In 1997, Lee Child's Killing Floor won two Best First Mystery awards. Child's third Jack Reacher mystery, Tripwire, maintains his quality and accelerates his thriller-style plotting.

After a career in military police investigation, Jack Reacher opted for a lifestyle removed from the Army's constant-boss, constant-schedule routine. He began wandering the country, living a Teflon life with no paper trail, no credit cards. Tripwire finds him in laid-back Key West, digging swimming pools by day, moonlighting as a bouncer in a nude dance club. But Costello, a New York private eye working for a mysterious Mrs. Jacob, shows up looking for him. Then two toughs show up looking for him. Reacher knows none of them, or their reasons for contacting him. Too soon he discovers that the toughs have found Costello, in ugly fashion. Reacher sees no choice. He must abandon his idyllic existence and confront the mystery head-on.

Child's complex tale explores a violent underworld and the determination of a tough, thoughtful main character. 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.

Tom Corcoran is the Florida-based author of The Mango Opera and the forthcoming Gumbo Limbo.

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