Extract: The Fourth Man by Lee Child
The Fourth Man by Lee Child is the brand new Jack Reacher standalone short story that sees Reacher going down under for the first time – but possibly not the last. It’s a short read, but perfect for a coffee break.
Jack Reacher, ex-military drifter of no fixed abode, is stalked and tracked down by an FBI agent. She tells him that in a house raid in Sydney, Australian law enforcement found a list. There were four people on it, including him. The other three are dead.
Hours later, Reacher is in the air, on his way to Sydney. What was the evil buried twenty-five years ago, that has now resurfaced? Will Reacher be able to find the killers, before they find him?
Read on for an extract from The Fourth Man by Lee Child!
The Fourth Man
I was walking south, with the traffic, on Fifth Avenue in New York City, on the right-hand sidewalk, on the block before the Empire State, when a complete stranger put her hand on my arm and said, “I know who you are.”
I was pretty sure she didn’t. I was pretty sure if I asked, she would say I was a guy about to luck into an unrepeatable financial opportunity. Or meet a tall dark stranger. Or some such advantageous thing. But only if I gave her twenty bucks first. Maybe fifty. That part would be somehow crucial. She was a fine-boned individual, with blonde hair and blue eyes, maybe forty, a little worn down and hard around the edges, wearing a black business suit, gone a little shiny from cleaning, and too warm for the weather. She was carrying a black leather pocketbook, slung over her shoulder. It was bulging with items, some of them heavy.
I said, “So who am I?”
“You’re Jack Reacher,” she said.
“No middle name. Thirteen years in the military police.”
“Who are you?”
“Have you ever been to Australia?”
“That’s a question, not an answer.”
She had been raised in Chicago, I thought, judging by her vowel sounds.
I asked her, “Where did you go to college?”
“Yale,” she said. “Does it matter?”
“Remember your sophomore year?”
“That was about the last time I went to Australia.”
“You were still in the army then.”
“I stopped off on my way back from Korea.”
“Vacation,” I said. “It was summertime there, and winter everyplace else.”
“Not everyplace,” she said. “It’s a hemisphere thing.”
“A woman was involved. I met her in Bali.”
“Any problems with your visit?”
“Who are you?” I asked her again.
She unslung her bag. Heavy items clicked and shifted. She put her hand inside. Pedestrians flowed around us. Three NYPD cops watched from across the light. She came out with an ID wallet. A gold shield. She was FBI. A special agent. Her name was Cynthia Mitchell.
She said, “Would you come downtown and answer a couple of questions?”
“International cooperation,” she said. “And it might be in your interest.”
“Australian law enforcement found a list. There were four people on it, including you. The other three are dead.”
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