Lee Child has a formula and most of the time, it’s just the summer (or winter break) read I’m looking for*. However, one of the things I liked about this 2016 Jack Reacher novel was that it wasn’t the usual “Reacher strolls into a small town in middle America and gets into a nest of trouble.”
Instead, Child goes back to the 1990’s when Reacher was in the army and constructs a story that involves terrorists of both the Islamic and Nazi persuasion, missing nuclear weapons, and a rogue U.S citizen who is looking to score the deal of a life-time. The title comes from the fact that the story begins with Reacher receiving a medal in the morning and being sent to “night school” by the end of the day. Of course, this isn’t really staff training; Reacher’s been tapped, along with an FBI agent and a CIA analyst, to work a special off-the-grid operation.
A CIA informant in a sleeper cell in Hamburg has reported that his group is all a buzz because of the arrival of a Saudi courier. He overhears that “the American wants a hundred million dollars.” However, who the American is and what he wants a million dollars for is what Reacher and his team have been tasked to find out.
The result is a solid, international thriller with just enough twists and turns to create suspense but not so many that you mistake this story for Le Carre or even Ludlum.
*Though I sometimes have mixed feelings when Child wades too deeply into revenge porn.