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by Lee Child
Delacorte Press, October 2019
368 pages
ISBN: 0399593543

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

BLUE MOON is Lee Child's latest Jack Reacher thriller. It begins quite quietly and simply, as have many of the previous Reacher adventures, but, like these others, does not stay that way for long.

Reacher is on a Greyhound bus, one of his favorite ways to travel. As usual, he has no exact destination, only trying to stay away from any place that requires winter clothes. He notices an older man who has fallen asleep with a bulging bank envelope sticking out of his pocket. Reacher also notices a young man who notices the money and is acting suspiciously. At a stop in some unnamed rural town, the old guy and the young man both disembark, and Reacher follows to prevent a mugging. He foils the robbery, but then feels compelled to help the now-hobbling man walk home. By doing this, he learns the reason that the man, Aaron Shevick, has the money—that he is in debt to loan sharks and must pay back thousands by the end of the day. Shevick borrowed money from them because his daughter Meg is struggling with an illness which requires expensive treatment. So far, the Shevicks have sold everything they own in order to pay for infusions and scans.

This town is divided down the center between rival gangs, the Albanians and the Ukrainians. Soon Reacher becomes involved in the undercover world of the two gangs, vicious thugs who terrorize and victimize the town's inhabitants. The gang members are bad guys. No, these are very bad guys, and the only way they differ is in how they dress and their hair color. Because they have threatened him and folks he has come to care about, Reacher takes justice into his own hands. On almost every page, these bad guys are disabled, maimed, rendered unconscious or riddled with bullets. Reacher, with his military training and mathematical sense of how many people he can shoot and from what angles, is in rare form here. Along the way, his personal strength is augmented by the presence of an ex-Marine as well as a waitress, Abby Gibson, who has her own reasons for wanting to be involved, both with Reacher and with the destruction of the gangs.

Meg has recently lost her health insurance because Maxim Trulenko, her rich entrepreneur boss, declared bankruptcy and left town. Reacher suspects that he is still around and also that he still has personal money which Reacher figures Trulenko owes to Meg. Reacher also believes that the only way Trulenko could be hidden is with gang protection. In the name of justice, Reacher sets out to find Trulenko and have him pay back the Shevicks. What ensues is chaos and mayhem for the two gangs, who can't quite figure out who is disrupting their enterprises. What transpires is a turn of events that could only happen, of course, once in a blue moon.

§ Anne Corey is a writer, poet, teacher and botanical artist in New York's Hudson Valley.

Reviewed by Anne Corey, October 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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