When One Shot by Lee Child begins, a sniper is in the process of killing several random people as they walk through an urban plaza. Shortly after, the authorities arrive and scour the scene for evidence. Shortly after that they drive directly to the suspect’s house and arrest him. They have everything they need. As one character remarks, he has never seen such a perfect, open and shut case, forensically speaking. Unfortunately for everyone congratulating themselves on immediately closing the case and quelling public panic before it can begin, the suspect tells them that they have the wrong guy. He also asks them to get Jack Reacher, who of course, nobody can find.
But he finds them, arriving at the police station while they’re trying to figure out how they’re going to get in touch with a man who cannot be found if he doesn’t want to be. The major twist here is that Jack Reacher is the last guy in the world that the suspect would want to see. I won’t spoil all of the reveals, but Reacher and the man have history going back nearly a decade when they were serving in the military.
As usual, while everyone else is determined to believe that there is nothing else to see here, Jack knows that something is wrong. Trouble usually finds Lee Child’s hero when he stops moving for a while. In this case, the second he decides to stay and figure things out–prompted by a failed assault that someone puts on him in a bar–things begin to escalate.
Everything here will be familiar territory to fans of the Jack Reacher novels, but also different enough to make it enjoyable and newish in all the ways that matter. Jack is as tough as always, making up for his lack of a strength training facility by administering frequent, aerobic beatings to everyone who deserves it. For me, the difference that matters from novel to novel is usually the villain–Lee child is, in my opinion, great at inventing bad guys for Reacher to deal with. In this case, it’s a tough old man named The Zec. The origins of the name win a couple of the most gruesome in One Shot.
I read this after 61 Hours, the latest book in the series, which was written well after this book, but each of the Reacher books can be read independently of each other.
Highly recommended to fans of Lee Child, or anyone looking for a new series of macho thrillers to read.