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Bookends: Reaching Back into Jack’s Past March 10, 2017

Posted by klondykewriter in Bookends, Klondike Sun, mystery, Whitehorse Star.
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Bookends: Reaching Back into Jack’s Past

By Dan Davidson

Night SchoolJanuary 23, 2017

– 843 words –


Night School: A Jack Reacher Novel

By Lee Child

Delacorte Press

385 pages



“In the morning they gave Reacher a medal and in the afternoon they sent him back to school.”

It was a Legion of Merit – his second. It was nice, “But he figured the real reason he was getting it was the same reason he had gotten it before. It was a transaction. A contractual token. Take the bauble and keep your mouth shut about what we asked you to do for it.”

What they had asked him to do was kill a couple of bad men, not exactly the sort of detail you expect to be handed to a Military MP. It wasn’t a chase and capture scenario, but a very clinical execution.

We get a précis of this operation later in the book, during one of several intimate interludes with Dr. Marian Sinclair, who is technically Reacher’s superior in the current operation.

You see, Major Reacher has not been sent to school, but to a very high level assignment involving interagency cooperation between the military, the FBI and the CIA.

Wait a minute, you say. Where’s the former MP who travels with nothing but a bankcard and a toothbrush?

Well, Child has been giving us the Reacher saga in no particular order ever since Killing Floor. It’s rare that one novel follows right after another, though there was a pair of them a few books ago. There have also been short stories dating back to his army days, and even some from when he was an army brat, living in various exotic locales around the world.

In this book it’s 1996, just about three years since that first group of terrorists tried to blow up the World Trade Centre with some bombs in the parking garage, and Reacher is still a Major.

The Reacher books also swing back and forth between first and third person narratives, depending on the needs of the story. In this one Child decided we needed to hear some of the interplay among the bad guys, so it’s a third person story, with interludes away from Reacher’s central viewpoint.

In Hamburg, Germany, the CIA have a mole planted in the group of unfriendly Arabs, and from that mole they have learned this: there is an American, probably a service man, who is willing to sell something to a bunch of potential jihadists. More importantly, he wants $100 million for whatever it is.

What the McGuffin (an object or device in a movie or a book that serves as a trigger for the plot) might be, no one has any idea. This is also pre-internet and e-mail time, and the jihadists are using the old school method of human couriers who have nothing written down. All transactions are oral, and all the folks at code name Night School know is that the communications all come back to Hamburg eventually. After a few false starts most of the action moves there.

Hamburg also seems to be home to a group of extreme German nationalists, who occupy a number of positions of power, have some intelligence expertise of their own, and very much want whatever the weapons or information might be to further their own goals with regards to the recently reunified Fatherland.

Most of the fight scenes (because this is a Reacher novel) involve Reacher versus these skinheads and neo-Natzis.

Each of the three agencies bring their own teams to work on the case. Reacher’s picks come from the MP group that he used to head up back in the States. One of them, Sgt. Frances Neagley, is a woman we first met later in the series (confusing, isn’t it?) Several others also arrive to play their parts.

The American, who remains nameless for much of the book until the police procedural sort of work ferrets out his name, has been planning his operation for some time, and has been taking care to leave very few clues. However, part of his leaving no tracks involves the murder of a sex-trade worker, who happens to be a favorite of a Hamburg Chief of Detectives named Griezman. This means that Griezman, who is a good homicide policeman in spite of that little indiscretion, has a personal and professional stake in pursuing this case. When Reacher suggests a connection with his own assignment, Griezman becomes a valuable asset.

There are quite a few twists and turns in this case, and once they finally determine who the American is and what he is willing to sell, the pace picks up dramatically. Where there had been a little too much “talking heads” exposition, things suddenly get very active. For me it was the last third of the book that really made it feel more like a Reacher story.

I enjoy these adventures and, in spite of Tom Cruise, I am looking forward to the second Reacher movie. He’s too short, but he plays the part well.





Bookends: Jack Reacher Gets Personal January 28, 2016

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Bookends: Jack Reacher Gets Personal

By Dan Davidson

August 26, 2015

– 840 words –



(with bonus short story “Not a Drill”)

By Lee Child

Dell Books

544 pages


Kindle Edition: $11.90


The Jack Reacher novels defy the usual conventions of series’ story telling in that they are given to us in two distinctly different voices. If memory serves, most of the books are third person narratives, but some of them aren’t. Some are written in the first person, and with a title like Personal, I guess that fits for this, the nineteenth book in the series.

