This is a book for true Reacher fans only, the ones who are completists and have read all the books, and even the short stories. Readers new to Jack Reacher will wonder what the fuss is all about.
The plot is what it is - Reacher walks into another desperate situation, and spends the whole book righting wrongs and uncovering the truth. We all know he's the unluckiest first-chapter character ever written, and we, the Reacher fans, willingly suspend our disbelief so that we can be entertained with strong heroes and strong villains and strong supporting characters.
Well, you won't find many of those in this book. Turner is on the cusp of becoming a strong character, but at times she comes across as more annoying than anything. Lee Child must have gotten some advice from his author friends that characters can be more interesting if they drop random arcane bits of historical and literary knowledge into every other chapter, or stress a half-dozen times that they've spent hundreds of hours in diners, because that's the type of foreplay you'll get here.
Early in the Reacher series, Child did an admirable job of covering his British background and fully immersing us into the world of the American soldier anti-hero. At times here, though, he's not even trying to paint a clear picture of the Americana that Reacher has to deal with. I literally laughed out loud when a backwater woodsman utters the archaic British phrase "Taking the mickey?" Maybe in his research, Child found the one pickup driver on the continent who uses the phrase, and decided to put in his book, but overall it smacks of author laziness.
And Samantha is without a doubt the least believable, most annoying sympathetic character to ever grace a Reacher novel. No spoilers, but you'll be rooting for the bad guys every time she monologues.
Look, it's a nice continuation of the Reacher "I have to get to Washington" saga begun a few novels back. Series fans will like it. It's definitely not the strongest book in the series - unfortunately, it's not even the strongest of the last three novels. I think we all hoped it would be.
We want the ass-kicking, non-monologuing, man of action Jack Reacher back. And please, leave the kids out of the next book, Lee Child.