Prepper Jack (The Hunt for Reacher #12), by Diane Capri

Eight stars

Diane Capri is back with her latest novel in this series that has hints of the Lee Child popular collection. While Jack Reacher remains at large and one step ahead of the FBI, there are other issues that take precedence this time around. When Treasury Agent John Lawton is kidnapped as he leaves a lunch meeting with an accountant in New Mexico, worry races up the chain of command. FBI Special Agent Kim Otto is alerted to matters and sent down to investigate and assist, as there are some mean players in the vicinity. It’s suspected that drug cartel leader, Pinto Vigo, is behind the kidnapping, as Lawton is said to have been meeting with a mole within the cartel. Otto’s arrival in New Mexico is not entirely business related, as she and Lawton have a loose relationship that has been simmering for the past while. Is she being drawn to help because of the victim, or is this all business? Liaising with her former partner, Otto discovers that Lawton is likely being held amongst a commune of ‘preppers’, those who are ready for an end of days or the need to secede, should the situation arise. Learning a little more about the locals and Vigo’s way of life, Otto is joined by a few other federal agents, as they seek to rescue Lawton before capturing Pinto Vigo once and for all. Reacher is surely around, but Otto’s mission is focused elsewhere for the time being. A great addition to the series, which usually packs a punch. Recommended to those who like crime thrillers that keep on spinning, as well as the reader who has come to enjoy this series.

I eagerly await every time I see that Capri has been working to release a new Hunt for Reacher tale, as they tend to be well-crafted novels. This was no exception, though there was less of a Reacher feel and more one of action adventure in the plot. With Special Agent Kim Otto working alone, the tale took on more of a solitary spin, though the action did not dissipate throughout. Otto’s backstory is not covered herein, though the eleven previous novels should have done much of that. Rather, the reader is able to see what makes Otto leap up and take notice, both with her Lawton connection and ability to discover nuances in the larger mission. Never one to shy away from controversy, Otto pushes forward to help locate the federal agent, as well as bring down a drug cartel. Others appear throughout the book, complementing Otto or the larger plot effectively. Capri fashions these characters to keep the reader interested and pushes the narrative forward with their presence. The story itself was quite easy to digest, working in the Southwest part of the country. Offering up some insight into the world of ‘preppers’ and how they fit into the larger American fabric, Capri entertains and educates in equal measure. While not the sharpest of the series novels, this one fits nicely into the mix, leavin fans eager to see how and when Reacher might appear again. Some will bemoan that this is not ‘pure’ Reacher, though the series is done with the blessing (and encouragement) of Lee Child, who is in regular contact with Diane Capri. The two series complement one another nicely and I will keep reading as long as the stories remain crisp and worth my time.

Kudos, Madam Capri, for another great piece, even if dear old Jack was not a central topic.

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