In the Texas desert Jack Reacher, former Army police officer and now endless drifter, is picked up while hitch-hiking. His ride is a desperate woman looking for someone to help her with a problem. It seems her husband has been beating her severely for the seven years they've been married. For the past two years he's been in jail for tax evasion and he's about to get out, and the beatings will continue. If it weren't for her young daughter she would just leave but it isn't as simple as it sounds.
After Reacher refuses to kill the man, he agrees to help her any way he can. Unfortunately when the husband gets out of prison he is shot and all evidence points to the wife. Then it appears she may not have been such a victim at all. In fact everything she said may have been a complete lie. All the evidence points that way. But Reacher doesn't think so. It will take all of his investigative skills, and a good amount of strong arm intimidation, to get to the bottom of this.
On top of this is the murder of a local lawyer, and the 20 year mystery of a rash of immigrant killings.
This report prepared by Shawn Chauvette
Putnam, Jul 2001, 23.95, 368 pp.
Jack Reacher is always on the move as the former military police officer goes wherever the whim takes him. He never worries about local trouble because he is a big athletic hombre who knows how to take care of himself.
Carmen Grant believes that Jack is the perfect person to kill her abusive spouse because he is huge and she believes he feels no remorse. Jack refuses so Carmen murders her husband claiming self-defense. The district attorney happens to have been the deceased's best friend, and coincidentally happens to find no evidence of spousal abuse so Jack begins making inquiries. Carmen abruptly confesses and someone kidnaps her daughter leading Jack to conclude that something is rotten in Echo, Texas.
The anti-hero of ECHO BURNING believes in justice more than he accepts the law and is willing to dole out his brand when injustice occurs. Some readers will claim Jack is a desperado or vigilante while others a Robin Hood hero. Regardless, all will agree that his methods work and he only hunts those deserving of his ire. The story line is fascinating and complex with numerous subplots that tie back to the main theme while showing how creative a talent Lee Child is.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner