I’d give the first half of the book 4 stars, maybe even slightly higher. I simply couldn’t deal with the violence of the second half. It overshadowed the (interesting) plot, so that I couldn’t really appreciate it.
Summary via Goodreads.com:
Welcome to Margrave, Georgia—but don’t get too attached to the townsfolk, who are either in on a giant conspiracy, or hurtling toward violent deaths, or both.
There’s not much of a welcome for Jack Reacher, a casualty of the Army’s peace dividend who’s drifted into town idly looking for traces of a long dead black jazzman. Not only do the local cops arrest him for murder, but the chief of police turns eyewitness to place him on the scene, even though Reacher was getting on a bus in Tampa at the time. Two surprises follow: The murdered man wasn’t the only victim, and he was Reacher’s brother whom he hadn’t seen in seven years. So Reacher, who so far hasn’t had anything personal against the crooks who set him up for a weekend in the state pen at Warburton, clicks into overdrive.
Banking on the help of the only two people in Margrave he can trust—a Harvard-educated chief of detectives who hasn’t been on the job long enough to be on the take, and a smart, scrappy officer who’s taken him to her bed— he sets out methodically in his brother’s footsteps, trying to figure out why his cellmate in Warburton, a panicky banker whose cell-phone number turned up in Joe’s shoe, confessed to a murder he obviously didn’t commit; trying to figure out why all the out-of-towners on Joe’s list of recent contacts were as dead as he was; and trying to stop the local carnage or at least direct it in more positive ways.
I knew going in that this is a thriller rather than a mystery, and that Jack Reacher is known for his being a seriously kick-ass kind of guy. I haven’t really read this genre before, and started out with a fairly open mind as to how it was going to work for me.
I expected that there would be lots and lots of action, a relatively minimal plot, and not much in the way of character development. This describes the second half of the book perfectly. The first half had much more plot and less action than I expected. Characters met my expectations.
I quite liked the look into the world of counterfeiting. The setup was fairly involved and well supported.
In the first half, Reacher was shown to be a kick-ass guy, and indeed several asses were kicked. Only a few of these asses ended up dead, and the ratio of plot to people killed by the good guys remained within my tolerance.
In the second half, there were many more bad guys that evidently needed killing, and Reacher wasn’t too bothered by needing to oblige. The plot continued to move along, but this movement was bogged down for me by the bodies and general mayhem.
I actually think this was a well executed example of the genre, but the genre probably won’t ever be a favorite of mine.
Production: No issues here.
Audio or print? Maybe I’d do better with print where I can skim over sections that don’t interest me. I think this is a personal decision. If you want an action filled listen, I think this might well be for you.