When a bus full of seniors spins out of control, the obvious recourse is to reach out for Reacher (Gone Tomorrow, 2009, etc.).
On its way to Mt. Rushmore, a bus carrying a load of elderly tourists, plus a ringer, loses to a patch of ice. Reacher’s the ringer. Some 30 years younger than the average age of his fellow passengers, he’s among them by happenstance, a kind of hitchhiker. Reacher—that inveterate nomad, indefatigable Rambo and Galahad for all seasons—finds himself once more in the midst of an authentic mess. Banged up and inoperable, the bus has come to rest in Bolton, S.D., a town buried in snow and heaps of trouble. There’s the biker gang living on its outskirts, making crystal meth. There’s a repellent figure named Plato, a racketeering lowlife, whose philosophy is kill everything on the theory that if it lives, whatever it is, it might at some point have a negative Platonic effect. And then there’s grandmotherly Janet Salter. Sweet, smart, elegant and pound for pound as brave as Reacher, she’s a retired librarian, from Oxford’s Bodleian, no less. She’s also a witness to a grisly murder. Desperate to keep her alive, the Bolton PD has begun to think it might not be able to. Andrew Peterson, the department’s deputy chief, wants to ask Reacher for help. And when his reluctant boss asks why, he says, “I think he’s the sort of guy who sees things five seconds before the rest of the world.” Well, he’s right about that, of course, but even Reacher will be shaken by some of what he sees before exiting Bolton en route to Nowhere, his country of choice.
In his 14th outing, implausible, irresistible Reacher remains just about the best butt-kicker in thriller-lit.