This story portrays the efforts of an ex-Military Policeman named Jack Reacher to reconnect with a love lost and uncovering the secret of a maimed war criminal become corporate loan shark who has placed geographically strategic "tripwires" to alert him of nosy people getting too close. Jack Reacher is a six-foot-six ex-Military Policeman with blond hair and blue eyes who travels the United States living off of his savings and solving murder cases outside the law.
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The story begins with Reacher arriving in Key West with his pockets turned out. Living out of a motel, he labors digging swimming pools during the day and bouncing for a nude strip club at night.
He is content there, and even begins eyeballing a waitress, but a sudden visit from a private detective, named Jack Costello with his name shows up to his place of work asking for him for a client called Mrs. Jacob, a name unfamiliar to Reacher: a rare thing for a ghost who has no credit cards or phone and always takes buses and pays with cash in motels under false names.
Two suspicious men come around Reacher's bouncing job asking about him, but he turns them away with lies and tries to follow them, only to find Jack Costello murdered in the street. This prompts Reacher to use his hard-earned cash to fly to New York to locate the mysterious Mrs. Jacob and how she knew his name.
Reacher finds Costello's office ransacked but is able to track down Mrs. Jacob, who turns out to be Jodie Garber-Jacob, divorced daughter at her fathers funeral who also happens to be Jack Reachers C.O. and mentor from the Army, Leon Garber. The last time that Jodie and Jack met there had been serious sexual tension, despite Jodie only being 15 at the time.
Together, they delve into Costello's last case about a soldier MIA named Victor Hobie. They discover that the elderly parents of Hobie had lost their savings to a man named Rutter who offers fake evidence of life to parents of MIA soldiers. Reacher coerces Rutter to refund the parents.
After visiting a Personnel Records center in St. Louis that specializes in forensically identifying soldiers, reacher determines that Hobie, a pilot in the Vietnam War, was in a helicopter sent to arrest a man named Carl Allen for fragging his C.O. that crashed, and that Hobie was actually Allen, who had switched the dog tags in order to breed confusion during his escape. Suffering burns all over his body and having his arm lopped off below the elbow by a broken helicopter blade, he becomes "Hook Hobie" and escapes back to the United States.
Before and after the war, Hobie/Allen was a loan shark that lived off of making illegal deals in the army and later in corporate America. The reason he doesn't cut and run after Reacher sets off his tripwires is because he is in the process of a multi-million dollar takeover of a Jodie Garber-Jacob legal client Chester and Marilyn Stone, whom he kidnaps and extorts to force them to give him all the shares to his company. Jodie and two police officers soon join the captive in Hobie's office as he desperately tries to force the deal through so he can cash out and leave the country.
Reacher kicks in the door, but after negotiation and revealing Hobie to the captives as Carl Allen and a war criminal, he suffers a bullet to the chest. He manages to defeat and kill Hobie, and saves the Captives.
Jodie, who has slept with and lived with Reacher throughout the story visits him in the hospital where a doctor explains that the physical labor hardened Reacher's pectoral muscle enough to stop the bullet. Hobie's parents visit Reacher in the Hospital to thank him for getting their savings back and clearing their son's name.
Best part of story, including ending:
I really like the story because it is the perfect trifecta between Action/Adventure, Romance, and Mystery, where Jack Reacher is a force of good while living outside of society and using unconventional as well as army-given skills to solve all of his problems.
Best scene in story:
When Jack reacher explains to Hobie all that he has deduced while simultaneously saving the captives and himself is a time when Lee's true skill as a fiction writer is readily apparent because I feel like I watched the scene happen.
Opinion about the main character:
I like Jack Reacher because he his a huge human standing at six and a half feet and two-hundred and fifty pounds of army trained muscle but he is also excellent with the ladies and mastermind when it comes to solving puzzles.