The Sentinel by Lee and Andrew Child 2020

Well, I’ve failed again.  Having now on at least two occasions pledged to read no more Jack Reacher novels, here I’ve done it again.  It’s the same biochemical mechanism that keeps us coming back to potato chips, coffee crunch ice cream, and single malt Scotch even though we know they are fattening, harmful to one’s health, and of no social value (well, that might not apply to the Scotch?).  The books are just plain fun and gripping despite an increasing tendency towards weird violence and sadistic killers.

At any rate, the plot is so familiar, it almost doesn’t bear repeating but here it goes again.  Reacher hitchhiking from Nashville gets dropped off in Pleasantville, a town which appears perfectly peaceful (one traffic light which isn’t working) but is in the midst of a computer failure and an international intrigue.  Who would have guessed that just having a cup of coffee and two cheeseburgers would result in Reacher breaking up an attempted kidnapping and finding himself repeatedly confronting Russian agents, plotting with undercover FBI agents, and being the best hope to safeguard our elections and save democracy as we used to know it.  All after just a ride to Pleasantville!  The book is as predictable as the other 23 Jack Reacher thrillers with one twist—Reacher doesn’t sleep with one of the beautiful women he encounters.  Maybe he’s getting old?

It’s silly but totally engaging and I whipped through these 345 pages in less than 3 days–another testament to Child’s (in this case Childs’) skill and reliable mold.  Joined by his brother for the first time, the two Child boys have written another guilty pleasure.