Reacher reminds me of Parker, and Child of Richard Stark. Both series front inevitably, improbably efficient men of violence. (I would cast Lee Marvin in both roles, even if John Boorman hadn't thought of that actor
.) Both series repeatedly return to a single central plot: get the protagonist into a bind, and then let him get out ('cause both men are smarter, tougher, more ruthless than anyone who tries to cross them). Both series are written with crisp cinematic prose, precisely detailing action, and with a careful loving eye for the practical mechanics of their respective mayhem.
Reacher may--as the end of this novel suggests--have a bit more heart than Parker, which is fine, 'though I do kind of love Stark's complete indifference to revealing anything of Parker's inner life. Parker doesn't do a lot of over-thinking, and in his world there is no morality--just contracts. Reacher is on the side of the angels, which is also fine. You know, always, where you stand with these guys.
In these series, as with an excellent beer, you do not gulp each new adventure (or pint) expecting some radical shift in the ingredients, or effect. I was for some of this novel a little disappointed--emphasis on the "little"--as its "trap" seemed at times too simplistic in its contrivances, or maybe it's just that I found myself a bit ahead of Reacher--which shouldn't happen. In the final stretch, however, Child pulls some new details out about Reacher, which was startling in a series so long in the tooth. And, hell--a good pint's a good pint, even if it's a little more lukewarm than you normally appreciate.