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Wednesday, September 16, 2015


This 20th book featuring former U.S. military police guy Jack Reacher puts him smack dab in the middle of nowhere - a tiny place with the strange name of "Mother's Rest" that is surrounded by endless fields of wheat. Since he's been wandering around aimlessly for a while, stopping wherever and whenever the mood strikes, he figures finding out how the town got its name is reason enough to get off the train and squat for a bit. Almost immediately, he spies Michelle Chang, who turns out to be a former FBI agent who's now a private investigator looking for her missing partner. This godforsaken place, she says, is her partner's last known destination.

Lacking anything better to do, curiosity about what happened to the partner (and the town's name) prompts Reacher to agree to help. They manage to learn that the partner booked a room at the local motel, but he's not there or anywhere else they look. And instead of being the helpful denizens that are common in small communities, the rather odd townsfolk are almost hostile - giving Reacher and Chang grief over everything from buying new pants to paying for a hotel rooms of their own even though vacancies are plentiful. Clearly, they conclude, something's not right here.

More sleuthing leads the pair to another man who's looking for a missing relative and a newspaper reporter and, as the search widens, possible (and very dark) connections begin to unfold that take Chang and Reacher out of Mother's Rest to places like Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, Phoenix and Chicago. All roads lead to Mother's Rest, though, where they must return to bring the whole thing to conclusion. In between all the travels are ventures deep into the Dark Web (technology plays a major role here even though Reacher considers anything beyond a basic cell phone beyond his comprehension and interest).  And not surprisingly, lots of folks turn up dead - and ferreting out the truth tests Reacher's mental and physical limits to the max. 

Accordingly, there's plenty of literal blood and guts (not that there's anything wrong with that in my mind, but forewarned is forearmed). An unexpected twist at the end is especially gory, but - given the rest of the story - it comes as a fitting conclusion. In fact, when I finished the last page, the line from Walter Scott's epic poem Marmion immediately came to mind: "Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive!"

The book is easy to read with short, almost jab-you-in-the-ribs sentences (many are non-sentences, BTW - which always takes some getting used to by a grammar freak like me - but the book is good enough that I was able to overcome that concern early on. Which beings me to another conclusion. I wish I had a quarter for every sentence that started with "Which"...

Make Me by Lee Child (Delacorte Press, September 2015); 416 pp.

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