This is another very good entry in the Jack Reacher series. By now the formula is fairly well set, and as this book opens, Reacher is strolling through a small town in Wisconsin. Looking into the window of a pawnshop, he happens to notice in the display a class ring from West Point. Such a ring is very hard to earn and Reacher wonders why someone might pawn one.
His curiosity aroused, Reacher buys the ring and attempts to trace it back to its original owner, a task that will be much easier said than done. It's a small ring, and Reacher concludes that the original owner was a woman. Engraved in the ring are the initials S.R.S., and the year 2005, suggesting that the woman graduated just in time to serve in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other such troubled and dangerous places.
The pawnshop owner initially refuses to tell Reacher where he got the ring, but when Jack Reacher is looking for information, it's generally a bad idea not to provide it. The guy ultimately tells Reacher that he bought the ring, with a bunch of other jewelry, from a biker.
Initially, the biker is no more cooperative than the guy in the pawnshop. (Will these people never learn?) But eventually, Reacher winds up tracing the ring from Wisconsin to Rapid City, South Dakota, and from there to the Middle of Nowhere in Wyoming. The further he gets into this quest, the more difficult and dark the mystery becomes.
As is often the case, Reacher finds himself touring through the underbelly of the country, and it's not a pretty picture. Mixed in and around a very good mystery, this book has some fairly sad things to say about the contemporary United States. As always, though, it's a very engaging and exciting story, populated by some interesting characters and some great settings, and it gives Reacher a lot of opportunities to be the Jack Reacher we all know and love.
As a side note, early in the book, one of the characters describes Reacher as "Bigfoot," and the name follows him through the story. It's not exactly the image one would conjure up thinking of Tom Cruise, and one wonders what, if anything, the author might be insinuating by doing this so deliberately.
I always look forward to the summer because it means that I will have a new Reacher novel to read and now I'm already looking forward to next year's book.