I enjoy the Jack Reacher books. I've dipped into the stream here and there, and I'm pretty sure I read the book right before this one, as the events he has just come from sound very familiar. And this is another fine entry. Child writes very enjoyable mystery thrillers. They aren't deep, but they are twisty, and Reacher is an entertaining hero. He gets less character time here than in some of the others, though.
It feels like his personality in this one can be summed up in one word - implacable. He's always been dogged, but it almost gets taken to a new level here - or maybe because there's so little else. Maybe it's always been that way, but it felt more obvious.
In this one, he's rather beat up. More than usual? I'm not sure. But he's hitchhiking his way across the northern Midwest, when he gets let off in a small town entirely under the thumb of one family, who does all the trucking for the farmers in the area, and enforces their will with a matched set of former football players.
Just trying to get a room, he ends up getting involved. (Naturally.) There's a domestic abuse call for the doctor, who has been told not to see to her. Reacher persuades him, and drives him, and then goes and breaks the abusive husband's nose. The abusive husband is one of the powerful family.
He can't leave town now, as the powerful family has put out the word. And everyone obeys. They have since a little girl went missing decades earlier, was never found, and the family was cleared of all suspicion.
So of course this is the kind of situation Reacher can't leave alone. He picks at it, and picks at it, leaving an impressive pile of crippled football players in his wake. He looks at the police work for the cold case. He befriends the locals. And he evades the three sets of errand boys for various mobs who have been dispatched to make sure the next shipment of whatever shady thing it is the powerful family are also shipping, along with the wheat, makes it through.
When what the shady business is is revealed, right at the end, it's difficult. While Reacher books are generally a bit hard-boiled, this one was almost too much. It makes sense with everything that's gone before, but still.
There isn't a damn thing that's new here, but it does what it does well. If you like the series, you'll like this one. If you're looking for something innovative, look elsewhere. But for a straightforward thriller, this is a competent and enjoyable one. Even if it did get a little too serious for me there at the end.