Author: Lee Child
Release Date: August 2015
For Jack Reacher, any small town he stumbles into at this point is actually a hidden crime ring with at least 8 people that he’ll need to kill by the end of the novel. Lee Child has completely given up on any plausible reason for Reacher to continue to walk into these situations, find attractive female law enforcement officers in need of his unsolicited problem solving skills (of both the mystery and sexual variety), and take over any investigations with no reluctance on the part of his partner. At this point the series has skipped completely from procedural to formula, with only the macguffin changing from book to book.
The things that are different in this book **spoilers follow** are pretty much limited to the following: Reacher uses the internet and cell phones somewhat frequently; his lady love interest is a retired FBI agent (and she’s a minority: an Asian named Chang), and Reacher has to overcome a headache due to a concussion. The setting of this book is a small town called Mother’s Rest that provides the most interesting mystery of the book (where the town’s name came from) which was actually a neat idea for why Reacher ended up in the town, fitting very much with the history of the character. If approximately 14 books in the series didn’t similarly have the plot that “Reacher gets drawn into a battle for his life after bad guys inadvertently involve him in their plot” this would be one of my favorite plot origins.
All that’s not to say that I disliked the book; Child’s got a grip on Reacher the character and the action scenes in this book are pretty well done. The reveal at the end as to the bad guys plans was fairly predictable, but not something that had been previously explored in the Reacher-verse. My biggest gripe is that any author could really write this book from just changing a few names and places from “The Killing Floor,” “Echo Burning,” “Nothing To Lose” (this one in particular is VERY similar), “61 Hours,” and “Worth Dying For.” The other biggest gripe is the Science Writer for the L.A. Times going along with the events at the end of the book, something no sane person would do.