My husband has been reading the Jack Reacher series forever, and when the new Amazon series came out, we watched it together. The series is a perfect summer binge – full of action, enough plot to hold things together, but not so much you have to work particularly hard to follow along. I have an upcoming “beach reads” presentation for work, so I thought I’d give the first Jack Reacher book a shot – and it is the perfect beach read.
Jack Reacher recently mustered out of the military, where he was military police. He’s sick and tired of someone else running his life, and now he’s taking advantage of his freedom by…being a hobo, basically. He drifts from town to town, nothing but a few dollars in his pocket. He takes busses and walks, and simply buys new clothes and throws the old ones out when they get too gross. (Charming.)
Our story begins when Reacher walks into the tiny town of Margrave, GA, where he’s eating breakfast at a diner and hoping to find information about Blind Blake, an obscure blues guitarist from the 30s. Instead, Reacher is arrested where he sits eating eggs, and charged with a particularly gruesome murder. Of course, Reacher quickly manages to convince the Detective that he’s innocent of the murder, while somehow worming his way into the investigation. When the ID on the body comes back as Reacher’s older brother, Joe, Jack is even more motivated to solve the crime…which end up being a huge conspiracy with national security implications.
Those are the key plot points, and the action is really what keeps the book moving. The whole thing is pretty pulpy, and your tolerance for pulp is going to be a pretty good indicator of whether this book works for you or not. Some of it is pretty ridiculous, including Reacher’s narration when it comes to Roscoe, the only female member of the local PD and Reacher’s romantic interest. I also didn’t realize that this book was first published in 1997, which situates Reacher squarely at the end of the Cold War. The time period definitely lends a particular flavor to the book – which I thought the series did a great job of updating for the present. (It’s a bit like reading the original Jason Bourne books after seeing the movie.)
All in all, this is just about the perfect beach read. Plenty of action, just don’t think about any of it too hard.