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BOOK REVIEW: NOTHING TO LOSE
BY LEE CHILD

We hope you enjoy this book review by Caryn St. Clair.

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It all started because Jack Reacher was intrigued with the names, Hope and Despair. Two towns, just a stone's throw from one another, that just happened to be more or less on Reacher's chosen cross country route. Reacher spent the night in Hope, ate in the diner and generally found the town to live up to it's name. Normally he would have headed south out of town the next morning, but Reacher was fascinated with Despair's name and decided to head west for another day. What Reacher encountered when he arrived was far from what he expected. Instead of the warm friendly welcome he received in Hope, in Despair not only would no one talk to him, he soon found himself arrested on a vagrancy charge, escorted back to Hope and told never to return. Hope's Sheriff Vaughn was waiting for Reacher when he was dumped across the Hope/Despair town line. From Vaughn Reacher learns that Despair is a one company town. That company, the state's largest recycling plant, owns everything and everyone in Despair. As Reacher found out, outsiders are not welcome.

Fans of Jack Reacher know what happens next. No one tells Reacher to stay away. To warn off Reacher is akin to waving a red banner in front of a bull. Of coarse Reacher is going back to Despair, the question is when. Waiting until after midnight, Reacher goes back to Despair, circling the town with military precision. On this first trip back, Reacher, ever the observer, sees some things that just don't seem to fit with a recycling business. There are a number of vehicles with out of state license plates. There is at least one plane that flies out late at night and returns at dawn. There are military type police surrounding the plant. Why? On top of that, Reacher finds the dead body of a young man on his way back to Hope.

This book has a slightly different formula than the rest of the series,. Generally, Reacher is sent for or called in by one of his old military buddies to solve a problem. In Nothing to Lose, no one has sent for him and he's not doing any old friend or colleague a favor. Reacher's involvement in Despair is purely accidental. As per standard Reacher, he does become involved with some people's problems-the people missing from Despair and Vaughn issues, but all of that comes after Reacher has committed himself to figuring out what is happening in Despair.

I personally like Reacher this way, as a loner, best. The last couple of books in the series have drawn heavily on his past life, but I'm happy to have him back to traveling alone with no baggage. While each of the Reacher books can be read alone without “knowing” the series, I think people unfamiliar with Jack Reacher would be happier if they read at least the first book in the series prior to reading Nothing to Lose.

REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, CARYN ST. CLAIR


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