by Lee Child
Bantam Press HK$104
Lee Child's hero, Jack Reacher, is the sort of macho freedom fighter they used to make - back in the 1980s. He is Schwarzenegger-esque in his bulk and Stallonean in his ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Or to be more precise, from 20 trained killers when all Jack has is a rusty tin of tuna. There is also humour, a brain and a moral code, of sorts. Child's 14th book, 61 Hours feels both like an ending and possibly a new beginning. It opens with Reacher riding a bus in a snowed-up South Dakota. The forecast? Snow, snow and snow. This is a story where the baddie is the weather: for once under-prepared, Reacher fights the elements every bit as hard as the enemy. He is en route to a major drugs trial when the bus skids, and he is trapped like a fish in the ice. The nearest town is almost built for Reacher: it is threatened by Hell's Angels on one side, and by the creakiest prison you can imagine on the other. With the police running around like headless (frozen) chickens, all manner of mayhem looks set to erupt. And it does, only how does it end? To be continued? Reacher discontinued? Either way, you'll have fun finding out.