Gloria's Bookshelf.

Author:Feit, Gloria
Position::Book review
 
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Worth Dying For

Lee Child

Delacorte Press

1745 Broadway, NY, NY 10019

9780385344319, $28.00, www.bantamdell.com

It should perhaps be noted at the outset that readers waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak, after the cliffhanger ending of "61 Hours," the previous book in the series [of which this is the 15th], are-initially at least-in for a disappointment, for the explanation [such as it is] comes pretty much only by references to Reacher having been badly hurt, as well as descriptions of specific effects of the trauma sustained in the closing pages of that book, but no details. Until a bit later in the book, that is: After a while there is a paragraph giving a succinct description of the events themselves.

Now that that's out of the way ...

This time around, Reacher finds himself in Nebraska, after hitching a ride [as is his wont] "in the dead of winter in the forty-first least densely populated state of America's fifty," where he comes up against an old family [three brothers and the son of one of them] so powerful that they have an entire town-with everything and everyone in it-under its control. The town in question is 450 miles due south of the Canadian border, and it soon becomes clear that said family is involved with some kind of illegal smuggling.

Reacher takes a motel room for the night, in which he finds "everything he needed, nothing he didn't," which happens to be his credo for the manner in which he travels [i.e., "light"]. And which, for that matter, is a perfect description of a Lee Child book, to which this one is no exception. When Reacher is told he is crazy, he says he prefers to think of himself as conscientious. But he is more than that. Wrongs need to be righted. At some point the tale includes an investigation into what happened to an eight-year-old girl who had disappeared 25 years earlier.

The expected quotient of heightening suspense mixed with violence, equally in service of good and evil, is present, of course. As always the writing is wonderful and witty, and includes a priceless treatise on human nature. Reacher once more relies, for the most part, on little more than ingenuity. At one point, when he finds himself outnumbered four to one, with only a small amount of weaponry, he finds that he has everything he needs, nothing he doesn't, once more. Not invincible, but still Reacher, after all.

Highly recommended.

Blood and Fire

Nick Brownlee

Thomas Dunne Books

c/o St. Martin's Press

175 Fifth Ave., NY, NY 10010

9780312550240, $25.99, www.minotaurbooks.com

In "Blood and Fire," the sequel to "Bait," the...

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