Cruising through the sizzling West Texas heat in a borrowed white Caddy, Mexican-American Carmen Greer desperately wants a man—to murder her husband. She finds Jack Reacher, a sturdy, blond ex-military cop turned drifter, and tells him an excruciating tale of being trapped in Echo, Texas, by an abusive husband and racist in-laws who threaten to take away her 6¼-year-old daughter if Carmen rebels. But is she telling the truth?
A violent story as sweltering as the El Paso sun, Echo keeps the action graphic and the tension high with a subplot about a roving hit squad. A few moments are predictable, but Child keeps you reading. (Putnam, $24.95)