This is pure, unadulterated, escapist fiction. The plot is implausible with huge gaps. The women are all beautiful and the bad guys are all huge and ugly. The main character is virtually indestructible, smarter than all of his foes, and quick with the quip. But I do not apologize…because I’m traveling.

That’s right, I’m spending a long weekend out of town. When I travel, I bring along trash fiction in paperback form because it’s easy to carry. When I’m done, I just leave it wherever. In fact, I keep a backlog of paperbacks for travel and just grab one or two on the way out the door. I definitely don’t want to haul around a hardcover and I don’t like reading anything too intense on a trip. If it’s a business trip, I usually work longer hours and I’m not going back to the hotel and reading something that takes concentration. If it’s pleasure, heck, the beach and trash fiction were made for each other.

This is Child’s seventh book and I’ve read them all, in order. The main character in each book is a guy named Jack Reacher. Reacher was an MP in the army for 10-15 years before he got laid-off in the armed forces reduction-in-force that took place in the 1990’s. He doesn’t have any family left and, since he grew up as a military kid, he doesn’t even have a hometown. He took his severance package and his life savings and socked them away in a bank account and now he just sort of knocks around the mainland. He carries no credit cards, has no car, and has no permanent mailing address. If he needs money, he has his bank wire some cash to Western Union or something. Hey, I told you it was implausible.

Let me make this proclamation though: Jack Reacher is the toughest dude in the history of fiction. I’m talking books, film, or TV, excluding sci-fi and fantasy of course. Let me show you my latest ranking of the toughest dudes not endowed with any sort of super powers:

  1. Jack Reacher
  2. Walker, Texas Ranger
  3. Jason Bourne
  4. John Rambo
  5. Dirk Pitt

If you want to debate it, just throw some other candidates at me and I will shoot them down. Once I start regaling you with Jack Reacher stories you will understand.

In this edition, Reacher gets yanked into helping a DEA agent who is trying to bust some bad guys. The DEA agent is a woman, and of course, she’s beautiful. She finds Reacher because he had an old army contact run the plate of a car that Reacher saw a former nemesis enter. This plate popped up on some DEA watch list or something because it’s owned by a bad man. So, coincidentally, the DEA contacts Reacher to help them bust this very same guy. Reacher cannot resist. He, of course, puts himself into dangerous situations despite pleas from his colleagues to get out. Along the way he kills a bunch of dudes and makes the women swoon.

Not much else I can say. I had a good time while I was reading it.