“Echo Burning” by Lee Child is the fifth book in the Jack Reacher series. My biggest problem with this one was the fact that it was based in Texas. The way that Lee Child described the horrible heat there – well I found myself relating a little too much to it even though I’m in the northeast. Reading “Echo Burning” made me feel physically hot.
At the beginning of “Echo Burning” Reacher finds himself wandering on the side of the highway in an attempt to duck out of a confrontation with some hot-headed cops. To his surprise, his hitchhiking in the Texas heat is successful when he is picked up by an attractive woman in a nice car. Once in the car, Reacher is fed a sob story. He learns that Carmen is a victim of domestic violence and that she wants his help to get away from her husband. When divulging all the details of the abuse that she has had to endure, Carmen makes it clear that she wants her husband out of the picture – permanently. Reacher refuses. “He paused a beat with his mouth halfway open. It was true. He would do it for Jodie Garber, but he wouldn’t do it for Carmen Greer. Why not? Because it comes in a rush. You can’t force it. It’s a hot-blooded thing, like a drug in your veins, and you go with it. If it’s not there, you can’t go with it. Simple as that. He’d gone with it before in his life, many times. People mess with him, they get what they get. They mess with Jodie, that’s the same thing as messing with him. Because Jodie was him. Or at least she used to be. In a way that Carmen wasn’t. And never would be. So it just wasn’t there.” (Echo Burning, pg 72). I really liked this passage. It so clearly defines the way that Reacher thinks and behaves. Although he refuses to kill her husband, Reacher does agree to stick around for a few days and help keep an eye on things. I don’t want to give too much away; I’ll just say that Reacher does find his presence to be necessary.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely – I would probably encourage readers to pick this one up in the middle of winter so you can use the overwhelming heat of the book to warm up. Unless I’m alone in the over-relating to the environment my books are set in? I can’t be the only one. Even if you don’t read this book for the heat, it is well worth picking up. I mentioned during my review of “Running Blind” that part of what I enjoy so much about the series is how as a character, Jack Reacher is continuously being developed. By the fifth book in the series, you feel like you know Reacher, but Lee Child keeps things interesting. Reacher is a great character and I can’t wait to see what happens next!