanishes from the scene.

Although police and special law enforcement teams respond almost immediately to the dozens of panic calls pouring into the 911 emergency lines, the shooter evades detection and slips easily through the cordon of hastily established road blocks. The investigators on the scene, however, begin to put together an analysis of the crime scene later labeled by the press as the "perfect investigation." Gathering forensic evidence from the fountain in the square and tracing line of sight coordinates back to the parking garage, they uncover minute bits of evidence from which they piece together a profile of the killer. Eventually matching a fingerprint, they arrest James Barr, a former Marine sharpshooter, and find indisputable evidence of his guilt in his possession. At his questioning, Barr makes only two statements. He tells the interrogators they have the wrong guy and he asks to speak to Jack Reacher.

Reacher learns of the request through a television newscast. Stunned to recognize the name of the suspected killer and motivated by incidents from his past, he travels to the area of the crime scene. After making the necessary contacts, he visits Barr, now held in the prison hospital after suffering a vicious beating at the hands of fellow inmates. The conversation with Barr convinces Reacher to undertake an independent inquiry into the circumstances of the murders. And then the "perfect investigation" begins to reveal its blemishes.

One Shot, the latest in Lee Child's long line of very popular Jack Reacher mysteries, will please veteran readers and thrill newcomers to the series. The enigmatic loner, Jack Reacher, makes an appealingly off-beat hero, and Child's propensity to keep the plot line about three steps ahead of the reader makes for fascinating and exciting reading.

Clint Hunter

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