A Jack Reacher NovelLarge Print - 2005
From the critics
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Reacher's dare (XYZ and XXX for the other characters:)
Reacher knew where everyone was, and he knew what they were looking at.
“Shoot,” he said. “Aim at my belt. That’ll work. Go ahead.”
XYZ did nothing. Just stared up at him. Reacher was so close and so big he was all XYZ could see. It was just the two of them, like they were alone in the room.
“I’ll help you out,” Reacher said. “I’ll count to three. Then you pull the trigger.” XYZ just stood there.
“You understand?” Reacher said. No reply.
“One,” Reacher said. No reaction.
“Two,” Reacher said. Then he stepped out of the way. Just took a long fast sideways shuffle to his right. XXX fired ...
The sniper credo:
He reached the base of the wall and lay flat on the ground, pressed up tight against the raw concrete. Then he squirmed up into a sitting position. Then he knelt. He folded his right leg tight underneath him. He planted his left foot flat and his left shin vertical. He propped his left elbow on his left knee. Raised the rifle. Rested the end of the forestock on the top of the low concrete wall. Sawed it gently back and forth until it felt good and solid. Supported kneeling, the training manual called it. It was a good position. Second only to lying prone with a bipod, in his experience. He breathed in, breathed out. One shot, one kill. That was the sniper’s credo. To succeed required control and stillness and calm. He breathed in, breathed out. Felt himself relax. Felt himself come home. Ready.
It was a Springfield M1A Super Match autoloader, American walnut stock, heavy premium barrel, ten-shot box magazine, chambered for the.308. It was the exact commercial equivalent of the M-14 self-loading sniper rifle that the American military had used during his long-ago years in the service. It was a fine weapon. Maybe not quite as accurate with the first cold shot as a top-of-the-line bolt gun, but it would do. It would do just fine. He wasn’t going to be looking at extraordinary distances. It was loaded with Lake City M852s. His favorite custom cartridges. Special Lake City Match brass, Federal powder, Sierra Matchking 168-grain hollow point boat tail bullets. The load was better than the gun, probably. A slight mismatch.
Typical "Let's get right into the thick of the action" opening for a JR novel:
Friday. Five o’clock in the afternoon. Maybe the hardest time to move unobserved through a city. Or maybe the easiest. Because at five o’clock on a Friday nobody pays attention to anything. Except the road ahead. The man with the rifle drove north. Not fast, not slow. Not drawing attention. Not standing out. He was in a light-colored minivan that had seen better days. He was alone behind the wheel. He was wearing a light-colored raincoat and the kind of shapeless light-colored beanie hat that old guys wear on the golf course when the sun is out or the rain is falling. The hat had a two-tone red band all around it. It was pulled down low. The coat was buttoned up high. The man was wearing sunglasses, even though the van had dark windows and the sky was cloudy. And he was wearing gloves, even though winter was three months away and the weather wasn’t cold.
““When will he come?” the Zec asked. “I don’t know,” Rosemary said. “Four o’clock in the morning,” Linsky said. “He’s an American. They’re trained that four o’clock in the morning is the best time for a surprise attack.” ... “I went to college,” Reacher said. “West Point is technically a college.” Yanni said, “The existing social order is a swindle and its cherished beliefs mostly delusions.” “It is not possible for any thinking person to live in such a society as our own without wanting to change it,” Reacher said.
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