Ten Two Jack (The Hunt for Reacher #10), by Diane Capri

Seven stars

The hunt continues for Jack Reacher in this well-developed series by Diane Capri, paralleling some of the work done by her close friend, Lee Child. While still on the hunt for Reach, FBI Special Agent Kim Otto is home in Detroit, awaiting her next lead. She is approached by a DEA agent who has some information that might help her investigation. Reacher is said to have been associated with two women out West, one of whom is married to a somewhat nefarious businessman, likely dabbling in the drug trade. While Otto travels to St. Louis to garner some more information, she discovers that the women—twins—have been missing and the husband has hired an investigator to locate them. While trying to piece the puzzle together, Otto meets this investigator, who seems more intent on trying to scuttle her progress than anything else. Otto is left with more questions than answers and connects with her partner, Carlos Gaspar, down in Houston, where he has been working some angles on his own. Meanwhile, in the shadows a figure is trying to lock down his sizeable stash of opioids, ready to hit the streets. These two women might be the only thing standing in his way to a successful business venture, though the mysterious Jack Reacher is also a hurdle that must be neutralised. Working a few leads, Otto and Gaspar find themselves travelling a great deal to find Reacher, discovering his connection to one of the twins and how things might not be entirely as they seem. Capri works her magic again and ties this story in nicely to one of Lee Child’s Reacher novels. Those who enjoy the series will find something in this piece to whet their appetites. Recommended for those who enjoy both the Reacher novels and the Hunt for Reacher series.

Capri keeps things fast-paced, which allows the reader to stay focused on the endgame without getting too bogged down. I found myself enjoying this novel, though was at times a little overwhelmed with all the twists and turns that emerged from the subplots. Otto and Gaspar retain their protagonist roles, working the narrative effectively as they travel and seek to find Jack Reacher once and for all. Of course, they end up in the middle of a case that sees themselves diverting attention from the ultimate goal. Some of the other characters prove exciting and alluring as they push things in one direction or another, without hijacking the narrative. Touching on some of the poignant topics of the day, Capri gives the reader some insight into opioids and their trafficking around America, while also posing the question of how Reacher fits into the larger web. The story was highly entertaining and the chapters flowed very well, keeping me hooked throughout and hoping to learn a great deal more. I am eager to see where Capri takes things, though I am still finding it hard to fathom that this is all taking place in a compacted time period, while Reacher’s nomadic adventures seem paced out over years. Something to chew on for a bit, I suppose.

Kudos, Madam Capri, for another wonderful novel in the series. I have recommended you to many others and will continue to do so.

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

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Black Jack (Hunt for Reacher #9), by Diane Capri

Eight starsReturning to a tried and tested series, I sought out Diane Capri’s latest in the Hunt for Reacher collection for a memorable summer read. After being seconded by the New York Field Office, FBI Special Agent Kim Otto makes her way there amidst piles of snow and blustery weather. Her assignment, to assist on a case that has ties to Jack Reacher. A woman’s body is found in a bathtub, partially filled with green paint. The victim appears to be none other than Jodie Jacob, former lover of the aforementioned Reacher. With a string of identical serial murders in the not too distant past, and Reacher as a potential suspect at that time, might he have returned to exact revenge on a girlfriend who left him high and dry? Otto cannot help but wonder, as she continues her larger assignment to locate Reacher, one she has been on for months. As the case progresses, Otto becomes uncomfortably aware that there is a power struggle within the New York office, one that reaches as high as her own boss. Might Otto have been brought it, not only to help lure Reacher out of the shadows, but also to stick a thumb in the eye of her superior? Working alone, Otto is forced to cobble together pieces of the investigation while receiving odd messages on her burner cells. She is left to wonder if Reacher is watching her in the city, but must also try to determine if it was truly Jacob in that tub and how this plays out on a larger scale. Meanwhile, a killer is going around town killing people who have slipped through the justice system, an odd form of revenge all its own. After reinforcements arrive for Otto, she seeks to piece the entire narrative together, but there are more than Reacher’s eyes watching her and it could spell disaster. Capri does well in this piece to pull the reader into the middle of the ongoing search for Jack Reacher, as well as a case that resonates and has its own red flags. Recommended for series fans or those who love Jack Reacher novels, as it is sure to please and keep them wishing for another novel featuring that rugged (non-Tom Cruise) protagonist.I have always enjoyed Capri’s take on the Reacher series and her ability to slide these novels/novellas into the middle of the Lee Child crafted books. I will admit that I binge-read many of the Reacher novels a few years ago, so the impact of each individual novel is lost on me. That being said, while I cannot reference the individual crimes to which Capri refers (tying in to Child’s work), I find these books both highly entertaining and thoroughly captivating. Kim Otto has always been that independent character whose determination could not be derailed. She shows her gumption here, left without her partner for part of the book. Otto works well under pressure and the reader can feel a close connection to her, even when faced with daunting odds. Carlos Gaspar makes his appearance in the latter portion of the book, having been on medical leave. His role is less active for obvious reasons, though his banter with Otto helps buoy the novel effectively. The Otto-Gaspar teamwork comes to the surface throughout and the reader need not worry that it will be lost in this ninth instalment. The secondary characters, including Reacher himself, show themselves to be effective conduits as the narrative pushes forward. A few breadcrumbs come out about the special Reacher assignment, including some of the FBI politics surrounding it, which can only help the reader have a better understanding of the situation. The story is strong and does have solid ties to a past Reacher novel. There is always that feel that Jack is just out of eyesight and watching as Otto and Gaspar seek him out. With ties to a past crime and Reacher’s heart, there is sure to be some intervention, though catching the man is always harder than first appears. Capri keeps the story moving well, mixing short and longer chapters to keep the reader guessing and wanting to read a little while longer. I am eager to see what else Capri has in store for series fans, with another novel almost ready for publication. This is a series that, if handled effectively, could surely go on for many more years. Kudos, Madam Capri, for keeping an energetic writing style throughout and showing readers how much fun hunting Jack Reacher can be. I look forward to the next in the series and will talk about the previous eight pieces to anyone who will listen.A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

