Blue Moon

There have been twenty four Jack Reacher books. Amazingly, I’m still not bored. Amazing because I have a fairly low tolerance for this kind of character-based series and usually give up after three or four.

In Blue Moon, Jack Reacher gets himself in the middle of a territorial war between two organized crime gangs on behalf of an elderly couple who are in debt paying for their daughter’s medical bills. The daughter has cancer and was screwed out of her insurance by her feckless entrepreneur boss who ran off with millions and left his employees with nothing.

Blue Moon is darker than previous Jack Reacher books, with a level of violence and a body count some way in excess of the norm. Other reviewers on Goodreads have said that the plot is inspired by Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest, a plot that’s been used many times over, most notably in A Fistful of Dollars. Which maybe drives the perceived change in Reacher’s character, but I think there’s something else going on which gives a bit more credit to Lee Child. In the last installment, Past Tense (which I read last year but didn’t review), Reacher went back to the town his father was from and decides to research his family history. He discovers his father, who he thought was called Stan, was William Reacher, who stole the identity of his cousin Stan Reacher and joined the marines after beating someone to death. Everything Jack Reacher thought he knew about who his father was is called into question. The style of the Reacher books doesn’t allow for a lot of internal monologue and the character of Jack Reacher is one given more to action than emotional processing. It makes sense to me that the next Reacher adventure might see him in a darker place: less all-American hero saving the little people from bad guys and more using violence as an expression of his emotional state. I’m interested to see where it goes in book twenty five.

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