The other unusual thing about this series is that it jumps all over the place in terms of chronological sequence. The first book to appear was Killing Floor, back in 1997, but a suggested reading order (yet to be amended) on Wikipedia, tells us that the first novel in the series was The Enemy, published in 2004, and that Killing Floor is two books later in time.

On top of that disjunction, there are a number of short stories that predate the first novel, tales of Reacher’s military service and one reaching back to when he was a boy. These stories seem to appear mostly in the e-book editions of the novels, and perhaps their addition to these explains why the virtual version of Personal is more expensive than the physical paperback.

The story here is personal in a number of very important ways. General Tom O’Day wants Reacher to work for him on an international case. Reacher is a rootless wanderer, so O’Day uses a rather clever method of finding him, and the story begins with that.

Shortly, we discover that someone has taken a shot at the president of France, who was only saved by a special type of bulletproof glass. It was a very long range shot, which only an extreme marksman could have made. There are four possibilities, and one of them is John Kott, a military killer that Reacher had put away during his military police days, but who is now released.

We learn that Kott has an obsessive hatred of Reacher, which leaves our hero feeling he is being drawn into this case as potential bait, but he feels responsible, so he takes it on in spite of his distaste for O’Day and his methods.

His assigned CIA partner on this case is a young CIA agent with the improbable (and very Ian Flemingish) name of Casey Nice. Since there is usually a temporary romance in a Reacher novel, we expect one here, but instead Reacher treats her as a protégé, becoming a mentor to her ingénue role. This shows us a side of Reacher that we have seen before, but not very often.

The first person narrative style demands that the writer give us the internal workings of a man’s mind and heart, and not merely his actions. In the third person narratives, Reacher often comes across as a force of nature, his size, strength and endurance being key factors in his success. Analysis and the application of intelligence somehow seem to be secondary factors. In this book, as in the other first person narratives, the order is reversed, and we learn that he has thought through as many angles of a situation as he can before he acts, most of the time anyway.

Reacher and Nice are off to Paris first, where the sniper strikes again, this time missing Reacher by inches. They move on to England, where the intelligence analysts believe the shooter has been hired to kill someone at the next G8 Summit, which will be held in London.

In a very brief time the pair find themselves accosted by two different local criminal gangs who seem to have banded together to assist the sniper. They are sort of working with a British SAS agent named Bennett, as they are there unofficially and have to fly under the radar. As the story develops it becomes clear that Reacher has figured out that things are not what they have been portrayed to be, but I don’t think most readers will figure out exactly why that is until they hit the twist at the end of the story, long after we expect the tale to have been completed.

The bonus short story at the end of this e-book was “Not a Drill”. It’s set sometime before the novel and, as it is a third person narrative, really points up those differences I mentioned at the top of this review. Reacher is hiking near the New Brunswick border when he get involved with a trio of Canadian tourists and a mysterious military quarantine of the hiking trail they wanted to travel. Again, the title is pretty much a clue as to how the story will turn out. Things are not what they seem, and there’s another double twist in the very short plot. Lots of fun though.

This was great airplane reading. It almost let me ignore the rough spots in the ride to Calgary last week.





Bookends: What’s the meaning of the green paint in the bathtub? February 5, 2015

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Bookends: What’s the meaning of the green paint in the bathtub?Running Blind

By Dan Davidson

July 29, 2014

– 836 words –


Running Blind



544 pages



Jack Reacher is a dedicated loner, an ex-military policeman whose peripatetic childhood left him with an itchy foot. At the end of Tripwire, the third of these novels, Reacher had almost settled down with Jodie Jacob, the daughter of his former commanding officer. Leon Garber had gone so far as to give Reacher a house in his will.

Lee Child had not yet begun to bounce Reacher’s saga around in time and space when this one came out. In later books we would learn what set Reacher on the road in the first place and even dig up some stories from his army days, as well as some from his childhood. In this fourth book, originally published in 2000, we pick up Reacher’s story right after he and Jodie get together, just a few months later, but it’s time enough that Reacher is already beginning to feel anchored by the house and its requirements.

Reacher has his own sense of justice, and when he sees a New York restaurant owner being shaken down for protection money by some mob types, he arranges to meet them on his own terms and concocts a scenario to scare them off. It involves putting them in the hospital for a while and making them think he is working for another gang boss.

