Mystery Lee Child Tripwire

ISBN 13 : 9781611761931

Tripwire

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9781611761931: Tripwire
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Praise for

TRIPWIRE

“When you put a good villain together with a great hero like Jack Reacher . . . the result is a thriller good to the last drop. [Child] does a great job of balancing good and evil, and certainly Hobie ranks up there with some of the most memorable villains.”

Orlando Sentinel

“Page for page, there’s probably more fisticuffs in a Lee Child thriller than anywhere else.”

Chicago Tribune

“Lee Child can write. His first novel, Killing Floor, won the Anthony and the Barry Awards for Best First Mystery. It’s no wonder.”

Arizona Daily Star

“[Reacher] is a character who deserves to be around for a long time.”

Green Bay Press-Gazette

“Complex . . . Throughout this cross-country cat-and-mouse tale, the author’s spare style reveals telling details: layers of intrigue, poignant moments, hideous crimes, and ingenious solutions.”

BookPage

“A beaut . . . Reacher is a complex, contemplative brute. He’s spellbinding whether kicking in doors or just kicking around a thought in his brain.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A solid thriller that brings to mind the knight-errant adventures of John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee. Edgy, exciting reading.”

Booklist

“Suspense fiction doesn’t get much better than this.”

Library Journal

“Lee Child continues his meteoric rise and mastery of suspense with Tripwire . . . a tightly-drawn and swift thriller.”

—Michael Connelly

Praise for

LEE CHILD

“Reacher is a wonderfully epic hero: tough, taciturn, yet vulnerable.”

People

“Great style and careful plotting . . . The violence is brutal . . . depicted with the kind of detail that builds dread and suspense.”

The New York Times

“The author pens nightmarish images as casually as an ordinary writer would dot an ‘i’ or cross a ‘t.’”

The Philadelphia Inquirer

“[Child] must be channeling Dashiell Hammett . . . Reacher handles the maze of clues and the criminal unfortunates with a flair that would make Sam Spade proud.”

Playboy

“Reacher is as tough as he is resourceful.”

The Denver Post

“Child . . . gives us one of the truly memorable tough-guy heroes in recent fiction: Jack Reacher.”

—Jeffery Deaver, author of The Bone Collector

“I love the larger-than-life hero Jack Reacher. I grew up a fan of John Wayne’s and Clint Eastwood’s movies, and it’s great to see a man of their stature back in business.”

—Nevada Barr

“Jack Reacher has presence and dimension—a man you definitely want on your side. Child has a sure touch and a strong voice. Definitely a talent to watch.”

—Lynn S. Hightower

Praise for Lee Child’s

JACK REACHER NOVELS

A People Magazine “Page-Turner”

An Anthony Award winner

A Barry Award winner

“It’ll blow you away.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer

“From its jolting opening scene to its fiery final confrontation, Killing Floor is irresistible.”

People

“Tough, elegant, and thoughtful.”

—Robert B. Parker

“A riveting thriller. It’s a winner.”

—Greg Iles

“Swift and brutal.”

The New York Times

“Spectacular . . . muscular, energetic prose and pell-mell pacing.”

The Seattle Times

“If Without Fail doesn’t hook you on Lee Child, I give up.”

The New York Times

“Child’s plot is ingenious, his characters are first-rate, and his writing is fine indeed. This is a superior series.”

The Washington Post Book World

“Child is a vigorous storyteller, gradually building the suspense to almost unbearable levels.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“As sweltering as the El Paso sun. Bottom line: jalapenohot suspense.”

People

Titles by Lee Child

WITHOUT FAIL

ECHO BURNING

RUNNING BLIND

TRIPWIRE

DIE TRYING

KILLING FLOOR

TRIPWIRE

LEE CHILD

Table of Contents

Prologue

HOOK HOBIE OWED the whole of his life to a secret nearly thirty years old. His liberty, his status, his money, everything. And like any cautious guy in his particular situation, he was ready to do what was necessary to protect his secret. Because he had a lot to lose. The whole of his life.

The protection he relied on for nearly thirty years was based on just two things. The same two things anybody uses to protect against any danger. The same way a nation protects itself against an enemy missile, the same way an apartment dweller protects himself against a burglar, the same way a boxer guards against a knockout blow. Detection and response. Stage one, stage two. First you spot the threat, and then you react.

