Title: Echo Burning
Author: Lee Child
Date: 2011 (2001)
Publisher: Bantam Press
Started: 29th May 2016
Completed: 25th June 2016
Summary: Jack Reacher, adrift in the hellish heat of a Texas summer.
Looking for a lift through the vast empty landscape. A woman stops, and offers a ride. She is young, rich and beautiful.
But her husband’s in jail. When he comes out, he’s going to kill her.
Her family’s hostile, she can’t trust the cops, and the lawyers won’t help. She is entangled in a web of lies and prejudice, hatred and murder.
Jack Reacher never could resist a lady in distress.
Echo Burning is the fifth novel in Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series. It directly follows on from Tripwire and The Visitor so you should read those books first. However, many of the Reacher books don’t have to be read in a particular order so you could pick up one of those first.
This is the first Reacher book that I’ve given below 4 stars but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a good book. In fact, I enjoyed several aspects of this book and I did enjoy reading it.
I liked the second half of this book much more than I enjoyed the first half. Once again, just like in Die Trying and The Visitor, you have a point of view that is separate from Reacher’s. I don’t think it worked quite as well in this novel as it did in The Visitor but it was still enjoyable. The second half of the plot is just better than the beginning and there is a fair bit of action in the closing chapters.
The characters were all excellently written. Carmen is complex and she’s a perpetual liar so you can never know what is actually going on. She is more of a damsel in distress than the previous women in the Reacher series but it really does work for this story line. Her husband, Sloop, is just awful. He’s not really a villain but he is an awful guy. The three unknowns are fantastic. They’re absolutely brutal.
Echo Burning doesn’t have much action. It’s mainly a road trip across Texas and then a short stay at a ranch. The action doesn’t start until the second half of the book and that’s why this book has 3.5 stars out of 5. It’s just so slow. I’ve seen so many reviews that have called this book boring and the first half is very slow. I personally wouldn’t call it boring because the second half made up for the first half but it isn’t as fast paced as The Visitor. This is reflected by how long it took me to read the book.
Echo Burning is a good book. It isn’t great but it’s still good. I think that I was just slightly disappointed because The Visitor was so good. I would recommend reading Echo Burning but you really need to persevere and get through the slow first half. You’ll be glad that you did when the action eventually starts.