This is an effective plan, but it happens at just the wrong time. Arriving home, he finds himself being picked up by the FBI as the lead suspect in a series of murders. They have been watching him for days, and his little ploy with the gang members gives them a way to hold him for his vigilantism.

It seems that Reacher exactly fits the profile that has been drawn up to account for the murders of several ex-service women, some of whom he knew during his years in the military. He knew them because he had worked on their sexual harassment cases. Now they are dying mysteriously.

Forensic examination is unable to reveal just what killed them. The killer has left no clues. Each woman has been found in a bathtub filled with the sort of military issue green paint used on military vehicles. There are no signs of a struggle at all.

It seems that there is a serial killer on the loose and the FBI’s expert profiler, Julia Lamarr, is convinced that it’s either Reacher, or someone just like him: a loner, ex-military, familiar with police procedure and possessed of his own sense of justice.

She will only admit she might be mistaken when another victim is found to have been killed during the time they had Reacher in custody. At that point the FBI switches tactics and coerces Reacher into working for them as a consultant on the case. Essentially they threaten to let the mob Reacher has just inconvenienced know who his girlfriend is.

Reacher has several problems to overcome in this story, which is more of a mystery than many of these books have been. He has to arrange to keep Jodie out of trouble. To do that he has to call in some favours and do an end run around the FBI while working for them.

In working the case as it has been presented to him so far, he uncovers a theft ring within the military and has to deal with that. When he does uncover the actual killer it turns out the situation is less of a serial case and more of a “purloined letter” situation, but that means that the FBI is seriously embarrassed by the outcome and tries to blame it all on him.

That’s not all that’s going on in this book though, and I hinted at the other problem back at the beginning. In spite of having been attracted to each other for years and having finally found each other, he and Jodie are headed on diverging life paths. She wants corporate success and a settled life as a lawyer. He wants to roam. The house and its needs are making him edgy and unsettled. They need to come to some sort of decision about their future together and this investigation strains their relationship to a breaking point.

There’s a little bit of extra pressure in the person of FBI agent Lisa Harper, 29, gorgeous and deliberately put on this case to watch Reacher and to tempt him, if possible. She’s not comfortable with that part of her assignment, but the two come to respect and like each other and things do get a little complicated.

Lots of the Reacher novels are more like adventure thrillers than mysteries. Except for the killer’s anonymous first person musings in italics sprinkled throughout the book, this is a straight mystery in most ways and we see Reacher using his mind rather than his muscle most of the time. I enjoy that sort of story.




Bookends: High-octane adventure complicates a road trip October 16, 2014

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Bookends: High-octane adventure complicates a road trip

By Dan DavidsonA Wanted Man

April 2, 2014

– 757 words –


A Wanted Man

By Lee Child


624 pages



Jack Reacher was heading for Virginia, in search of the face behind the nice voice and agreeable intelligence that had assisted him during a recent adventure. He had a name and a location at the military base, and that was all, really. When he stuck out his thumb that night he wasn’t sure he’d get a ride. He was looking rough after the last few days. His broken nose hadn’t healed and he hadn’t had the opportunity to buy a change of clothes. He was surprised when the Chevy stopped to pick him up.

There are three people inside; two men in front, a woman in the back, all wearing the same sort of shirt, like they were part of a company group off to a convention or something. They’re going to Chicago, which is on his way, so that’s fine. There’s a funny feeling about the set up, but hitchhikers can’t be too choosy.

A little earlier three men had gone into a concrete bunker-like abandoned pump house near a small town. Only two had come out of the bunker and they were in a hurry. There was an eyewitness who called the county sheriff, Victor Goodman, who lived up to his name and found the body inside. It looked to him like a professional hit so he called the FBI and set up roadblocks. That’s when things started to happen.

About an hour later Special Agent Julia Sorenson arrives from Omaha, Nebraska. She is 47 years old and very professional.

Reacher, Goodman and Sorenson are the three narrative viewpoints we get to follow for about half of the book, as the plot thickens.

The woman in the car is Karen Defuesno, a waitress at a diner not far from the old pump house. It’s her car and she’s been kidnapped by the guys in the front. They swapped a hot looking red sedan for her more sedate looking Chevy and are using her to keep from being spotted as two guys on the run. Picking up Reacher was just bonus set decoration.

