Blue Moon (Jack Reacher #24), by Lee Child

Eight stars

Turning to the latest Jack Reacher thriller, I was very eager to get my hands on it to see what Lee Child had concocted for his most versatile protagonist. The story opens in a nondescript American town that is run equally by Ukrainian and Albanian organized crime. There is a clear demarcation of territory and neither side can really admit to liking the other. Jack Reacher is on his way to said town, aboard the local Greyhound bus. He eyes a man on board who has quite a bit of cash and is at risk of being a mugging victim. After they disembark, Reacher saves Aaron Shevick from just that fate and befriends him. Shevick is secretive, but eventually admits that the money is to pay off a loan that the Albanians have given him. When no one shows up, Reacher counsels his new friend to stay calm, though neither of them realize that the Ukrainians have taken over the loan business and are in an open war with the Albanian mob. When Reacher learns why the Shevicks are forced to receive such lucrative amounts of money, he takes it upon himself to settle things once and for all. However, while the Ukrainians and Albanians are off killing one another, he paints a shiny new target on himself and the Shevicks. With the help of a young lady who knows the organized crime goings-on and some military vets, Reacher engages in his own war to rid the town of these strangling influences. Wherever Reacher is around, the blood will flow and this may be a river rather than a trickle. Another winner from Lee Child in this stellar series that has not lost momentum. Recommended to all Jack Reacher fans, as well as those who love their thrillers told with unique plot lines.

While some seem to bemoan the length of the Reacher series, I have come to love all the twists and turns that Lee Child is able to use, particularly in the ‘modern’ novels. Just when I think that Reacher has done it all, we find a new situation for him to conquer. While there is little room for any backstory in this piece, Reacher remains the rugged and highly interesting man that many series fans have come to expect. Arriving as trouble is laid at his feet, Reacher never shies away, but also does not initially invite it. If there be a damsel in need of taking to bed, Reacher will somehow find a way to do it, but is sure to treat her with respect and bring her in on the plant to solve whatever issue seems to be taking place. Reacher uses his brain as much as brawn and lets no one intimidate him. Even here, with two crime families seeking his head on a post, he is ready to tackle whatever comes before him. Others are just as exciting to find within the narrative, from the down and out Shevicks to the ruthless mob bosses who ask questions after shanking those who cross them. Child has done well to ramp up the excitement and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat as things come to pass. The story is strong and uses some tried and tested Reacher techniques of always moving ahead, while trying to get to know the surroundings. I could not help but notice the mix of seriousness and humour, which always makes these novels a little more enjoyable. I cannot wait to see what is to come, be it more short pieces or full novels, depending on how things turn out for dear Jack!

Kudos, Mr. Child, for another winner. Your fans will likely praise this as another success, which I wholeheartedly do.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: