It’s really hard to say something about a Jack Reacher book–in a very real sense, if you’ve read one, you’ve read ’em all (maybe this changes after book 7, but I doubt it). But dang it all if you don’t come back for more and more and more — like Pringles, or Fritos, etc. Great action; totally outlandish, but (in the moment definitely) believable plot; lots of testosterone-y fun.
Two things I’d like to mention about this book.
First, there’s this fad in TV lately where you watch a scene or two at the top of the show, and then the chyron flashes “X days earlier” and you get to see how events led up to this, and even get a better picture of what happened. It’s a tired and overused gimmick. But in ’03 when this was published, it wasn’t. And even if it was tired then, Child does it right, and I would’ve been totally on board with it then. Great hook to begin the book. Really great.
Secondly, I couldn’t help but be impressed with the way that Child laid out Reacher’s motivation to hunt down this particular criminal in bits and pieces, scattered throughout the present day action. Sure, it was predictable after a certain point, but it was skillfully done. Giving Reacher the proper motivation each time to go after the baddie has to be a struggle, especially since it has to be sufficient motivation to get him to perform superhuman tasks. This was one of Child’s best efforts in that regard.
One more thing that I just thought of–since Parker’s God Save the Child and The Judas Goat I’ve been a sucker for a fight between big, tough hero and impossibly huge, strong, psychotic villain, and the one here delivers the goods in spades. Loved it.