“I don't often read best-selling thrillers. I don't know why. I usually find them pretty good entertainment for a while. Like a Bruce Willis movie. I can definitely picture Bruce Willis playing Jack Reacher.
This is my first Jack Reacher book, even though it's Child's 14th. It wasn't difficult to follow; the ex-military man who gets pulled into messes despite only wanting to get away from them isn't a new concept. And I like Reacher's character. He has some depth and some secrets that I'm sure are revealed in earlier novels and others that are yet to be revealed. In this story, Child has him needing information from his old military unit and basically falling for its new CO, a woman who seems to be the only person he's confided in for years, even though they only communicate on the phone. They never meet. Unless this convention is used in the other 13 Reacher books, I liked the way Child was able to delve into Reacher's insecurities through his relationship with this woman.
The story is set in a small South Dakota town in the middle of a massive winter storm. I don't think Child conveys the cold setting like he could have. Mostly it's just statements like, "It's really cold out." (That's oversimplifying, of course, but after reading Dan Simmons's "The Terror," about a ship trapped in the ice near the polar cap, I don't know who could equally describe a cold setting.)
There's biker meth dealers, a ruthless Mexican gang lord, corrupt local police, witness protection, and murder, murder, murder. None of this is new, but I like how Reacher doesn't always save the day. Even in the end, he doesn't completely save the day, and that makes the story a little more credible and even heroic.
It does end with a cliffhanger, and I don't know if I would stand for 14 books that all ended in cliffhangers. I'm glad I started with this one.”