Eventually the driver gets tired and asks Reacher to take a turn. While he can see the rear view mirror, Defuesno manages, by means of an elaborate eye blink code, to tell him she’s been kidnapped. Reacher begins to wait for chances to do something about that.

Meanwhile Sorenson and Goodman are having to deal with a bunch of other federal agents (CIA?) who turn up and complicate things back near the original crime scene. Defuesno’s young daughter disappears, and the eye witness vanishes and things get very murky back in Goodman’s patch.

Eventually the three narratives run together and we begin to follow Reacher’s point of view exclusively. By that time Homeland Security is involved, Reacher is a wanted man (hence the title), Sorenson is in trouble with her boss in Omaha, and Defuesno turns out to be an undercover operative.

And that’s all I’m going to tell you, which is fair, because it’s not even a third of the plot twists that happen in this book before we get to the end. As sometimes happens in Child’s novels, this one takes place at a breakneck speed and takes us through only a few days before it’s all wrapped up.

There are car chases, escapes, gunfights, home invasions, and an assault on a fortified base before the story concludes.

But wait – as the commercials sometimes say – there’s more. Child is telling Reacher’s saga out of order, jumping around in time and location and sometimes using either first or third person narrative techniques. At the back of this book is a Reacher short story called “Deep Down”, taking us back to his days as an MP in the Army. There’s some kind of leak within the military related to a weapons procurement committee that is meeting to decide on a new purchase.

Reacher’s assignment is to join that committee and find out who the leak is. When one of the committee members is killed in a freak traffic accident the job either gets easier or harder, but there’s no way to know which until it’s almost too late.

I gather the Tom Cruise movie based on One Shot was a financial success, but this one would be hard to adapt. There’s a lot of interior pondering in this story and that usually doesn’t translate well to the big screen.



Bookends: In which we find out what made Jack Reacher hit the road December 29, 2013

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Bookends: In which we find out what made Jack Reacher hit the road

By Dan Davidson

June 12, 2013

– 1006 words –

The AffairThe Affair

By Lee Child


608 pages



I was worried. Would I be able to read a Jack Reacher novel once I had seen the Tom Cruise movie? Tom was too short and not bulky enough to play the part, but it turned out that he managed to sell the role on attitude and by letting his physical flaws show to a greater extent. The movie was based on the book One Shot, which, while it had a fair amount of action in it, stressed Reacher’s military police investigative skills.

See, there’s my segue into The Affair, which is all about Reacher as a military cop.

Somewhere Child must have a timeline chart for the Reacher novels, but they are being presented to us in no particular order. We’ve seen him as a vagabond and we’ve seen him in the Army. In this book we get the pivot point, Reacher’s last case, the one that decides him he needs to quit.

Child must also make definite decisions about how to tell these stories. Some stories are third person narratives, which allow him to use multiple viewpoints and spend some time with the bad guys, as he did in One Shot.

The Affair is a first person narrative, set in 1997, and told almost as if Reacher is talking to someone, telling us how it all began. The advantage, for what is not really a complicated story, is that we only know what he knows when he knows it, and we get the inside track on all his misgivings.

Reacher is sent to be the undercover cop in Carter Crossing, Mississippi. There has been a murder, and there’s a possible connection to the military base there. The base is low profile because it is the place from which two units are rotating back and forth from the problems in Kosovo. Reacher’s task is to be back up for the official investigator who has been sent to check out the base.

It is made very clear to both men that they are supposed to discover that this is a civilian problem. Reacher has never been one to cover the Army’s backside, as we know from the background events in One Shot, so he’s not entirely happy with this assignment. He goes a former soldier, hitchhiking, or taking the bus, arriving with nothing by a toothbrush and enough cash for cheap lodgings, discarding his dirty clothes for fresh ones when he needs to. We know we’re looking at exactly the pattern he will follow when he leaves the army.

The excuse he gives for leaving is partly true. It’s a big country. He grew up and served in bases all over the world and hardly knows the place where he is a citizen, so he figured it was time to find out more about it.

The cover lasts barely a few hours. It turn out that Sheriff Elizabeth Deveraux is an ex-Marine and she spots him right away. Deveraux is good at her job, but not trained to it the way Reacher is, and after they tip-toe around each other for a while, she decides to treat him as an ally in the case, which, it turns out, actually involves the deaths of three local beauties, not just one. A journalist and a 16 year old boy get added to the list as the story grows, and the mother of the boy and one of the young women suicides on the nearby railway track in her grief

It’s a mess, for sure, and someone is trying to set up Deveraux as the perp, while covering for some member of one of the two squads on the base. For Reacher this is made more complicated by his attraction to the Sheriff and hers for him. I’d check back through the Reacher novels I’ve read to see if there’s more of less sex depending on the narrative voice, but I can’t.

