Bantam Press £9.99

Jack Reacher is an ex-military cop who, ever since leaving the army, has drifted from one place to the next with no fixed abode, no main purpose and no destination. He is a dyed in the wool American hero, battle-hardened, footloose, sexy and compassionate, and the last thing he can resist is a lady in distress.

Hitching a ride in 100 degrees of heat is a difficult thing to do, difficult because you nearly expire from the temperature and difficult because no-one wants to stop and open the door of their air-conditioned car, long enough to pick you up. The last person Reacher expects to stop is a beautiful young woman – but life is full of surprises.

Carmen is very beautiful, very young and driving a luxury Cadillac. She is also the mother of a five-year-old girl and her husband is in prison. Soon to be released, she knows he will beat her to death when he gets home.

Reacher is no stranger to trouble and Carmen is definitely a lady in distress, so he accompanies her home to the Greer family ranch in remote Echo County in Texas. There he encounters a web of deceit, lies and hatred. The family are hostile, the cops are non-existent and no lawyer wants to help. So Reacher decides to set things straight.

'Echo Burning' is the fifth in a series of Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child, and with each one Child improves. It is an excellent thriller, well thought out, convincing and a real page-turner. You won't want to put it down.

Charley Maine