When you start comprehending Lee Child’s book for the first time, you are in for bolt from the blue!! He explains least of the things in great detail. Detailing has its pros and cons – for one, I would say that minutiae are good. Attempt of the writer are justified for putting his thoughts to paper. This book certainly makes for an interesting story from the start!
This is yet another thriller tossed out by Lee Child who is renowned for Jack Reacher series. In fact, there has been a movie based on the character with Tom Cruise donning the role of Jack Reacher. Jack Reacher is gallant in his approach and action – he has handled fastidious goons, mob bosses and drug lords. But even an experienced hand like him was not ready for what will come across his way in this small Nebraska town. On his way to Virginia, Jack Reacher lands up at a motel in this town and gets involved with a local clan – Duncans. Duncan family has terrorized the entire country into deference. A doctor, in an inebriated state, is persuaded to take a call from Seth Duncan’s wife on insistence of Jack Reacher. While Jack’s intentions are noble, Duncans are in no mood to concede. Specific directive had been given to everyone across the town to not treat Seth Duncan’s wife or face the consequences. Things like these were easily spread amid populace of small town through the phone tree – their distinctive way of communicating with each other warning them of any imminent danger. Duncans are a distressed lot – they are oblivious of this man’s identity and his impulsive interest in their family. Their heavy duty bodyguards are no match for well trained, experienced hand like Jack Reacher. One by one, they fall like a pack of cards. Meanwhile, narrative takes an remarkable turn when Seth Duncan reveals to family elders – there are 4 of them and all men – that he has made a deal to supply goods (of a certain variety!) to Rossi, their LA based buyer. This staggers the Duncan men as no commitments has ever been made without four of them agreeing to it. As the goods are arriving from across the border, shipment is inexplicably late. Duncans decide to fault the late shipment on this new man in town (read Jack Reacher!) who is thwarting their attempt to get the shipment inside the country.
When shipment is in jeopardy, Rossi dispatches two of his own men to the town. Late shipment not only troubles Rossi but his buyer – Safir and his buyer Mahemini. Mahemini supplies these goods ultimately to the Saudis. No sooner than they grasp that all of them are sailing in the same boat and need to send their own men to sort out this mess. We now have 6 tough men – 2 each from Rossi, Safir & Mahemini. Through twist of fate, all of them have preconception about killing one another to cut out middlemen and double profits. With crab mentality working overtime, Rossi’s men kill Safir & Mahemini’s men. In the ensuing turmoil, one of the Mahemini’s men is accidentally killed by Jack Reacher.
On the other hand, while wandering around the flat lands of Nebraska, Jack Reacher stumbles upon a lady who has lost a daughter at the hands of Duncan and frantic search by FBI, Local cops, etc – uncovered nothing. Duncans were involved but no one knows how. This makes Jack Reacher resolute to find out what happened to the little girl. He sorts through hoards of files in the archives of local cops and cultivates an insight on the tough case. He turns up with the answer – the disappearance of the girl and how it is linked to Duncan family. This also helps him to unravel the obscurity about the consignment– is it drugs, heavy guns, nuclear warheads – what is it? The truth, when exposed, brandishes him to the core and he decides to finish the Duncans for good. He starts by eliminating Rossi’s men and goes after the Duncans until none of them are left alive.
The pace of the book is worthy of note – it is not a page turner but keeps the reader absorbed. When you weigh him against other novelists for depicting action scenes, he beats them hands down. With Jack Reacher, he has created a cult character that is second to none. His whereabouts are unspecified but his following is vast. Lee Child has been able to turn a sluggish Nebraska town into a very active playground full of drama, trepidation, mystery, fistfights and gang wars. In this outing, Jack Reacher make certain that ‘good wins over any form of evil’. I love the singular storyline and give it a 3.75/5