Lee Child is one of the few authors I have read only in e-book editions. This points up one of the flaws of this medium. My early copies were all through either Fictionwise or E-Reader, which eventually joined together and then were scooped by Barnes/Noble. Those earlier files can only be opened with the original software, and that is no longer available. That never happens with real books.

Reacher has to deal with a bunch of local roughnecks who don’t like soldiers and are looking for an excuse to pick a fight. Their mistake. Then there’s a group of out of state private militia who someone in a high place has assigned the highly illegal task of guarding the base perimeter – hence the two additional murders. Reacher has to track them down and chase them away.

Then, it appears that there’s a fairly high level person back at the Pentagon who is prepared to kill Reacher in order to keep him from finding out and revealing what has really been happening in Carter Crossing.

It is, in fact, left to Reacher to mete out justice for all the nastiness that has been going on, and he does so in a direct and final manner, totally illegal, but thoroughly deserved.

All through the book you can see him coming to the conclusion that he reaches at the end, when he mails in his resignation and leaves the service.

“I picked a road at random, and I put one foot on the curb and one in the traffic lane, and I stuck out my thumb.”

But wait, as the commercials always say, there’s more. Included in this book is a short story that shows you just how early the teenage Jack Reacher displayed an aptitude for detection and for violence. It’s not a long story, set in Japan, but it hits all the important points and it’s rather fun instead of being about life and death.




Bookends: Do Not Mess with the Special Investigators June 3, 2013

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Bookends: Do Not Mess with the Special Investigators

Bad Luck & Trouble copy

By Dan Davidson

December 19, 2012


Bad Luck and Trouble


Dell Books

512 pages



Jack Reacher is the quintessential loner. He travels with a toothbrush and, since 9/11, his passport. Everything else is replaceable. He wears his clothes until they need washing and then buys new ones (usually second hand), leaving the old in the garbage. He’s been that way since he left the US Army and he’s been wandering about for 10 books now. The story of his adventures has not been told in chronological order, but Lee Child must have some sort of master timeline to help him keep it organized.

He’s a big man, tall and massive, and I have no idea how Tom Cruise is going to manage to play the part in the rumored movie that’s taking shape out there.  Tom’s supposed to be 5 feet, seven or nine inches. Reacher is well over 6’4”.

In the army, Reacher was a military policeman and we’ve seen at least one book that I recall which was set during that period. Reacher has always had authority issues. In the army he had been an officer, a second lieutenant, a lieutenant, a captain, a major, busted back to captain and then promoted again.

It was during that last promotion that he became the leader of a Special Investigations Unit. They were a crack team who earned the unofficial motto “you do not mess with the special investigators”.

But now, someone had messed with them, and at least one of them was dead, dropped out of a helicopter from 3,000 feet and left to land in the desert outside Los Angeles. Calvin Franz had been one of Reacher’s team, along with Tony Swan, Manuel Orozco, Jorge Sanchez, Frances Neagley, Stanley Lowrey, David O’Donnell and Karla Dixon.

It was Frances Neagley who contacted Reacher, using the cute trick of depositing $1030.00 into his strapped bank account. The trick was that 1030 was the MP’s code for urgent assistance needed. Checking with her successful detective agency in Chicago, he found that she would be waiting for him in LA, and that he was the first of his team to respond to the call.

As it turns out, three other members of the team have been killed, though the bodies take a while to turn up. One of them had been investigating something, had called his nearest comrades for assistance, and it had gotten them all killed. That was scary. They had all been very good at what they did, and while they might all have lost a step or two since retiring from the army, they should not have been easy targets.

Both Reacher and Neagley assume that there is some kind of payback operation going on and that all of the old gang might be in peril. So there is vengeance and justice to be meted out, but at the same time they need to watch their backs.

Now, I started out by saying Reacher is a loner. Except for the one book I mentioned, he’s like a cross between Dr. Richard Kimball (the Fugitive), Bruce Banner (the Hulk) and Shane. He arrives, things happen, events explode all over the place and then he leaves the way he came, leaving people to wonder, Lone Ranger fashion, “who was that guy any way?” Every book has a different supporting cast and a different setting. You would never see him as being much of a team player.