Jack the Reaper (The Hunt for Jack Reacher Series #8), by Diane Capri

Seven stars

Diane Capri has returned to add to her Hunt for Reacher series, taking a slightly different approach to events. After an explosion in a home, everyone is presumed dead, including the elusive Jack Reacher. FBI Agents Otto and Gaspar have been two steps behind him for so long and now, it would seem, things have gone frigid. However, after the controversial document dump, TrueLeaks, transcripts of a telephone call speaking of Reacher being alive and well, which means Otto and Gaspar must rush to New York to continue their investigation. All the while, General MacKenzie ‘Nitro Mack’ Parnell has come to learn of a sizeable amount of money being hidden away in an New York apartment, money that was tied to an operation he sanctioned years ago. Now, Parnell wants what he feels is his and will stop at nothing to retrieve it. Nitro Mack has a history with Reacher as well, someone who had little love loss for his superior while still serving in the military. As Agents Otto and Gaspar piece together a better understanding of what is going on with Reacher, they are soon following the track of Parnell’s mess as he hunts down the money. As more bodies pile up and the money is nowhere to be found, everyone begins to wonder if, like Reacher, it’s disappeared in plain sight. Capri does well to stand alone while keeping Reacher true to his nature. A decent effort that Reacher fans may like, though the series grows and stands on its own merits.

As she tends to do with each novel’s introduction, Capri pays homage to Lee Child and his creation of the Jack (none) Reacher character. She speaks of how each novel she writes parallels with one that Child has created, which allows the reader to read them one after the other and notice the chronological ties. I have never done so and feel that Capri’s work can stand alone, though the elusive nature of Reacher from Child’s novels is just as strong in this series. Otto and Gaspar remain central characters here and pose no threat to overpowering one another. Many of the past novels have developed their characters, but here, it would seem as though they are in neutral and the focus is strictly Reacher and Parnell. Capri’s glimpse into Otto’s personal thoughts and a run-in within her apartment is about as in-depth a character reveal as the story offers. The secondary characters, as with the mainstream Reacher stories, change each time, though they are well placed here to deliver a strong story. While the story was good and paced itself well, I found it difficult to affix myself to everything that was going on. I wanted to, as I love Reacher, but this piece seemed less focussed on Reacher and more on how the agents would eventually fall in line with Parnell’s antics. It could be an anomaly of the series and I will not rake Capri over the coals for my own sense of confusion. Overall, a decent effort and I am eager to see if she can redeem herself with the next book, highlighted at the end of the narrative.

Kudos, Madam Capri, for keeping Jack (none) Reacher alive between Lee Child novels. You do well on your own and it shines through with each novel you produce in this series.

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

Deep Cover Jack (Hunt for Reacher #7), by Diane Capri

Seven stars

In her latest Hunt for Reacher novel, Diane Capri adds a new layer to the ongoing chase scenario that keeps the protagonists one small step behind their intended target. FBI Special Agents Gaspar and Otto continue their search for Jack Reacher, sent to Houston to follow-up on another lead. It appears that former DEA and ATF Agent Susan Duffy has been seen with Reacher over the past three weeks and might be able to shed some light on his whereabouts, or reveal his location, inadvertently. While in Houston, Gaspar and Otto learn that Duffy is on indeterminate leave and no one is willing to share anything concrete with them. Duffy’s apartment appears to have been emptied and her most recent partner is also highly defensive when it comes to sharing anything. Upon learning that she might have returned to Abbott Cove, a small community in Maine, Gaspar and Otto rush across the country in order to follow a trace that might lead to Reacher or provide some concrete leads. Within the confines of a large compound in the Abbott Cove area, a man by the name of the Diplomat is entertaining a number of rich men whose criminal capabilities are piqued by a new weapon on the market; one that can obliterate from such a distance that it is virtually undetectable. While following up leads in Abbot Cove, Gaspar and Otto learn that Duffy might be in the area, though she has gone missing after trying to locate another of her colleagues. All signs point to the aforementioned compound, where rumour has it women were being kept for an international human trafficking ring. The collective who seek to find and free Duffy must work together to remove her from harm’s way, which might permit essential clues about the whereabouts of the ever-elusive Jack Reacher. All this while the Diplomat seeks to sell his most lucrative weapon to date to the highest bidder and keep his trafficking ring intact. Succinct but full of drama, Capri knows how to lure the reader in and keep them interested until the next cliffhanger. 

This series has always been an interesting one for me, as I am an avid Jack Reacher fan. While Capri’s series is concentrated in a very small window of time and each books feeds immediately after the end of its predecessor, the stories remain fresh and highly entertaining. With plots that focus on finding Reacher, things generally spiral from the intended mission and a new mystery emerges. Using a few central characters and an ever-changing collection of those in a supporting role (a la each Reacher tale), Capri is able to keep the reader interested and curious about what is yet to come. Gaspar and Otto have grown in the short chronological period of the novels, with Capri adding new layers to keep the reader connected to them during each mission. I remain interested in the evolution of the series, though the nomadic Reacher character proves to be my greatest interest. 

Kudos, Madam Capri for a sensible addition to the series. Even if Reacher remains one step ahead, you are able to develop your characters effectively.