In Lee Child's astonishing new thriller, ex–military cop Reacher sees more than most people would...and because of that, he's thrust into an explosive situation that's about to blow up in his face. Read more...
- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: Aug 2014
From the book
JACK REACHER ORDERED espresso, double, no peel, no cube, foam cup, no china, and before it arrived at his table he saw a man's life change forever. Not that the waiter was slow. Just that the move was slick. So slick, Reacher had no idea what he was watching. It was just an urban scene, repeated everywhere in the world a billion times a day: A guy unlocked a car and got in and drove away. That was all.
But that was enough.
The espresso had been close to perfect, so Reacher went back to the same cafeŽ exactly -twenty--four hours later. Two nights in the same place was unusual for Reacher, but he figured great coffee was worth a change in his routine. The café was on the west side of Sixth Avenue in New York City, in the middle of the block between Bleecker and Houston. It occupied the ground floor of an undistinguished -four--story building. The upper stories looked like anonymous rental apartments. The cafe itself looked like a transplant from a back street in Rome. Inside it had low light and scarred wooden walls and a dented chrome machine as hot and long as a locomotive, and a counter. Outside there was a single line of metal tables on the sidewalk behind a low canvas screen. Reacher took the same end table he had used the night before and chose the same seat. He stretched out and got comfortable and tipped his chair up on two legs. That put his back against the cafe's outside wall and left him looking east, across the sidewalk and the width of the avenue. He liked to sit outside in the summer, in New York City. Especially at night. He liked the electric darkness and the hot dirty air and the blasts of noise and traffic and the manic barking sirens and the crush of people. It helped a lonely man feel connected and isolated both at the same time.
He was served by the same waiter as the night before and ordered the same drink, double espresso in a foam cup, no sugar, no spoon. He paid for it as soon as it arrived and left his change on the table. That way he could leave exactly when he wanted to without insulting the waiter or bilking the owner or stealing the china. Reacher always arranged the smallest details in his life so he could move on at a split second's notice. It was an obsessive habit. He owned nothing and carried nothing. Physically he was a big man, but he cast a small shadow and left very little in his wake.
He drank his coffee slowly and felt the night heat come up off the sidewalk. He watched cars and people. Watched taxis flow north and garbage trucks pause at the curbs. Saw knots of strange young people heading for clubs. Watched girls who had once been boys totter south. Saw a blue German sedan park on the block. Watched a compact man in a gray suit get out and walk north. Watched him thread between two sidewalk tables and head inside to where the cafe staff was clustered in back. Watched him ask them questions.
The guy was medium height, not young, not old, too solid to be called wiry, too slight to be called heavy. His hair was gray at the temples and cut short and neat. He kept himself balanced on the balls of his feet. His mouth didn't move much as he talked. But his eyes did. They flicked left and right tirelessly. The guy was about forty, Reacher guessed, and furthermore Reacher guessed he had gotten to be about forty by staying relentlessly aware of everything that was happening around him. Reacher had seen the same look in elite infantry veterans who had survived long jungle tours.
Then Reacher's waiter turned suddenly and pointed straight at him. The compact man in the gray suit stared over. Reacher stared back, over his shoulder, through the window. Eye contact...
"A Reacher novel is the closest thing to guaranteed joy short of a honeymoon." - Rocky Mountain News
"Reacher, a former Army military police major, is a character like no other. Intuitive, independent, indomitable - he walks softly and carries a very big stick." - The Biloxi Sun Herald
"Plenty of suspense writers play the tough-guy-with-a-heart-of-gold card, but Child is indelibly skillful, quickly sketching intriguing characters as he drops bombshell after bombshell. With its taciturn but engaging hero and almost unbearably prolonged tension, The Hard Way makes reading easy indeed." - The Miami Herald
"In The Hard Way, Reacher is better than ever." - Contra Costa Times
"Fans...will find themselves hanging onto their armchairs for dear life. The Hard Way is a breathless, well-paced thriller." - Denver Post
"Nine red-hot books ago, Lee Child concocted the rough, tough Superman of the crime-busting genre, as smart and charismatic as he is unbeatable. And then Mr. Child broke the mold. Early next week (why delay good news?), Reacher returns in this series' 10th installment, The Hard Way. It's one more labyrinthine story that takes off like a shot: as usual, Mr. Child has you at hello." - Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"Plunges Reacher into one of his most challenging-and thoroughly engrossing-adventures to date." - Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Like all the best thrillers, this one is about more than pace--the narrative propels you forward with a locomotive's thrust, but Child never loses sight of the small detail or the human fabric." - Booklist, starred review
"[Child] shows again his mastery of the thriller.... Jack Reacher may know the time to the minute without a watch and bring justice to bear wherever he goes, but this time he doest it the hard way, sweating the details and working the clues.... Tension builds through the plot twists to another riveting finish." - Library Journal, starred review