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Jack Reacher by Lee Child being probably my favorite Good Samaritan hero ever, I was eagerly waiting for the release of Blue Moon. And of course, I snagged it as soon as it came out and started reading.
The story is typical of the usual Jack Reacher books. Jack travels to some unknown small town (or in this case a bigger one), finds someone in need, helps said someone, and that invariably gets him into a lot of trouble.
But Jack, being the big and strong person we know who is not afraid of almost anything, can deal with everything thrown at him. That’s usually a Jack Reacher story in a nutshell.
So here we have Jack on a Greyhound bus watching a young guy watching an old guy who has an obvious envelope full of money coming out of his pocket. He knows exactly what will happen, and he decides that this town is as good as any to stop, especially if he can help the old guy come out of a very sticky situation, being old and defenseless, and all that.
When both the young and the old guy get off at the bus stop, he follows both, and as usual with Jack, saves the old man from a dire fate and loss of money. Unfortunately, the old guy gets injured and he can now hardly walk. Jack, being the good guy he is, offers his help in accompanying the old guy wherever he is heading towards.
But when the old guy refuses his help, Jack realizes that the story is not over yet, and the old man, despite his reluctance to ask for help, is in major need of it. So Jack decides to set foot in this town for a bit and check out things.
I found it interesting that in this case, the town’s name was not even mentioned. It was just some unnamed town in America, one that could have been any other one plagued by the mob. In this case, two sets of mobs: the Albanians, and the Ukrainians, each keeping control of their own turf in the town.
The story is action-packed, and Jack is a good reader of human behavior and intent. He pretty much anticipates the criminals’ each moves and acts accordingly. This time, he has a bit of help in Abby, a young waitress whom he takes a liking to and also takes to bed. He also finds allies in a couple of army vets who are now playing in a small band.
The side characters were ok, nothing special. Abby was fun to read about, but she could have been really any tough broad who’s suffered hardships and wanted revenge on her abuser.
As much as I loved the latest Jack Reacher novel, there was an aspect I was a bit bothered by. Jack is starting to behave more like a vigilante than the do-gooder that he used to be before. He has no remorse about killing bad guys even when actual killing might not be absolutely necessary. He gives the obvious reasons and a pep talk about why he must act the way he does, but all the killing in this book left me slightly disappointed in the character that I most used to look up to. Jack really went on a rampage here.
By the end of the story – big spoiler coming here, so stop reading this paragraph if you don’t want to learn – every single bad guy was dead, mostly by Jack’s hand – or gun, as it were. Now the new police chief could start his reign over a completely clean town, devoid of any gang member at all. Nothing, null, nada, all gone.
Still, I loved the book despite this shortcoming which I hope will not happen in the next books. I do want Jack Reacher to be the way he used to be. Kill when and if needed, warn at other times, do good, and move on. Not – spoiler incoming again – be in the business of genocide, even if the act of extreme extermination is that of bad guys.
Overall, this is a solid 4 stars book and a great beach read.
Blue Moon by Lee Child
Series: Jack Reacher #24
Published by Bantam
Other Jack Reacher books reviewed: The Midnight Line