Lee Child steps back into Jack Reacher's early history to tell this story.
It's 1997 and Reacher is still in the military. He's a major in the military police and goes where he's ordered.
He's sent to Carter Crossing, Mississippi, to be undercover and monitor the official investigation of a woman who was murdered. The crime was comitted outside Ft. Kelham, a U.S. Ranger base where there is a top secret operation under way. Randers are being sent to Kosovo and Reacher is ordered to observe the investigation but avoid publicity.
Reacher arrives and meets the sheriff, the attractive Elizabeth Devereaux who is attempting to investigate the murder of the young woman in question, who is white, but also investigate the murder of two black women. All of the women were very attractive but only the white woman's death stiffed up any concern in Mississippi.
Devereaux is hampered in running a complete investigation because her official powers stop at Ft. Kelham's gate. Reacher sympathises with her position and as he gets to know her, he finds she is the daughter of the former sheriff and was a former military police member. She and Reacher agree to work together and develop a romantic relationship.
The plot moves rapidly with built-in humor as Reacher tries to search for answers and deals with a group of local hillbillies.
The pacing is well done as there are moments of tension thaqt are spaced with the relationship of Reacher and Devereaux. We are also interested in the attempt of the military who want to whitewash the investigation for politicial reasons with Reacher's refusal to bend to the attempted cover-up.
"The Affair," is another well written novel by Lee Child, a master storyteller.
4.5 stars moving up to 5.
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