Relentless pacing, big action sequences, and a masterfully plotted adventure that sets the beloved drifter on a collision course with another powerful antagonist make the 27th Jack Reacher novel (the third book co-authored by brothers Lee and Andrew Child) one of the best books in the series to date.
Following the events of Better off Dead (2021), Jack Reacher takes a bus to Gerrardsville, Colorado where he’s looking forward to exploring the small town. Instead, he witnesses a murder.
The crime goes down when Reacher, waiting to cross the street, spots a man trailing a woman on the opposite side of the road. Nobody else seems to notice what’s about to happen, but just as a bus comes around the corner, Reacher’s fear plays out before him when the man trips the woman—sending her crashing head-first into the pavement, right in front of the moving vehicle. Her death was both quick and gruesome. But that was just the start of a string of events that will soon lead Reacher, always one to right someone else’s wrongs, down yet another dark, twisting, justice-seeking path.
Days later, in Minerva, Mississippi, a group of men meets inside a secure prison facility to discuss whether or not a potential witness to the murder of Angela St. Vrain could mean trouble for them and their illegal sources of income. Unfortunately for them, that witness is Reacher, and as two of the men already know—after finding themselves on the wrong end of a back-alley encounter with the six-foot-five former military police officer—trouble is about to come their way. The question is, how much does the man know about their shady operation, and what, if anything, can he do about it?
Reacher, meanwhile, is told by police—who believe the woman’s death to be a suicide—to stand down. Those words, however, aren’t part of Reacher’s vocabulary, and as he makes his way to Mississippi, hellbent on making sure the murderer pays for what he’s done, he’ll stop at nothing to see the job through. What he doesn’t know, though, is that yet another small town with big secrets is waiting for him, and this time, he might just be in over his head.
Though longtime fans will definitely love this book, No Plan B seems especially well-suited for newcomers to the series (more specifically those who come to the books by way of the Amazon-produced television series Reacher, starring Alan Ritchson) who might be intimidated by the twenty-six story backlist. Rest assured, you can absolutely jump in here, even if this is your first Reacher experience, without missing a beat. One of the reasons for that is because No Plan B feels very similar, in some ways, to Lee Child’s first Reacher novel, The Killing Floor. A throwback of sorts, Reacher again finds himself in a small southern town with dark secrets, taking on another dangerous conspiracy involving a ring of players who don’t want their illegal sources of income exposed, and will do whatever it takes to keep their secrets in the shadows. Thing is, Reacher has never hesitated to get down into the shadows himself, meeting the boogeyman head-on, and fans hoping for lots of action can rest assured—Reacher does his thing early and often here.
Beyond the main plot and bone-crunching action, Lee and Andrew Child also mix in a couple of side plots too. One involves a young boy who runs away from his foster home in California in search of his biological father in the wake of his mother’s death, whereas the other follows a man’s father who seeks revenge for the death of his son. Eventually, all those storylines seem to merge, leading to a blistering final act that will leave readers breathless and begging for more.
Whatever you’re looking for in a thriller, you can find it here. No Plan B isn’t just the best Jack Reacher novels in recent memory, it’s one of the best books of the year. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this one.
Author: Lee Child & Andrew Child
Series: Jack Reacher # 27
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: October 25, 2022
Real Book Spy Rating: 8.75/10
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 co-hosts the ThrillerTalk podcast when he’s not streaming and hanging out with his growing community on Twitch. His debut thriller, FIELDS OF FIRE, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr says “will leave you speechless and begging for more,” comes out on September 6, 2022. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook.