These books had me up until dawn. I'll admit I was hesitant at first. I didn't want the creation of Jack Reacher deconstructed and made disappointing, but I hadn't counted on the skill of Diane Capri. In You Don't Know Jack, Reacher's mystique is intensified and his uniqueness tweaked. From page one, I was hooked on the story, the clean narrative style, and the team of Special Agents Kim Otto and Carlos Gaspar. What a unique combination of characters, fully fleshed out with wounds, internal and external, that propel them through the story with the promise of more to come, and misconceptions about Reacher that make the reader stop and think a moment. Nah, that's not Jack. But before we can give it a second thought, the story takes off into its deceptively complex plot, and all we can do is hold on for the ride. I love Reacher,but I also want more of Otto and Gaspar.
The story opens when Kim Otto receives an enigmatic call from her boss, and she's off with the tension building without mercy until the last page. Neither she nor her new partner, Gaspar, know each other or Reacher, but the tension builds as they take off around the country building a "Reacher file" for reasons they don't quite understand. Their exhaustion tumbles from the pages as they try to fill out the incomprehensibly slender file that exists on Reacher, living off coffee and adrenaline from their last encounter that has left them closer as a team, more suspicious of each other as individuals, and with even more questions about Reacher. And why such an important man in the has assigned them the task of finding him. It is in Margrave, Georgia that things get even more strange. Police Chief Beverly Roscoe is just the first of the characters expertly woven through this story that keep Otto and Gaspar on the run, only to fall deeper into one misconception about Reacher after another, yet more deeply involved in his story.
I want to go into more of this story, but I can't figure out how to do it without putting in spoilers. What I'll say instead is that I'm a fairly observant reader, trained to do so while studying English Literature, yet the engine that created and pulled this story forward didn't hit until a day after I 'd finished reading it. I thought the last few pages might have been gratuitous, but they were a necessary punch in the gut and a further twist in the tension of figuring out the Knight In Jeans known as Jack Reacher. I thought the read was more than satisfying, and I was more than happy with the tension, complexity, and the mirroring of Jack Reacher in the story, but when the full force of the story hit, my admiration for the writer and the story went through the roof. And I wanted more. And there was more in the form of two novellas that keep me satisfied and better acquainted with the team set loose to fill out the Reacher file. I can not wait for the next installment.