This is one of the Jack Reacher stories which I love but this one kind of disappointed me. I thought that the story was a little passé and can I say obvious. The crimes are quite bloody and graphic which isn’t necessarily so out of character for the author, they just seem a little crazed. I am sure that is what he was going for but I really thought the whole story was completely predictable from the start. Reacher is having breakfast in a small town in the south of the United States. This is already clichéd as some of these areas have such a bad reputation a la ‘My Cousin Vinny’ with being full of bigoted hicks but I suppose one could imagine this sort of thing happening there and not in downtown Chicago, for example.
Anyway Reacher is minding his own business when what seems like the entire police force of the small down barrels down on him and arrests him for murder. He doesn’t know the victim, does not have his blood on him or a weapon. The local police seem somewhat incompetent and do not care about physical evidence. The reason Reacher is in this town is because his brother had been there some months before and had told him about an old bluesman who used to live there. Being a huge fan of the music Reacher decided he would visit and see if anyone still living there would remember the musician. Reacher had nothing else going on in his life, no place that he was living and no job he had to show up to so figured now was as good a time as any. Bad mistake as it turns out. Bright spots for him include a police officer who seems intelligent and understands that he couldn’t possibly have done the crime and a district attorney who also feels the same way. All the other officers are numb skulls who mindlessly carry out tasks at the beck and call of the sheriff.
As we dig deeper into the original crimes Reacher meets several town folk who act in suspicious ways, seem to have information they don’t want to share and have unlimited money without seeming to do any work. More bodies show up including members of law enforcement and Reacher feels for personal reasons that he cannot leave without helping figure out what has been happening in this town. I won’t say what the personal reasons are but even before this is revealed I think the main crime going on in the town is pretty obvious. I won’t elaborate and I apologize if you disagree but this was not in the same genre as Child’s previous novels. I will continue to read his others though as his writing is still great.