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30 August 2015

Lee Child: Make Me

The old Jack Reacher formula
This is #20 in the Jack Reacher series and this time Lee Child has gone back to basics and used the very successful formula where Jack Reacher (ex military) roams the US aimlessly and finds trouble most places he goes.

Reacher is fascinated to find out why a very small town in remote prairie region of Oklahoma is named "Mother's Rest". Maybe it tells a tale of pioneer times when the wagon trains travelled this part of the prairie. The small town is basically centred around some huge wheat silos that cater for thousands of acres of wheat for miles around the town. The other main feature is a rail line with a train at 7am and 7pm each day.

When Reacher steps off the evening train he spots a trim Asian woman, Michelle Chan, apparently waiting for someone who might have been on the train. He soon learns that Michelle is ex FBI working with a security company and her colleague from Oklahoma City appears to have disappeared during an investigation involving Mother's Rest. They soon gain a rapport with one another and as he has nothing else to do before heading for Chicago before it gets too cold Reacher teams up with Chan to help her find her friend.

Walking away would have been easier as Mother's Rest is a strange place which doesn't make either of them very welcome. Reacher knows something is wrong when the General Store refuses to sell him a change of clothing and the Motel tells him they don't have a room for the next night as they are full - but they are not. Slowly but surely they start to piece together a very dark situation which turns into a nightmare.

In the last two Reacher adventures Lee Child has tried to make them different. "Never Go Back" had Reacher involved with his old military career and "Personal" had him helping the State Department track down a sniper who has a personal grudge against Reacher. This time it is back to the basic Reacher formula in a story that, while some of it is very up to the minute, is very similar in plot and formula to many other books in the series. No doubt this book will please many of Child's readers who lap up any new Reacher adventures but I found most of it a bit deja vu.

PS I have been able to write this review now because the book has been published in Australia nearly two weeks ahead of the US release, presumably so the book is available in time for Aussie Father's day on 7 September.

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