Past Tense

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Another Jack Reacher book from Lee Child, and it's wonderful fun as usual.

Jack is on the Maine coast, looking to turn south for the winter. He decides to hitchhike across New Hampshire, and a quick series of events puts him at an intersection where he's forced to decide: toward Laconia, or Portsmouth? Hey, his deceased father grew up in Laconia! Or at least said he did. Why not check to see if the old family homestead is still around? Maybe some relatives?

Now, if you or I did that, we might uneventfully discover whatever facts that could be gleaned from local records. It's Reacher, though. So he rather rapidly runs afoul of a local junior thug menacing a young lady, which causes a retaliatory response from senior thugs from Boston. And (separately) he also irks the owners of an apple orchard. All this in addition to finding out some strange stories from his father's past.

And, in a separate thread, a couple of young adults from New Brunswick with a mysterious heavy suitcase are travelling down to New York in an aging Honda Civic on the verge of a total breakdown. So they have to stop, and take refuge in a local out-of-the-way motel. Which turns out to be a bad mistake, as things turn very creepy very quickly.

And eventually, Reacher shows up for them too. And we find out what's in the suitcase, but don't expect that revelation quickly.

Maybe more fun than usual for New Hampshire residents, most of whom (trust me) have no idea of the kind of nefarious activities going on in their state. Research note: the ghost town of "Ryantown" Reacher explores seems to be an Child invention, but it's a pretty good one. Reacher also visits the Laconia Public Library; based on Google Street View, there might be some license taken there as well, but not a lot.