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This one in the series is a bit over the top with violence...but it is a good read.

Blue Moon - Lee Child

Blue Moon is the 24th novel in the Jack Reacher series. Jack Reacher has an endearing, but strong-arm way about him. His wit and instincts guide him. He represents right through might, and he almost always seems superhuman as he resolves his problems. Always involved in intriguing mysteries, he sometimes uses bizarre means to save himself and others as he encounters danger. Suspend disbelief as you read this one. Reacher is a retired military cop. As a result, he is more aware of his surroundings than most people. He spots issues and solves problem purely by instinct and experience. He does not like to be tied down to any one place for too long. While traveling on a bus, looking a bit like a vagrant, with no particular destination or pressing need to be anyplace, he notices an old man asleep with a wad of cash in a bank envelope sticking out of his pants pocket. He also notices a low life eyeing the same man’s pocket with the money. When the elderly man, Aaron Shevick, gets off the bus, the lowlife follows him and Reacher assumes he will mug the old man and rob him. Jack Reacher exits the bus with them and follows. When the low life makes his move, Jack attacks him and rescues the elderly man and his money. He assists him on his walk home as he has injured his knee. From that moment on, Jack becomes involved with Aaron and Maria Shevick. He is determined to help them solve their monumental financial problems. Soon, he is impersonating Aaron and absorbing his risk of torture and/or murder from the disreputable loan sharks the Shevicks had been forced to use in order to fund their daughter’s experimental cancer treatment. Once insured, her insurance had lapsed and was canceled when the CEO of the company for which she worked, and was an officer of, failed to inform her that the policy had been canceled due to lack of funds. The company was failing. Moved by this crisis faced by the Sheviks, Jack steps in to help. The Sheviks were selling and pawning belongings and borrowing money from dangerous sources. Their daughter’s treatment was expensive and had to be paid up front or the hospital would deny the treatment, giving their daughter no hope at all of recovery. As Jack gets involved, there appears to be the beginning of a territorial war between two rival gangs, the Albanians and the Ukranians. Unwittingly, Aaron Shevik is involved. He has been dealing with Albanian loan sharks to save his daughter. Now he has to face the far more brutal Ukranians who have moved into the Albanian territory. When Jack steps in and pretends to be Aaron, he sets off a major turf war between the two rival gangs, one running a loan shark business and one running a protection racket. False assumptions run rampant, and they lead to ridiculous, faulty conclusions and barbaric threats and killings. Each gang leader misinterprets the events and the violent murders of their henchmen, until, finally, they begin to randomly slaughter each other as bedlam breaks out. Soon, the leaders begin to realize that they are being manipulated by an outside party, but it is too late to signal each other. Although they conclude that it can only be the Russians who have the skill and man power that seems to be wiping out their members, and both rivals think that Aaron Shevik (Jack Reacher), is working for the Russians who are trying to horn in on their “businesses”, it is too late for them to stop the domino effect and their demise. In this novel, Reacher is exceptionally blood thirsty and the violence often seems unnecessary. He is judge, jury and executioner without any legal backing for his behavior, yet he is displaying excessive physical force and randomly murdering those he encounters. He is motivated purely by his emotions and personal beliefs when he learns of the problems of this elderly couple. Exorbitant fees for the medical needs of their daughter forced them to engage with unsavory gangs and face tremendous danger to help her. The unfairness of it all makes him more and more determined to help them. There are many side tangents. Often there is unnecessary dialogue between characters. In addition, although the details of the plot may seem silly and defy logic, the storytelling talent of Lee Child and the exceptional performance of the narrator save the day. The book is written with an overlay of humor which numbs the effect of even the most violent scenes, making them seem palatable. The reader barely winces, but rather just has fun being distracted by this highly readable novel which maintains interest page after page. The subject matter is au courant in light of the Ukraine corruption controversy that exists in our own politics today and the Russia/Ukraine continued power struggle.