Now, after reading this prequel book, I know how the Jack Reacher story began. The book is set in 1997 and most of the action takes place in a small town in Mississippi. Reacher (an Army Major who is an MP) is sent on an army secret mission to determine whether or not the killing of a local woman in the small town of Carter Crossing was done by a local or by someone from the nearby base. And Reacher finds himself in a real hornet's nest with more than just this one young woman dead. He knows that secrets are being kept and it takes all his skill and training to get to the bottom of it all. And on the way he meets the local Sheriff. With her help and with the help of another Army MP Major, they manage to take care of business in the typical Jack Reacher way. I love Child's laconic and laid back style of writing. He gets a lot said in an economical use of words, and the technique is very effective. No one can build suspense like he can. His Jack Reacher creation is iconic and unforgettable.
Jack Reacher is still in the military as this story tells about an event in his past. He's a major in the Military Police and sent to a small town in Mississippi to witness the investigation to a civilian killed outside a militray base.
He meets the sheriff, Elizabeth Devereaux who is investigating the case. She tells him there were two other murders. All three women are very attractive but the other two women were black. Only the white woman's death was cause of concern in Mississippi.
Devereaux is prevented in running a full investigation because he authority ends at the gate of the base. Reacher sympathises with her and they decide to work the case together. He finds that she was a former member of the military police and eventually they have a romantic relationship.
The pacing is well done as there are moments of tension separated by the relationship between Reacher and the sheriff. We are also interested in the attempt of the military to white wash the investigation for political purposes with Reacher's refusal to bend to the attempted cover up.
This is a well written novel by a master story teller.