In this book Reacher is the leader of a team, feels responsible for people other than himself, has to plan more strategically and delegate actions to members of his team. This gives us a look at a different side of his character and makes us see a bit of who he might have been if events (which we really haven’t been told about) hadn’t caused him to become the drifter that he has been in most of the books.

The mystery in this book probably isn’t as complex as in some of them, but this one is more about the relationships between the members of the team, and that makes this another unusual entry in the Reacher saga. The terrorists and the crooked defense contractors are important to the story, but they’re not really the main event.

The story is bookended by two harrowing scenes in helicopters, and that’s as much as I’m going to tell you. Suffice it to say that the surviving members of the team live up to their motto. I wouldn’t mind seeing the again sometime.



Bookends: Murder While the Clock is Ticking February 14, 2012

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Bookends: Murder While the Clock is Ticking

By Dan Davidson

January 4, 2012

Star, Jan. 6/12

– 825 words –

61 Hours

by Lee Child

Dell Books

512 pages


Thriller novels require a source of tension to keep the plot boiling. One of the classic tools for building tension is to create a ticking clock. A novel with a title like 61 Hours has such a clock built into it.

When we meet Jack Reacher this time, he is traveling, having joined the passengers of a tourist coach full of seniors making their way west. The weather is not good and a close encounter with a passing vehicle causes the bus to go off the road near an icy bridge. The seniors and their coach driver are ill prepared to cope with the accident, but Reacher manages to set road flares and does his best to keep people safe until help can arrive from nearby Bolton, North Dakota.

Bolton’s lawful claim to fame is that it is home to a major new federal prison. The vehicle that caused the accident had been coming from there, driven by a lawyer who had just received instructions from a client to set in motion events that would involve at least a dozen felonies including, if he had only known it, his own demise.

All of these things are set to happen within the next 61 hours.

The plans were hatched by a dwarfish Mexican drug lord who chooses to go by the name of Plato. He has a deal under way with a member of the Russian crime syndicate. This involves Bolton’s not-so-legal claim to fame: that it is located near to an abandoned military facility which has been taken over as the home turf of a biker gang.

In Bolton there is an old lady, a cultured and retired former Oxford librarian, who happened to witness a drug deal going down in town and who feels that it is her civic duty to testify about it. Her testimony would seriously inconvenience Plato’s big deal, and so he has marked her for death.

The fear of the Bolton police force is that an assassin will be coming to town to carry out that sentence.

Reacher is initially treated as a person of interest, since he is totally out of sync with everyone else on that disabled bus and the accident could have been a ruse to get him into town. It doesn’t take him too long to establish that he is not the killer and he is billeted in town at a private home along with all the other passengers who have to wait for a replacement bus from their tour company. There are no vacant hotels rooms in the town. They are filled with family members who have come to visit their loved ones at the prison.

It’s a fairly long wait since the nasty weather has turned to a blizzard and Bolton is just about cut off from the world for a couple of days. During that time there are several suspicious incidents and a murder (the lawyer) and Reacher, a former military policeman with a background in investigations, proves his worth by helping the locals, who are out of their depth.

He is tapped to assist in protecting Janet Salter, the witness, with whom he forms an unusual bond. His other bond is by long distance telephone, to Susan Turner, the woman who now occupies the investigative post and rank he had before he quit the army. He needs her help in finding out just exactly what that abandoned cold war era military base could have been, and he lends her his experience in tracking down a soldier who has killed his wife and is on the run.

As part of that bonding conversation we learn just how his old desk got that head shaped dent in it, an amusing story and one that helps to explain why he eventually hit the road.

His long distance consultation proves very successful for her and she finds out most of what he needs to know, though there are still a few surprises when he finally gets to take a close look at the place.

There’s lot’s more in here. I liked the chemistry between Reacher and Janet Salter and if the solution to the murders (yes, two more) did not surprise me, I enjoyed seeing how he got there.

The ending is a bit ambiguous as to how he survived the events at the old base. Child has written it somewhat like an insider’s news report and while we can figure out what must have happened, we don’t actually see it.

The Reacher novels are presented to us out of sequence, unlike most series, so the next one could actually take place before the events in 61 Hours, but I do hope that some day there’s a sequel in which he and Susan Turner finally meet in person.