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Gone Tomorrow: A Jack Reacher Novel    by Lee Child order for
Gone Tomorrow
by Lee Child
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

When Jack Reacher first meets Susan Mark, she's one of five other passengers sharing a swaying New York City subway car in the wee hours of the morning. His first impression is that something's wrong. As he watches her intently, Jack begins to believe that she's a terrorist. As a former military policemen, the twelve-point list that identified a possible suicide bomber is still indelibly etched into Reacher's brain. As the car sways on towards its destination, he realises with growing certainty that she fits all the criteria. Reacher takes the next - if not completely logical - step. He confronts Susan Mark. But before he can establish a dialogue, she removes a gun from her overcoat, rams it under her chin and blows her brains out.

Once the NYPD are done with the scene and with questioning all the witnesses, they advise Reacher to move on. The woman had evidently been very distraught and had committed suicide. Nothing in her background even remotely suggested that she was a terrorist. But Jack can't let it go - there was just something about Susan Marks' demeanour, the sheer hopelessness in her eyes, that grated at him. That and the fact that he's beginning to believe that his decision to approach her might have pushed her over the edge. Funny what guilt can do.

But as Reacher asks the questions that the police overlooked (or were ordered to ignore) he gets unwanted attention not only from various arms of the FBI and CIA, but also from a highly decorated former Delta Force officer running for office - a man, as Reacher eventually uncovers, who's got a ton of dark secrets that must never see the light of day. Jack's determination to unravel the puzzle that is the life - and death - of mousy Defence Department programmer Susan Mark takes on a completely new level that sets him on an ultra-violent, bloody collision course with shady politics, America and Russia's role in Afghanistan, and a cadre of killers the likes of which he's never before encountered.

Lee Child is back in fine form in Gone Tomorrow, a dark and gritty adventure where thriller fiction's favourite modern day paladin finds himself sucked into another maelstrom of lies, ugliness and murder. Child does an exemplary job of describing the gritty underbelly of New York City, keeps the action and tension high, shows readers once again the single- and righteous-mindedness of his hero and ultimately pits Jack (psychologically and physically) against two very bloodcurdling killers. A word of advice - set aside a good block of time before you start reading - you'll need to finish Gone Tomorrow in a single sitting.

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