Something to gain by reading
Lee Child's 'Nothing to Lose'

''Nothing To Lose''
By Lee Child
(Delacorte Press, 407 pps., $27)
Buy at Amazon

Reviewed by John Orr
July 2008

Lee Child's "Nothing To Lose" is completely fun to read without having much of importance to say about anything new.

We already knew that some Christian preachers are amoral and self-righteous; that the war in Iraq was a mistake and features various sorts of scams by powerful people; that pollution by carcinogenic chemicals and depleted uranium are bad; and that lots of injured American military veterans are receiving abysmal care.

But it's still fun to check in on Child's great hero, Jack Reacher -- former military cop with a lot of medals and current drifter. In this one Reacher has decided to travel from Maine to San Diego, by hitching and walking.

When we catch up with him he is just crossing the line between Hope and Despair, two small towns in Colorado.

Despair doesn't want him, busting him for vagrancy and chasing him back to Hope. But Reacher really doesn't like to change his path for other people's reasons, and heads back to Despair, because it is between Hope and San Diego.

This leads to him getting curious about odd goings on, including a dead body he finds in the dark of night, and to a bunch of people trying to stop him, which is always a mistake.

Before long, the entire Despair police force is at least in the hospital, and Creacher has discovered something really bad is going to happen if he doesn't stop it.

Child is a completely appealing writer who gets a story moving early then pushes it along like a hurricane. Once you get into it, you will begrudge having to put it down.