Nothing to Lose by Lee Child

‘Nothing to Lose’ is the 12th Reacher novel by Lee Child and certainly didn’t reach the heights of some of the other novels in the series.

In the middle of nowhere in Colorado are two neighbouring towns called Hope and Despair. Intrigued by the names, Jack Reacher decides to visit and hitches a ride into the nice little town of Hope. But, there is no traffic heading to Despair so he ends up walking. When he tries to order a coffee in the only diner in Despair, he is refused service. The Sheriff and deputies ask him to leave town and when he refuses he ends up spending a night in jail. He is then labelled a vagrant and is driven back to Hope.

Anyone who has read any Reacher novels will be able to guess his reaction. He refuses to be turned back. In Hope he finds out about young women waiting for word from their boyfriends who have gone to Despair. Now he needs to find out what is going on in Despair that could make the entire town hostile to outsiders. Who is the man who runs the only business – a metal recycling plane and seems to have the whole town under tight control? What is going on at the plant that needs to be kept secret? Why are the military guarding access to the plant? What is making the residents of Despair sick? What is happening to the boyfriends?

Reacher enlists the help of Hope’s beautiful young female police officer, Vaughan, but she has secrets of her own. Together they set out to uncover Despair’s secrets.


There were quite a few plots running in parallel in this story, most of them related in some way to America’s involvement in the Iraq war, the treatment of many of the soldiers and the complete hopelessness felt by most of the army. But behind that there is a much more secret and sinister plot.

Some of the plot solutions in this novel just didn’t work for me and the reasons for Reacher’s initial involvement just didn’t quite fit with the Reacher that I’ve come to know. I never felt for the main female character Vaughan, she seemed lifeless and forgettable. Overall this novel just didn’t grab me.

I suppose that Lee Child is allowed one ordinary novel in such a good series. I hope that the next one – ‘Gone Tomorrow’ is up to Lee Child’s usually high standards.


Book Published 2008


See a full list of books by Lee Child


Filed under Action, Book Reviews, Child, Lee, Crime, Series Fiction, Thriller

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