Nothing to Lose by Lee Child introduces me to Jack Reacher, which is long overdue. Reacher is crossing the USA diagonally from Calais, ME to San Diego, CA. He is in Colorado when we meet him as he crosses from the town of Despair into the town of Hope. The symbolism is not missed. “Reacher had long ago quit carrying things he didn’t need. There was nothing in his pockets except paper money and an expired passport and an ATM card and a clip-together toothbrush. There was nothing waiting for him anywhere else, either. No storage unit in a distant city, nothing stashed with friends. He owned the things in his pockets and the clothes on his back and the shoes on his feet. That was all, ant that was enough. Everything he needed, and nothing he didn’t.” (p 5) Now this is a simple man. I’d suggest he carry a Swiss Army knife, but that’s me and I always have one of my knives with me, sometimes two. I do like the simplicity of it all, though. Something to aspire to, methinks. Reacher was a major with the MP’s when he retired ten years ago. Since then he has wandered. Now his “spidey” senses are tingling in the towns of Hope and Despair.
A dead body, a missing man, a sick officer who throws up, a metal extracting plant, an airplane that leaves at seven every night and returns at 2:30 every morning, patrols, police who throw visitors out, a new combat MP unit nearby sends all the wrong messages to brother Jack. And since he has nothing else to do, he gets involved. The town of Despair is a company town and Reacher is trying to reach them to free themselves from the yoke of Mr. Thurman the owner of the metal recycle plant that is using chemicals that are slowing killing the townsfolk. Jack’s moral conundrum is saving the world. Jack Reacher is a road warrior, a good one. When you have nothing to lose, you can do anything.