Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lee Child: Nothing to Lose

I first met Jack Reacher in Lee Child’s One Shot. He is quite a character, so I’ve joined him for several more of his escapades. The latest one is in Nothing to Lose.

Jack Reacher is an ex-major in the Army Military Police. But he has dramatically simplified his life. He has no encumbrances, no home, no luggage, no vehicle. But he does have an ATM card that seems able to take care of most of his needs. (I probably need to read the first Jack Reacher novel to find out more about his bank account.) He does no laundry. He buys clothes, wears them three of four days, throws them away and buys more. He keeps no schedule.

As Nothing to Lose opens, Reacher is traveling from Calais, Maine to San Diego, California. He has no particular reason to do so. It just occurred to him that since Calais was the last major town in the Northeast, he might as well go to San Diego because it was the last major town in the Southwest. Depending on what was available, he traveled by bus, hitch hike, or walk. He had caught a ride that left him in Hope, Colorado. He set off on foot to Despair, Colorado simply because it was generally in the correct direction, and he was intrigued by the contrasting names.

When Reacher goes into Despair’s only restaurant, he is surprised that no one will serve him. Instead four men come in to make him leave the restaurant, and the town. As Reacher is prepared to take on the four guys – well actually only the three left standing after his initial move – the police arrive. Rather than rescuing him from his would be assaulters, the cop arrests him. Ultimately they send him back to Hope. But Reacher is a stubborn man, and his route runs west through Despair, so the story is on.

Reacher finds an ally in Officer Vaughn of the Hope Police Department. She has some mysteries in her past that come out as the tale unfolds.

Reacher finds an enemy in Jerry Thurman of Despair. He owns the largest metal recycling plant in Colorado, owns every building in Despair, and is the lay preacher of the only church in Despair. He owns the town, and he doesn’t like strangers poking around.

Obviously something is going on, in fact there are several threads of secret things going on. Reacher leads us to an understanding, and resolution, or all of it.

Lee Child’s Nothing to Lose may not be the most intellectually stimulating book around. But it sure is fun!

No comments: