Jack Frost (Hunt for Reacher #14), by Diane Capri

Eight stars

Diane Capri continues her unique spin on Lee Child’s popular Jack Reacher character and the series of novels that made him a household name (almost ruined by Tom Cruise). The elusive ‘man from nowhere in particular’ continues traversing small town USA, while Capri uses some of the information to create her own thrillers where he is the target. An FBI agent does her best to piece together loose sightings of the man, but always seems to get herself embroiled in local issues. It’s a great way to complement to the Reacher series, particularly for fans who have an affinity for his smooth arrival and departure from any situation.

FBI Special Agent Kim Otto has been assigned a new partner, something that fills her with an uneasiness. While she loves her former partner, change is not something she’s come to handle quite well. Still, she’s focussed on the trail of Jack Reacher, who has been sighted in rural America, making the journey one of great importance. The Feds find themselves in South Dakota, more specifically Bolton Correctional Facility. The hope is to find anyone who might have clues as to where Reacher has gone. He made an impact when last he was there, leaving only one person alive, a crazed gangster with a sharp mind.

While Otto cannot be sure if Reacher was behind the murder of many in this small town, she knows that talking to the one survivor and his lawyer could prove helpful. There’s a problem, though, as a cargo plane crashed onto the property and started a massive prison escape, leaving everyone scrambling to collect the inmates as quickly as possible.

Otto and her know-it-all partner, William Burke, join forces with local law enforcement to capture the gangster, as he may be the key to locating Reacher. However, he’s not keen to return to custody, traversing across the barren lands of South Dakota, with his lawyer and a few others in tow. It’s a race to locate him, in hopes that he won’t make it to Canada and slip away for good, eh?!

I’ve been a fan of Lee Child and his books for many years. When I discovered that Diane Capri was working under the blessing of Child to create this offshoot series, I gladly accepted the chance to read it as well. Capri ensures that series fans understand the backstory and how it complements this piece, though admits that she takes some liberties of her own, as she wields the proverbial pen. This story is pulled from the pages of 61 Hours, a great book on its own. Take a look to see how Capri added depth and excitement to her own thriller.

FBI Special Agent Kim Otto serves as a stellar protagonist once again. She has a lot going on, besides the hunt for Jack Reacher, seeking to balance it as best she can. The story connects her with a handful of well-developed characters that help develop the plot lines and provide insight into the location of one Jack Reacher. However, there is the added connection that Otto has with William Burke, her new partner and a man she cannot fully trust. Burke has a past, something that Otto has discovered by pulling some strings, making the connect between these two Feds strained at best. Capri uses one-off characters effectively while borrowing some of the backstory Child laid down in the aforementioned Reacher novel.

The novel—and the series, to be honest— is entertaining, particularly for fans of Reacher and his nomadic ways. The narrative pushes the story along effectively while characters shed light on plot points that keep the reader guessing throughout. A mix of chapter lengths provide the reader with some teasers and begs them to keep reading, of only to find resolution. While I admit that I do not remember the intricacies of each Reacher novel, nor do I re-read it afterwards, Diane Capri’s book remind me of key points and cement the belief that these two series complement one another so well.

Kudos, Madam Capri, for another winner. I cannot wait to see what story you pair your next novel with, and how close a Reacher-Otto encounter might be.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons