Lee Child returns with another Reacher adventure that takes things down some untraversed pathways, particularly interesting for series fans. When Jack Reacher sets out for California, he has high hopes about this journey. However, early during the trek, he ends up having to get out along the road in New Hampshire, where a road sign rattles in the wind. The town of Laconia triggers a memory for Reacher, which he soon recollects is Stan Reacher’s place of birth, a father who taught him the steely ways of Marine life. Armed with a great deal of curiosity and all the time in the world, Reacher ventures towards the outskirts of Laconia. Liaising with some of the locals, Reacher begins piecing together some of his family history, at least until his father fled to join the Marines at the age of seventeen. However, there are some who want nothing more than to chase him out of town, possibly because of his name, but surely also due to the fact that Reacher is never one to hold is tongue…or a punch to the face. Meanwhile, in another part of town, two Canadians arrive in their beat-up vehicle and hope to only pass through, though a group of men who run the local motel may have other ideas. As they soon learn, Laconia, New Hampshire is more than just a dot on the map, but how do they play into the larger narrative? With Reacher discovering a great deal about his ancestors and being part of a larger dust-up, he could be the only hope for those looking to forget all about this community. What Reacher secrets have been buried for over seventy years and how will this opportune visit change the dynamic for the decades to come? Child does a wonderful job in creating a strong story and keeping the reader enthralled. Recommended to series fans who want to see yet another unique angle to this ever-evolving collection.
I know some people have read and reviewed this book, feeling that it is missing an essential piece of the Reacher puzzle. I, on the other hand, constantly marvel at how Lee Child has been able to take a nomadic protagonist and always find new ways to inject life and excitement into his life. Jack Reacher has seen it all in his years, but there has always been that missing gap in his past. Born abroad and having traveled as part of a Marine family, Jack Reacher never knew his grandparents and did not hear speak of them. His father, Stan, left as soon as he could get out and never came back. Now, Jack is able to peel back the mystery and learn a little more about young Stan, as well as the people he would call grandparents. As he delves a little deeper, Reacher finds more family members, who tell an interesting tale that will surely help shape this nomadic man as he continues his treks across America. The secondary story offers some interesting characters as well, two young twenty somethings who are unknowingly trapped in town by a group of young men. They become guinea pigs to a plan that they could not have foreseen. Child offers some interesting storylines related to these two, helping to shed the ‘Canadian passivity’ as soon as things get hellish. The story was quite well supported, using the typical ‘moseying Reacher’ before adding the element of personal connection for the man and helping the series fan to learn a great deal while also noticing Reacher’s typical rough-cut personality. There may be some wonderful nuggets on which Child can build in novels to come, which I hope continue. This is one series that I have found does not lose its momentum as it continues, as Child mixes ‘past’ and ‘present’ storylines in novels to better understand Reacher. While it may seem trivial, as a long-time audiobook listener of the series, I have come to discover that Child seems overly connected to the word ‘said’ when tying off dialogue. While it seems minor, to hear ‘he said…. she said….he said’ repeatedly during a dialogue makes for some mundane verbal tennis that can grate on the listener’s nerves after a time. As I said before, this seems to be a constant in books. On the note of audiobooks, I was so pleased to see Scott Brick at the helm and hope that he might be the new voice of Reacher, who suits it as well as Dick Hill did in novels past. What’s next for Lee Child and Jack Reacher? I suppose we will have to wait, but hopefully not too long.
Kudos, Mr. Child, for more wonderful story writing. I know you have many ideas brewing and I cannot wait to see what twists you will toss into your novels and short stories.
A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons