Anyone unfamiliar with Jack Reacher is in for a treat, this one-man army currently trekking across the country, west and south, "from the Atlantic to the Pacific, cool and damp to hot and dry". This journey takes Jack into unexpectedly hostile territory, literally from Hope to Despair, a company town of rigorous security and at the center a wealthy, powerful uber-religious man's lucrative recycling enterprise. Stepping into the only diner in town, not only doesn't Jack get served, he is arrested- after taking out a few burly but surprised opponents. After a night courtesy of the DPD, Reacher is hustled back to the boundaries of Hope, where he makes the acquaintance of Vaughn, a member of Hope's police department who is both curious and skeptical about this enigmatic stranger. Jack had every intention of passing through Despair, but after a taste of its inhospitality, he wants to know what exactly is going on in this middle-of-nowhere place.
Tell Jack to do something and he will do exactly the opposite, soon to become a considerable aggravation to Despair's authorities. Vaughn is also curious about some recent activities in the neighboring town and more than a little willing to assist Jack in his quest to uncover the nature of the bustling commerce so carefully shielded from prying eyes. In return, Reacher offers Vaughn some well-deserved support in a personal dilemma that has shattered her dreams for the future. In fine form, Child builds a frightening house of cards erected by three separate agendas, but all balancing on one horrific possibility. Returning to Despair night after night to confirm his suspicions, Reacher's problem is to subvert the most heinous plot without bringing down the entire structure to the detriment of the residents of a town that exhibits extraordinary loyalty to its employer.
Child delivers with the usual one-two punch of crisp dialog, ill-equipped actors and the unchecked arrogance of power, digging deep into the assorted bag of fears that currently plague this country, tossing out a handful of issues for consideration, each of which is daunting on its own merits. The iconoclast never actively looks for trouble, reasonable to the extreme when confronted with options other than violence; he offers his opponents the same free choice he exercises. Trusting his logic as well as his impressive physical skills, Jack Reacher, a man with nothing to lose, puts it all on the line in a harrowing conclusion of good vs. evil, an epic struggle that is merely an appetizer for a protagonist with an appetite for action. Luan Gaines/ 2008.
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