Lee Child’s 17
th Reacher novel is finally in stores and it feels like a long two years since we left Jack, battered but unbeaten, after the brutal hand-to-hand combat of Worth Dying For.
You may be new to Reacher (where have you been?) but for those of you following the books in chronological order refresh your memory with my review here .
Now onto A Wanted Man; when you're as big and rough as Jack Reacher and you have a badly-set, freshly-busted nose, patched with silver duct tape, it isn't easy to hitch a ride.
But Reacher has some unfinished business in Virginia thanks to the intriguing voice of a woman he's only met via phone, so he doesn't quit. His thumb goes out on a remote Nebraska highway and that’s where his latest spot of bother begins.
He's picked up by three strangers, two men and one woman. But within minutes it becomes clear there’s something suspicious about his travel companions. They're all lying—about everything—and then they run into a police roadblock on the highway.
There has been an incident, and the cops are looking for the bad guys. No prizes for guessing which car the bad guys are in; of all the cars on the road that night, Reacher had to choose theirs.
When the travellers stop to refuel, one of the men makes his move on Jack. It’s a testament to Lee Child’s distinctive writing style (and to my love of Reacher) that I only realised about chapter 51 that the entire action in the novel had taken place in a car.
Reacher’s wry observations of the human state and his pithy, astute remarks carry the novel along. But readers hankering for some Reacher style retribution won’t be disappointed, although it’s the tail end of the novel where Child has packed in the action.
Yes there are a couple of female heroines in there too and yes, Jack’s toothbrush remains firmly wedged into his top pocket.
As to whether Jack actually reaches Virginia and meets the mysterious Susan, you’ll have to read A Wanted Man to find out.
A Wanted Man by Lee Child
Publisher: Random House NZ