You have to hand it to Lee Child. He obviously listens to his fans. Perhaps like me you are somewhat disappointed that Tom Cruise is the movie version of Jack Reacher. When you have the money to buy the movie rights to a character who someone else has created, I guess you have poetic license to recreate him in your own image. Unfortunately in this case it involves shrinking a 6'5" 250 pound man into a package that is only 5'7" and 170 pounds. Even though the movie rights belong to Tom Cruise, Lee Child has no reason to reduce the size and presence of his star character. In the first 28 pages of this novel, Mr. Child has clearly wanted all of his readers to know that Jack Reacher could be described as 'Bigfoot' or 'The Incredible Hulk'. In fact early on one of the characters in this excellent story calls him "huge", "not quite seven feet, but close." And he has "Fists like Thanksgiving turkeys." Mr. Cruise paid a lot of money to buy this character, but he doesn't "own it".
I have read all 22 of Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels and this one might arguably be his best. The longest journey begins with but a single step and Mr. Child takes his readers on what appears to be a simple quest to make things right. Nothing official, nothing legal/illegal, just simply Jack Reacher trying to do the right thing -- possibly to atone for some of his past actions. But of course his journey becomes more complicated the longer he pursues his goal. We are exposed to our current opioid epidemic and how the legal system of manufacture and distribution of pharmaceutical grade opioids has been corrupted and circumvented. And we are shown the horrible plight of our disfigured and disabled veterans. Interestingly enough these two timely problems are tied together and become a major part of the plot.
Lee Child is definitely at the top of his craft. This novel is a perfect example of how someone's imagination has allowed them to create an interesting, insightful, and enjoyable read while informing us about two major problems affecting today's society. The fact that it is extremely well written doesn't take away from the snarky and cynical humor peppered throughout this book. The characters are all well described and their motives are crystal clear, even if they contradict one another's. When you finish reading it, and I'll bet that you won't want it to end, the artistry with which Mr. Child tied all of his subplots together will be wonderfully apparent. And at the end, while pondering what you have just read, you will consider once again who the real monster in the room is.