No 18 in the Jack Reacher series and there isn't much to say that hasn't been said before. I read a review recently that tore into Mr Childs and his character of Reacher commenting that it is all repetitive with Reacher just stumbling along finding the same old same with different names and graphically detailing how he takes apart the same old villains in a blow by blow account making it unreal and unnatural......
Yeah, well hard to argue too much with some of that as Reacher does wander about finding those in need of help who are being ground down by the little bad guys supported by the brainless hulks BUT, and especially if you are British, it is a bit like marmite you either love it or hate it, me I love it. The thing is though that Childs has mastered his skill as a writer over the years and while it may seem to be a tad repetitive he writes a flowing dialogue that is pretty seamless and you find yourself just turning page after page until you get to the end. The previous book I read (not a Childs one), really engaged me,even allowing for the errors in it, but it took me nearly three weeks to finish it, a Reacher book, if you aren't careful you could start in the morning and probably finish it be the evening, easily, and supposing you set aside your other life commitments like work and family and life and that I suppose is the mark of a good writer. Someone who gives you a narrative that flows along and compels you to keep reading his or her words!
On this occasion though it isn't your typical small town nice folk who are in need of help but Reachers contemporary a female Major now running his old unit, the 110th MP. Reacher, we don't know why, has phoned the old unit and spoken with Major Susan Turner. Liking the sound of her he decides to head to Virginia from South Dakota and turn up unannounced and ask her out to dinner. On arrival he finds that Major Turner is no longer in charge and some stuck up Colonel is running the unit.
Reacher finds that, a) Major Turner has been arrested and placed in a cell off base, b) he is accused of a 16 year old murder and c) that he has fathered a child and being sued for maintenance and of course the 'icing on the cake' well as far is the efficient Colonel is concerned, is that he has just drafted Reacher back into the Army as a Major, making him subject to all military regulations. He should have read Reachers file in a bit more detail and he would have known, like us, that Reacher was never one to really pay much heed to those regulations the first time round and so we knew he wasn't going to pay much attention to them on this little merry go round.
We then spend the next 417 pages finding out why these old cases have reappeared and what is the connection to Maj Turner who has been arrested and jailed. I have to say here, even allowing for the comments above about my love for this character and Childs flowing writing, that I did find the story of two Deputy Chiefs of Staff being involved in a nefarious enterprise and the poor 'help' they employed to take out Reacher and Turner more than a bit weak overall. The introduction of a daughter who on first introduction was, well never mind, no spoilers, but it was an intriguing side bar to the story and it is entirely believable that Reacher may well have killed someone in the past as he beats down on them, leaving them on the sidewalk and walking off into the sunset. Who's to say that one of his victims hasn't then died and he never knew ............
As a side issue, not really, but for the first time in 18 books I did find a little error; the e was missing from like in one sentence, oh my, but.........
Editing for Kindle: 5 out of 5
Reading Enjoyment: 5 out of 5
Plot: 4 out of 5
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
Page length: 417 and evident on my devices, see it can be done!