Stage one was the early-warning system. It had changed over the years, as other circumstances had changed. Now it was well rehearsed and simplified. It was made up of two layers, like two concentric tripwires. The first tripwire was eleven thousand miles from home. It was an early, early warning. A wake-up call. It would tell him they were getting close. The second tripwire was five thousand miles nearer, but still six thousand miles from home. A call from the second location would tell him they were about to get very close. It would tell him stage one was over, and stage two was about to begin.

Stage two was the response. He was very clear on what the response had to be. He had spent nearly thirty years thinking about it, but there was only ever one viable answer. The response would be to run. To disappear. He was a realistic guy. The whole of his life, he had been proud of his courage and his cunning, and his toughness and his fortitude. He had always done what was necessary, without a second thought. But he knew when he heard the warning sounds from those distant tripwires, he had to get out. Because no man could survive what was coming after him. No man. Not even a man as ruthless as he was.

The danger had ebbed and flowed like a tide for years. He had spent long periods certain it was about to wash over him at any time. And then long periods certain it would never reach him at all. Sometimes, the deadening sensation of time made him feel safe, because thirty years is an eternity. But other times it felt like the blink of an eye. Sometimes he waited for the first call on an hourly basis. Planning, sweating, but always knowing he could be forced to run at any moment.

He had played it through his head a million times. The way he expected it, the first call would come in maybe a month before the second call. He would use that month to prepare. He would tie up the loose ends, close things down, cash in, transfer assets, settle scores. Then when the second call came in, he would take off. Immediately. No hesitation. Just get the hell out, and stay the hell out.

But the way it happened, the two calls came in on the same day. The second call came first. The nearer tripwire was breached an hour before the farther one. And Hook Hobie didn’t run. He abandoned thirty years of careful planning and stayed to fight it out.

1

JACK REACHER SAW the guy step in through the door. Actually, there was no door. The guy just stepped in through the part of the front wall that wasn’t there. The bar opened straight out onto the sidewalk. There were tables and chairs out there under a dried-up old vine that gave some kind of nominal shade. It was an inside-outside room, passing through a wall that wasn’t there. Reacher guessed there must be some kind of an iron grille they could padlock across the opening when the bar closed. If it closed. Certainly Reacher had never seen it closed, and he was keeping some pretty radical hours.

The guy stood a yard inside the dark room and waited, blinking, letting his eyes adjust to the gloom after the hot whiteness of the Key West sun. It was June, dead-on four o’clock in the afternoon, the southernmost part of the United States. Way farther south than most of the Bahamas. A hot white sun and a fierce temperature. Reacher sat at his table in back and sipped water from a plastic bottle and waited.

The guy was looking around. The bar was a low room built from old boards dried to a dark color. They looked like they had come from old broken-up sailing ships. Random pieces of nautical junk were nailed to them. There were old brass things and green glass globes. Stretches of old nets. Fishing equipment, Reacher guessed, although he had never caught a fish in his life. Or sailed a boat. Overlaying everything were ten thousand business cards, tacked up over every spare square inch, including the ceiling. Some of them were new, some of them were old and curled, representing ventures that had folded decades ago.

The guy stepped farther into the gloom and headed for the bar. He was old. Maybe sixty, medium height, bulky. A doctor would have called him overweight, but Reacher just saw a fit man some way down the wrong side of the hill. A man yielding gracefully to the passage of time without getting all stirred up about it. He was dressed like a northern city guy on a short-notice trip to somewhere hot. Light gray pants, wide at the top, narrow at the bottom, a thin, crumpled beige jacket, a white shirt with the collar spread wide open, blue-white skin showing at his throat, dark socks, city shoes. New York or Chicago, Reacher guessed, maybe Boston, spent most of his summertime in air-conditioned buildings or cars, had these pants and this jacket stashed away in the back of his closet ever since he bought them twenty years ago, brought them out and used them occasionally as appropriate.

The guy reached the bar and went into his jacket and pulled out a wallet. It was a small, overloaded old item in fine black leather. The sort of wallet that molds itself tight around the stuff crammed inside. Reacher saw the guy open it with a practiced flick and show it to the bartender and ask a quiet question. The bartender glanced away like he’d been insulted. The guy put the wallet away and smoothed his wisps of gray hair into the sweat on his scalp. He muttered something else and the bartender came up with a beer from a chest of ice. The old guy held the cold bottle against his face for a moment and then took a long pull. Belched discreetly behind his hand and smiled like a small disappointment had been assuaged.

