On his way to the West Coast, Jack Reacher takes a detour to New Hampshire to check out some family history in the 23rd book in Child's (The Midnight Line, 2017, etc.) series.
Laconia, New Hampshire, is the setting for the latest showcase for Reacher's unconscious talent for stirring up the latent murderous violence in any bucolic setting he chooses to enter. In this case, the hubbub comes in the form of a local mob family after Reacher unleashes his own form of discipline on a younger member of the clan when the beardless thug attempts to assault a waitress. Paid muscle is soon on the way north from Boston, but both Reacher and his constant readers know that kind of goon is never a match for him. And so Reacher and reader are free to ponder the puzzling story about our hero's past. It seems that there is no official record of Reacher's dad, who grew up in Laconia, but there is evidence to suggest he may have played a hand in the murder of a sociopath terrorizing the town in his day. All of this is intercut with the ordeal of a young Canadian couple driving south to New York to score some money by selling the goods they've got hidden away in a suitcase. Their car breaks down just outside a remote motel that, they gradually discover, is not as welcoming as it seems. It doesn't take long to figure out what's waiting for them there, though it takes a bit too long for Reacher's story to join theirs. Nevertheless, the tone doesn't go blooey here, as it has in some of the recent series entries, and the way everything winds up for all the participants shows a satisfying generosity of storytelling spirit.
The Reacher series gets back on its rough and rocky track with this latest companionable entry.