The Christmas Scorpion: A Jack Reacher Short Story, by Lee Child

Eight stars

It’s almost time for the annual Jack Reacher novel, but that does not mean that Lee Child has been resting on his laurels. This short story that includes our rough and tumble protagonist is a perfect bridge for those who can never get enough—Tom Cruise-less—Jack Reacher. Winters for Reacher must have a single element, warm weather. That explains why he’s made his way to Southern California just in time for Christmas. However, Mother Nature has opted for something a little more troubling than coal this year, having dumped a ton of snow on the community he’s chosen. When Reacher finds a small restaurant in which to take cover he’s happy to see that there are two other couples there as well. Without power, it would seem as though he’ll have to do more than just wait things out. One of the ‘couples’ turns out to be members of the Royal Military Police, on a mission to protect their important dignitary. However, after sliding off the road, they lost him. What’s even worse, there is a killer on the loose—The Christmas Scorpion—whose name has come up in Internet chatter, seeking to strike sooner than later. After pulling some strings, Reacher not only has everyone rescued from the restaurant, but they are on a helicopter to do a little investigating. What they’ll find will only add more intrigue to an already jam-packed story. Recommended for those who love Reacher in all his permutations. The piece can be read as a standalone over a morning cup of coffee or tea, should the reader desire.

There’s nothing like a decent piece by Lee Child to excite those who enjoy short stories. Child does well to both pique the interest of the series fan and provide an entertaining out for anyone who needs a quick read. Reacher is his usual ambling self, complete with a disinterested nature in those around him. No backstory or character development here, just his usual loner self. However, Reacher never ceases to amaze with his abilities and will surely keep the reader on their toes with this quick read. The handful of secondary characters are as vehicles, getting the piece from A to B, though there could surely be some tie-ins with the upcoming novel, should Child choose to take things in that direction. The story is decent and, like many Reacher pieces, does not need a specific locale to make them work. The interested reader will see that the quick pace of the story and short dialogue is perfect and helps push things along with ease. I almost finished the entire piece without blinking, but it was entertaining at the same time, as Child as come to make a point of doing with most of his writing. I cannot wait for the next book in the series, though this was a wonderful teaser and reminder how much I thoroughly enjoy all that Jack Reacher brings to the stories in which he stars.

Kudos, Mr. Child, for another wonderful piece. I am always excited to see new Reacher material and this one did not disappoint.

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