Reacher matched his pull with a long drink of water. The fittest guy he had ever known was a Belgian soldier who swore the key to fitness was to do whatever the hell you liked as long as you drank five liters of mineral water every day. Reacher figured five liters was about a gallon, and since the Belgian was a small whippy guy half his size, he should make it two gallons a day. Ten full-size bottles. Since arriving in the heat of the Keys, he had followed that regimen. It was working for him. He had never felt better. Every day at four o’clock he sat at this dark table and drank three bottles of still water, room temperature. Now he was as addicted to the water as he had once been to coffee.

The old guy was side-on to the bar, busy with his beer. Scanning the room. Reacher was the only person in it, apart from the bartender. The old guy pushed off with his hip and stepped over. Waved his beer in a vague gesture that said may I? Reacher nodded to the opposite chair and broke the plastic seal on his third bottle. The guy sat heavily. He overwhelmed the chair. He was the sort of guy who keeps keys and money and handerkerchiefs in his pants pockets so that the natural width of his hips is way exaggerated.

“Are you Jack Reacher?” he asked across the table.

Not Chicago or Boston. New York, for sure. The voice sounded exactly like a guy Reacher had known, spent the first twenty years of his life never more than a hundred yards from Fulton Street.

“Jack Reacher?” the old guy asked again.

Up close, he had small wise eyes under an overhanging brow. Reacher drank and glanced across at him through the clear water in his bottle.

“Are you Jack Reacher?” the guy asked for the third time.

Reacher set his bottle on the table and shook his head.

“No,” he lied.

The old guy’s shoulders slumped a fraction in disappointment. He shot his cuff and checked his watch. Moved his bulk forward on the chair like he was about to get up, but then he sat back, like suddenly there was time to spare.

“Five after four,” he said.

Reacher nodded. The guy waved his empty beer bottle at the bartender who ducked around with a fresh one.

“Heat,” he said. “Gets to me.”

Reacher nodded again and sipped water.

“You know a Jack Reacher around here?” the guy asked.

Reacher shrugged.

“You got a description?” he asked back.

The guy was into a long pull on the second bottle. He wiped his lips with the back of his hand and used the gesture to hide a second discreet belch.

“Not really,” he said. “Big guy, is all I know. That’s why I asked you.”

Reacher nodded.

“There are lots of big guys here,” he said. “Lots of big guys everywhere.”

“But you don’t know the name?”

“Should I?” Reacher asked. “And who wants to know?”

The guy grinned and nodded, like an apology for a lapse in manners.

“Costello,” he said. “Pleased to meet you.”

Reacher nodded back, and raised his bottle a fraction in response.

“Skip tracer?” he asked.

“Private detective,” Costello said.

“Looking for a guy called Reacher?” Reacher asked. “What’s he done?”

Costello shrugged. “Nothing, far as I know. I just got asked to find him.”

“And you figure he’s down here?”

“Last week he was,” Costello said. “He’s got a bank account in Virginia and he’s been wiring money to it.”

“From down here in Key West?”

Costello nodded.

“Every week,” he said. “For three months.”

“So?”

“So he’s working down here,” Costello said. “Has been, for three months. You’d think somebody would know him.”

“But nobody does,” Reacher said.

Costello shook his head. “I asked all up and down Duval, which seems to be where the action is in this town. Nearest I got was a titty bar upstairs someplace, girl in there said there was a big guy been here exactly three months, drinks water every day at four o’clock in here.”

He lapsed into silence, looking hard at Reacher, like he was issuing a direct challenge. Reacher sipped water and shrugged back at him.

“Coincidence,” he said.

Costello nodded.

“I guess,” he said quietly.

He raised the beer bottle to his lips and drank, keeping his wise old eyes focused tight on Reacher’s face.

“Big transient population here,” Reacher said to him. “People drift in and out, all the time.”

“I guess,” Costello said again.

“But I’ll keep my ears open,” Reacher said.

Costello nodded.

“I’d a...

Revue de presse :

"A slickly effective thriller which confirms Child's ability to keep the reader guessing - and sweating" (The Times)

"A fast-moving, violent and gripping mystery with a very bad baddie, and a tough, pragmatic hero in Jack Reacher" (Daily Telegraph)

"Lee Child continues his meteoric rise and mastery of suspense with Tripwire. It's a tightly-drawn and swift thriller that gives new meaning to what a page-turner should be" (Michael Connelly)

"Establishes Child in the premier division.. Taut, with more than a touch of sweet romance, this is dangerously compulsive, so be warned - don't start it at bedtime or you'll be up all night" (Manchester Evening News)

"Good thrillers exist in a class of their own. The point of such a book is total escape and Tripwire fills the bill... includes a bang-up finale which makes the reader sit back and gasp with both wonder and understanding" (Denver Post)

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