From Publishers Weekly
At the start of bestseller Child's solid 12th Jack Reacher novel (after Bad Luck and Trouble
), the ex-military policeman hitchhikes into Colorado, where he finds himself crossing the metaphorical and physical line that divides the small towns of Hope and Despair. Despair lives up to its name; all Reacher wants is a cup of coffee, but what he gets is attacked by four thugs and thrown in jail on a vagrancy charge. After he's kicked out of town, Reacher reacts in his usual manner—he goes back and whips everybody's butt and busts up the town's police force. In the process, he discovers, with the help of a good-looking lady cop from Hope, that a nearby metal processing plant is part of a plan that involves the war in Iraq and an apocalyptic sect bent on ushering in the end-time. With his powerful sense of justice, dogged determination and the physical and mental skills to overcome what to most would be overwhelming odds, Jack Reacher makes an irresistible modern knight-errant. (June)
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*Starred Review* Jake Reacher only rents rooms one night at a time, confirming his “absolute freedom to move on.” About the only thing sure to convince Reacher to stick around is someone telling him he has to leave. That’s what happens when the former military policeman turned inveterate loner stops for a cup of coffee in an aptly named company town called Despair, Colorado. Strangers aren’t allowed in Despair, he’s told, and two cops arrive to drive him out to the city limits. You can run Reacher out of town, maybe, but you sure as hell can’t keep him out. Forming an unlikely alliance with a female cop in the neighboring town that’s called—you guessed it—Hope, Reacher sneaks back to Despair and finds all manner of strange goings-on: the creepy burg is run by a megalomaniac entrepreneur who is using his metal-salvage business for something definitely snarky. But what? Reacher finds the answers, of course, but to do so, he pretty much has to go up against the whole damn town. What is it that makes these action-fantasies so satisfying? Yes, there is something of the cartoon superhero in Reacher’s steel-trap mind and body, but the action is so grounded in everyday details that instead of laughing it all off as silly, we find ourselves responding on a deeply emotional, archetypal level. We all feel as if the whole town is against us sometimes; Reacher lets us experience what it would be like, just once, to slap every last one of the fools aligned against us upside the head and then, pausing only to pack our toothbrush, hit the highway. --Bill Ott