Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Read: "Echo Burning" by Lee Child

Read: Echo Burning by Lee Child, 2001, 9780515143829 (2005 paperback).

The weakest of the Reacher novels I have read. Child took awhile to get into the mystery aspect. Most of this was Reacher dealing with intense summer heat and Child detailing the endless flat plains of West Texas.

Reacher is leaving Abilene quick in the middle of the summer heat. He gets a ride from an attractive Hispanic gal, Carmen. Carmen starts feeling him out and telling him about her awful husband who beat her but is now in prison. Carmen asks Reacher for help to kill the husband when he is released. Reacher says, "No" but believes her tale of violent abuse.

Reacher travels with Carmen to BFE West Texas. Reacher hired on as horse hand as reason to stay on husband's family's ranch. Husband's brother Buddy thinks Reacher is fucking Carmen - he isn't. Bobby schemes to get rid of Reacher and Reacher puts two other horse hands in hospital. Bobby has DPS Troopers evict Reacher from bunkhouse on same day husband comes back from prison. Assassins go to work on tangential characters.

Carmen is arrested for killing her husband the same night Reacher is driven away in back of squad car. District Attorney is sympathetic because he needs Hispanic votes for a judgeship and likes Carmen. DA says Carmen is a liar and an ex-whore which is the opposite of what she told Reacher. Reacher still believes in Carmen. Reacher gets her a lawyer. Reacher thinks. Reacher says little. Carmen's daughter is kidnapped. Reacher kills people with both brute violence and brains. Assassins and bad guy are defeated and Reacher hits the bricks.

1. This different from other Reacher books in that Reacher is not shagging anyone. Carmen offers herself as payment which Reacher declines. Carmen's lawyer is a hot lesbian with a girlfriend.
2. American details. Child calls DPS troopers Texas Rangers. They are not the same. As I recall the Rangers do promote from within DPS.
3. Reacher can be a dickhead. He is grouchy and taciturn overly violent. Child usually has Reacher squaring off against irredeemable scumbags but there are times in Echo where Reacher's violent reactions go beyond reason.
4. Constant mention of Reacher's size and weight. Nothing new there.
5. Typical Reacher behavior of sizing up competence and abilities of people, especially police officers.
6. What happened to Reacher's ability to always know the time? He wears a watch in this one and checks it. One novel had him explaining his natural ability to always know the time. That is a large slip in continuity.

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