Ever wandering the country with nothing but a toothbrush and a debit card to his name, Jack Reacher lands in a small town just outside Pleasantville, Tennessee to kick off the latest offering from Lee Child.
Searching for a hot meal, Reacher finds his way into a small bar with live music and settles in hoping for some coffee and a burger. To his surprise, the bar offers neither. On the flip side, the live music isn’t half-bad, and as it turns out, the musicians could use his help after getting stiffed by the owner before one band member saw his guitar destroyed by a hulk-sized bouncer.
After handling things in a way that only someone like Reacher can, Jack is ready to board another bus and get the heck out of Pleasantville, which never quite lived up to it’s inviting name. That’s when he meets IT manager Rusty Rutherford, who is wandering into an ambush that Reacher sees coming a mile away. Rationalizing that the four-on-one fight is unfair to Rusty, especially given the fact that the IT man has no clue what’s about to happen, Reacher intervenes.
Following a series of bone-crushing events, Rutherford thanks Reacher before explaining that he was recently fired for a cyber-attack that locked up the town’s data, records, and information. Swearing he’s innocent, Rusty tells Reacher he wants to stay, fight, and clear his name. Intrigued, Reacher decides to lend a hand, and as the story unfolds, Reacher finds a massive conspiracy lurking in the small town. Lucky for Rusty, that’s his specialty, and soon Reacher sets out to reveal town secrets, expose the bad guys, and stop a dangerous cover-up before it’s too late . . .
Jack Reacher rides a bus to a small town, gets outs, goes looking for a solid cup of coffee, and almost immediately finds some trouble. If you think you’ve read that story before, think again.
Though recent books might have become a tad formulaic, Child’s latest thriller is the freshest, most original Jack Reacher novel in years, which could have something to do with Andrew Child (real name Andrew Grant), coming on to co-author for the first time. Either way, this entry—the 25th in Child’s series—packs a six-foot-five punch and takes readers on a wild, thoroughly entertaining ride.
Whereas Reacher might have felt more like John Wick in the last book than the lovable nomad fans have come to know and appreciate over the last two decades, Child has found a terrific balance here. While still a stone-cold badass, the Reacher this time around better resembles the Reacher from earlier books—a hero with a controlled rage bottled up in the form of a sledgehammer. It works for all the right reasons, capitalizing on his size and intensity, reminding readers once again why Reacher is one of the best characters to ever wander around the thriller genre.
Fresh, perfectly plotted, and packed with action, The Sentinal is one of the year’s beat, must-read thrillers . . . and proves that this series is primed to continue on at the highest level for many years to come.
Author: Lee Child and Andrew Chid
Series: Jack Reacher #25
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: October 27, 2020
Real Book Spy Rating: 9.0/10
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.