Featured Review: ‘Blue Moon’ by Lee Child

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After another stop in a small town in the middle of nowhere, Jack Reacher ones again finds himself surrounded by danger . . . and sets out to protect the innocent people caught up in a deadly turf war between rival gangs. 

For Reacher, the trouble started on a Greyhound bus when he noticed an elderly man named Aaron Shevick carrying a thick envelop flush with cash. Realizing he’s an obvious target, Reacher stays close to the man, and eventually thwarts a mugging attempt before escorting Mr. Shevick home. There, Reacher learns that Aaron and his wife are in deep with a loan shark who lent them money, and now wants it back. With interest. A lot of interest.

Moved, in part, by the reason for their actions—the Shevicks borrowed the money to help pay for their fifty-something-year-old daughter’s medical bills following an expensive treatment that saved her life—Reacher decides to help them out. Posing as Aaron Shevick, he heads to the dive bar where the loan shark, Fisnik, is waiting for his money. Claiming to be Aaron, Reacher intends to square away the couple’s debt but instead finds himself face-to-face with one of Fisnik’s Ukranian gang bangers.

Things go about the way they typically do whenever Reacher strolls into town and is met by trouble—he throws the bad guys a beating, then uncovers a bigger problem lurking in the shadows. This time, it involves a bloody war between rival Ukrainian and Albanian gangs, and Reacher goes full wrecking-ball mode in hopes of protecting the innocent people who are inadvertently caught up in the middle of it all . . . 

Lee Child has finally shaken up the formulaic approach that he’s used so many times over the course of twenty-three previous books. While the setup might sound familiar—Reacher stops in a little town with big problems—and parts of it have shades of Killing Floor sewn in there, Child’s latest is far more action-packed than anything else he’s written this decade. Normally, any slow-moving parts of a Reacher story are dedicated to fleshing out characters and establishing the conflict. But here, Child ramps things up much quicker, and instead of down moments to develop the cast, the pages are filled with gunfights, explosions, and justice-seeking violence. 

That, of course, is not to say that the characters are thin, as they are decidedly not. The elderly couple early on is relatable and readers will no doubt feel sympathetic to their predicament. Likewise, Reacher’s love interest is a scene-stealer, and for the first time in a while (ever?) longtime fans might actually find themselves wishing he’d settle down a bit and enter a serious relationship. Also, whereas recent entries have been a tad lighter in tone, that isn’t the case here. There’s more violence in this one than any other Reacher book I can recall, and it’s all done so, so well. All in all, this is Lee Child at his best, and one of his darkest novels to date. 

If you thought Jack Reacher was scary before, just wait until you see him after he’s cut loose here. More killing. More action. More everything . . . Blue Moon is Lee Child at his very best.

Book Details

Author: Lee Child 
Series: Jack Reacher #24
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0399593543
Publisher: Delacorte Press 
Release Date: October 29, 2019
Book Spy Rating: 9.0/10

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Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

 

 

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