Delacorte, May 2004, 25.00, 394 pp.
In 1989, twenty-nine years old military police officer Major Jack Reacher is reassigned from Panama to Fort Bird, North Carolina. When he arrives at his new duty station, he finds many other MPs transferred there, but thinks little of it.
On January 1, 1990 just past midnight, Reacher, as the MP duty officer doing graveyard receives a call that a two-star General Officer on his way to a conference was found murdered in a run down motel while apparently having sex with someone other than his spouse. Not long afterward, the general's wife is killed. Two more people also die. Reacher investigates the homicides ignoring the brass that tries to persuade him to stop. He believes the link is the conference if he can only find a copy of the agenda before his superiors charge him with insubordination or the killer targets him next.
The backdrop of the fall of the Berlin Wall and expected force reduction of military personal with the end of the Reagan era contrast with the news that the hero's mother is dying from cancer in Paris; together they provide a deep backdrop to the tale. Though still a loner, Reacher willingly takes on the service to uncover the identity of the killer. That personality trait is superb when he is an independent operator, but seems more like misconduct and insubordination within the Army chain of command, which does not allow for independent aces seeking justice outside the military. Yet his lone ranger investigation also meets the values expected of a soldier. Reacher is a five star general.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner