Jack Reacher is doing a little research into his family history. The journey takes him to Laconia, New Hampshire, the town where his Marine father grew up.
At the same time, Patty Sundstrom and her not-very-bright boyfriend Shorty Fleck escape their boring lives in Canada in a worn-out Honda Civic heading for New York City with nothing more than a plan and a big heavy suitcase. When the car overheats in New Hampshire, they see a make-shift sign for a motel and follow the road through a tunnel, then into gloomy woods, and eventually pull up to a fixed-up old roadside motel which is unoccupied but for the owners. The next morning, their car mysteriously will not start.
In Laconia, Reacher finds trouble as Reacher tends to do. He interrupts an assault and puts the bully in a hospital. Unfortunately, the bully is connected with Boston mobsters so the local police try their best to shoo Reacher out of town before retribution rains down. Jack, always just a guy trying to get along, promises to leave. Several times.
Meanwhile back at the motel, the innkeepers are becoming creepier and creepier. Patty and Shorty attempt various plots to escape, but they are thwarted at every juncture. And then, the other guests start showing up.
The two stories intersect in a glorious and elegant battle between good and evil.
For me, Patty and Shorty’s story was uncomfortably reminiscent of the Bates motel and I found myself wanting to reach through the pages and shake some sense into the characters shouting: “Have you never seen a Hitchcock movie?” The release of tension was welcomed when we return to Reacher’s journey into his father’s past. It almost feels cozy to follow the footsteps of the giant with a hair-trigger temper. In the end, I enjoyed the book very much.
Mysteritas: do you read thrillers? What do you like about them?