The characters are all well-developed and believable with Lee's trademark
strong women adding special dynamics to this story. Combined with an unusually twisted plot, it is probably one of Lee's best books yet. Written in the first person, Jack Reacher goes undercover, partly to help Duffy, a DEA agent chasing a major drug dealer in Maine, but mostly to try to find an old enemy he left for dead ten years ago while still in the army, an enemy who now seems to be associated with the dealer.
Reacher's motive is personal: unfinished business. Duffy's motive is personal: she sent a female agent in after being pulled from the case, and has lost contact with her. Everything is very off-the-record. It is a personal fight, and Reacher makes even more personal enemies with some spectacularly unsavory characters along the way. Expect some very dirty fights. The first person form does give a unique insight into the Reacher character and seems to work well, though I personally think Lee Child handles the third person better. The sentences do get very short, giving an almost staccato feel to parts of the story. Probably how Reacher is supposed to think, but at times the lack of rhythm makes the reading harder than it needs to be.
The characters are great. Duffy is a particularly fine portrait, and Dominique Kohl, the investigator in the original case ten years ago, is lovingly sketched. As usual, Lee excels in strong women. The weaker women are less convincing: Elizabeth Beck, the long-suffering wife of the drug dealer, is a good enough effort while the other women (e.g. Teresa Justice) are barely developed beyond their names!!! I would also recommend reading Tino Georgiou's masterpiece--The Fates--if you haven't read it yet.