The Secret: A Jack Reacher Novel

Image of The Secret: A Jack Reacher Novel
Release Date: 
October 24, 2023
Delacorte Press
Reviewed by: 

“a warren of heroes, villains, and hidden antagonists that initially set the reader to scratching their heads until the last page when the resolution makes sense.”

Keith Bridgeman has been in the hospital for a month recuperating from a massive heart attack. When he awakens, he finds two women, Veronica and Roberta Sanson, by his bedside. They question him about his activities in a 1969 secret military project in India, demanding to know the name of a seventh man who participated in the project. They have six names but needed the seventh.

He insists he did not know another name. It is the last lie he tells. And it is the beginning of another call about another death to a mysterious phone line in Washington, DC.

Secretary of Defense Charles Stamoran is alerted to Bridgeman’s death and knows he holds the secret about the project that only one other person knows. Stamoran is the eighth person involved, and Neville Pritchard is the seventh scientist—the only one who knows of Stamoran’s participation. 

Concerned about the deaths of the first three scientists, and fearful that he may be in line, he tells his wife, Susan Kasluga, the truth and what to expect. Kasluga is ten years younger than her husband and CEO of her own chemical company. Stamoran and Kasluga met in India at the military project, and he is now also concerned for his wife’s safety.

The scientists—Owen Buck, Varinder Singh, and Keith Bridgeman—are already dead. Three more, Geoff Brown, Michael Rhymer, and Charlie Adam are still alive as is Neville Pritchard. Stamoran assigns protection for the first three and orders Pritchard to be taken into protective service.

In the meantime, Jack Reacher has been demoted and relegated to investigative work at a remote US Army post searching for answers to the mysterious disappearance of military weapons.

As Reacher is investigating the military thefts, more deaths related to the 1969 project are occurring. Roberta and Veronica are unsuccessful in obtaining the information they demand, and they continue their search for the seventh name.

It should be noted that the Child brothers alternate the story between Jack Reacher’s investigation of the military thefts and the deaths of the scientists involved in a project 23 years earlier. While this may seem like a distraction, it clearly brings Reacher from the resolution of one activity immediately into the depths of another.

He is quickly returned to Washington, DC, for a new assignment. And he has to learn his history quickly, for this one refers to the scientific testing project 23 years earlier—the scientists from that project are dying at alarming rates.

Reacher is teamed up with three other government agents, Amber Smith, Kent Neilson, and Gary Walsh under the direction of Christopher Baglin to discover who is murdering these scientists and why.  Ideas start to fly, bringing the Soviet KGB into the picture. While the team follows mistaken leads and blind alleys, Veronica and Roberta are adding up the hits. But their success rate is diminished when they discover that Neville Pritchard has been killed before they can find him.

In another trail, Reacher and the team are following a lead to one Spencer Flemming, a journalist who has spent decades researching and gathering information on the 192 Project. He’s hidden away in an abandoned factory, but the team finds him and collects his information.

And more murders occur when Kent Neilson is murdered, Defense Secretary Stamoran is murdered, and his wife Susan is kidnapped.  

Lee and Andrew Child have designed a warren of heroes, villains, and hidden antagonists that initially set the reader to scratching their heads until the last page when the resolution makes sense. A suspense thriller well worth the read.