THIS is Lee Child’s 23rd book featuring Jack Reacher, a character he immortalised in a series of successful novels, as well as several short stories.
Reacher’s family has been touched on briefly in the past, and while we know enough about his late brother and mother, his father’s background was not delved into deeply. This book begins with Reacher hitchhiking from Maine to California when he is dropped off in small town where his late father Stan said he had come from.
However upon checking town records, there is no record of anyone named Stan Reacher. Prompted by a local to check police records, he finds out that there was an incident in which a local bully was beaten up and one of the boys at the scene was named ‘Stan Reacher’.
As he keeps digging he end up helping some locals, which in turns gets him into trouble with some local goons.
Meanwhile, there is a sub-plot involving a young couple from Canada, who are stranded in a creepy motel with some friendly strangers who have ulterior motives.
Reacher is an enigma, and he remains that way even after you have finished the story. He remains an interesting character, because the more you find out about his past, the more interesting he becomes.
There is a part in the book when he takes on a local thug’s son who was about to force himself on a waitress without thinking of the consequences afterwards. There is an old-school chivalry about Reacher.
Here is a man who can kill an adversary in theblink of an eye, but still prefers to settle things in a civilised manner first.
He lives on his own terms, moving from place to place, never putting down any roots or creating any lasting bonds with people he meets along the way.
Perhaps that is why this book series can go on for years to come.