Plot or Premise
The plot is relatively confused to start. Jack Reacher is a drifter who gets picked up by the police in a small town as a suspected murderer. He knows he didn’t do it, so he is fairly cooperative with the lead detective. But when it starts to appear that some of the other people don’t particularly care if he did it, he is a little annoyed that their laziness is going to cost him a weekend in jail with someone else who confessed to the crime. Jack starts to draw on his past skills as an MP in the army to help out the investigation, and then it starts to get personal.
What I Liked
From the word go, Jack Reacher is a solid character. He comes with a lot of history and no baggage, which I understand is how the rest of the series unfolds as well. The characters read a little more stream-lined than perhaps a Robert B. Parker novel, without as much soul-searching, and the action keeps going.
What I Didn’t Like
There is a major “coincidence” in the novel, and I really hate novels that hang on coincidence as a major plot device to move the story along. Happenstance is one thing, such as Jack being in the town and subject to being suspected. But when it turns out that Jack knew one of the victims, in a town where he doesn’t know anyone, and there’s no reason for either of them to be there, it’s a bit of a stretch.
The Bottom Line
Great intro to a series.