Whenever Jack Reacher steps off a Greyhound bus, mayhem is sure to follow, and that is certainly the case in Blue Moon, the 25th novel in the series. A fellow passenger, an elderly man with a thick envelope in his jacket pocket, catches Reacher’s eye. Then he notices another rider, a young man, staring hungrily at the envelope. So when the elderly man gets off the bus, followed by the younger man, Reacher decides to disembark too, figuring he may needed to foil a mugging.
That’s exactly what happens, and Reacher finds out that the elderly man needed that cash in order to pay off a loan shark. The unnamed city he lives in is controlled by the Eastern European mob, which has neatly divided the territory into two equal parts: “The west of the city was run by Ukrainians. The east was run by Albanians. The demarcation line between them was gerrymandered as tight as a congressional district.”
The arrangement may work for the mobsters, but it’s making a lot of other people in town miserable. But can Reacher take on two well-armed organized crime factions all by himself and live to tell the tale? If your answer to that question is “No way, that’s insane!” then you’ve obviously never read a Lee Child novel before.
Reacher does team up with a handful of locals, including a beautiful waitress, but Reacher himself is always at the center of things, and Blue Moon’s body count ultimately reaches stratospheric levels, to the point where it becomes mordantly comical. It’s always fun to see how Reacher manages to get himself out of a jam, but in this case, the answer is usually “grab a gun from a bad guy and kill a whole bunch of people.” If this Grand Guignol adventure is ever filmed for Amazon’s upcoming Reacher series, the fake-blood budget will be off the charts. All in all, I greatly preferred the previous novel in the series, Past Tense; this one is for Reacher completists only.