Since I’m a huge fan of the Jack Reacher books, I was eagerly looking forward to this one. The book started with an attention grabbing scene, and seemed promising at first, but went downhill from there.
Sadly, the writing style and characterization of Reacher was so different from the other books that I became increasingly disappointed. It was like buying tickets for a Broadway show and discovering that you were instead seeing kids at a local high school doing their version of the play with homemade scenery and some flubs.
I found the book filled with endlessly detailed descriptions of every room Reacher went in without any of the intriguing things he usually thinks. He’s been called “Sherlock Homeless” but here he seemed flatfooted. It’s as if his IQ dropped 30 points.
Here is just one example of the many boring descriptions that seem to be filler between fights.
“The Prairie Rose was as easy to find as Dr. Houllier had promised. It was still in the central portion of the town, right on the edge, in a building with two floors. It was also built around a courtyard. That seemed to be the fashion in the area. The café was on the ground floor. There was some kind of office above it and a store on either side. The interior was simple and square. There were twelve tables. Three rows of four, evenly lined up, each with four chairs. The furniture was solid and durable. The silverware was plain and functional. Nothing stood out, either good or bad. There were no flowers. No ornaments. No knickknacks. No other customers. I liked the place.”
Yet despite the lavish attention to describing inanimate objects, and this drab coffee shop, the main female character was only minimally described. We learn that she has a prosthetic leg, but that about it. She was never brought to life, nor did she and Reacher have much of a relationship. Even the fights somehow seemed dull since the new coauthor doesn’t imbue them with the usual drama and intensity.
Also, the real Reacher wouldn’t be wanting to bring the cops in from the start! And he would have handled things in a more smarter way, using snappier dialogue. I kept waiting for clever twists and didn’t get them, except that one mystery was eventually solved. In the end, the real Reacher somehow got jacked and we were left with a dull boy.