My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Once again, Jack Reacher is drawn into a highly improbable scenario that lets him be the capeless superhero, coming in to save the day.
I've enjoyed the series overall, but some of the scenarios Lee Child uses are truly eyeroll-inducing. Even if Reacher comes across as a nearly-omniscient superhero-cop in the ones where we're looking back at his Military Police days, at least those make more sense in terms of how he comes to be involved in various unusual scenarios.
In Past Tense, there's a truly evil ploy going on. That and his coming to the rescue of a random person in a small New England town both drive the tension of this book, such as it is. The evil plot's setup is too drawn out, considering how little connection/empathy is created with the intended victims of the plot. Given his history and the relative incompetence of his adversaries, there's not much question how all of this will turn out.
There's still satisfaction in Jack Reacher taking out the bad guys, but the odds of his once again stumbling into a one-in-a-million evil plot really stretches credulity. I'm hoping future books either are more focused on his MP days or somehow draw him back into law enforcement. This country has its issues--as all countries do--but I'm thankful there aren't extraordinarily sinister plots around every corner as Jack Reacher's travels would have one think!
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