PAST TENSE: A JACK REACHER NOVEL solves a mystery surrounding Jack’s parentage--who, exactly, was Jack’s father, a guy who could never remember his birthday? Reacher fans will want to read this novel to find out. But otherwise, except for the dramatic ending scenes, the novel is just plain boring.
In the novel, Jack starts to hitchhike from the East Coast to San Diego, but takes a side trip to Laconia. NH, his father’s birthplace. He visits various public records offices, and gets a lot of help from the locals when dad Stan Reacher doesn't show up right away in the town’s 80-year-old census records.
At the same time, a young Canadian couple has car trouble, and ends up at a remote motel near Laconia. They can’t leave, because the weird motel owners keep making excuses for not calling a mechanic or driving them to town to get a tow truck. Eventually the couple finds themselves imprisoned, because the motel owners have secret plans for them.
SPOILER ALERT: Naturally the two plotlines--Jack’s search for his roots, and the couple’s predicament--merge, but only in a superficial way. The couple’s plotline is basically “Psycho" meets “The Most Dangerous Game", and it isn’t even close to the quality of either one. The motel owners’ intentions are easily guessed, long before the reveal.
This novel is the latest in the long, popular Jack Reacher series, and it works fine as a standalone. It’s well-written, but, as previously mentioned, darned boring.