At first I was going to rate this as 3.5 stars, but then I thought for a moment and decided that, no, it really is more a 4 star read for me because for almost all of it, I resented having to put the book down and take care of other things. *LOL*
For the most part, the book was non-stop plot moving forward. Lots of action, lots of important exchanges of dialogue, lots of simple but thorough scene-setting and the introduction of interesting characters throughout the whole of the novel. Jack Reacher, the main character, is an interesting fellow. At 6' 5", 200+ lbs, he's a very big man. And man of few words we come to know.
Thanks to the introduction written by the author that tells of how Jack came to be, I went into the story with an idea in mind of who and how he would be. Child describes him as somewhat of a "knight-errant" and I'll go along with that. He mentions comparisons to Shane or some of the Zane Grey westerns that my grandfather loved so much. It's a very apt description. As is a kinship with John D. MacDonald's 'Travis McGee' series of mysteries which I love to bits.
The novel is written in the 1st person, so we necessarily see everything through Jack's eyes and hear the story from Jack himself. And maybe that's why the narrative sentences are so short and choppy. I will admit that I tended to read them as longer after a bit. Was that me getting used to it? Maybe. :) As I said on Twitter, though, Lee Child hates commas and loves periods.
The secondary characters were nicely drawn and fleshed out, even though we see them as Jack sees them. I just wish Child had named the lady cop differently. Roscoe just conjures visions of Roscoe Lee Brown far too easily in my brain. *LOL*
The only time the book lost me was in the midst of some of the longer-winded explanations of why the bad guys a) were doing what they were doing, b) how they were able to do it and c)how all the people were intertwined. I felt like my eyes were beginning to glaze over at some points during the final quarter of the book.
There were some terrific plot twists - minor as well as major. I did not see the first biggie coming at ALL, so kudos to Mr. Child. :) And you know what? The story of this town, Margrave, had a feel of the TV show Banshee about it. Not a bad thing. Just interesting.
All in all, a great fun read for folks who like suspense thrillers and a hero who is different and intriguing. I'll be reading more of his adventures, that's for sure.