In this one, ex-military policeman and perpetual wanderer Reacher is riding on a New York subway when he sees a woman he thinks could be a suicide bomber. Reacher confronts the woman, who kills herself. That sets off a long, long chain of events that eventually gets Reacher tangled up with everyone from New York City cops to the FBI to the Department of Defense to a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Long story short, the woman uncovered a secret that she shouldn’t have and now everyone thinks that Reacher knows what that secret is — and will do whatever they have to in order to get it …
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it’s written in first person, and I think some of the best Reacher books have been written in first person. Sometimes, Child’s writing in third person makes Reacher out to be too much of a superhero, but that wasn’t the case here. Oh, Reacher still kicks plenty of butt, but he comes off as a little more human (and interesting) in first person.
The mystery is appropriately twisty, and there’s a good bad guy in the book — someone you think could really get Reacher in the end (and almost does). Plus, there was a secondary character — Springfield — that I really liked and who was just as tough and smart as Reacher was. I hope Child brings Springfield back in another book.
However, I did think the plot was kind of far-fetched, even for a Reacher book. Basically, Reacher feels guilty for approaching the woman and in part causing her to kill herself, so he decides that he’s going to get to the bottom of things. That’s fine. I can understand that. But what he uncovers and the speed with which he unravels a decades-old secret, well, like I said, I thought it was a little far-fetched (although I’d love to have his powers of deductive reasoning). Plus, there were elements in this one that I’d felt like I’d read before in other books by folks like Frederick Forsyth and Stephen Hunter (I won’t ruin the plot points here).
Overall, this is just an average Reacher book. Still, what’s average for Child is pretty entertaining in places.
My grade: C-
Would I read this author again: Yes. Like any series, some of the Reacher books are better than others, but when I’m in the mood for a thriller, Child usually delivers a good read — and I hear the next book, 61 Hours, ends with a bang.
Up next: Something from the TBR pile
Books in my TBR pile: About 20.