Jack Reacher, perpetual traveler and tough guy seeking justice, stops off in a small Nebraska community as he's hitchhiking south. While having coffee in a motel bar where the local doctor happens to be drinking, a call comes in - Eleanor Duncan has a nosebleed. The doc refuses to respond so Reacher - suspecting domestic abuse - insists on driving the doc to Eleanor's house and finds she has indeed been hit in the face. Reacher proceeds to locate Eleanor's husband Seth at a steakhouse and breaks his nose. After this all hell breaks loose.
Seems the Duncans (Seth, his father and two uncles) have a stranglehold on the local farming community and have completely intimated everybody who lives there. The Duncans aren't about to take any flak from Reacher and tell a couple of 'cornhuskers' - former college football players the Duncans hire to be bodyguards and enforcers - to get rid of Reacher. The two cornhuskers don't succeed.
Moreover the Duncans are involved in illegal trafficking through Canada and are in trouble because a shipment they promised is late. Since they're already furious at Reacher the Duncans tell their customers that the shipment is delayed because Reacher is sniffing around. Before long a slew of people are out to maim/kill Reacher including a bunch of cornhuskers and three sets of hitmen - sent by the Arabs, Italians, and Iranians who are awaiting the shipment.
Reacher is very tough, however, and his encounters with these creeps generally ends badly for the would-be assassins. Lee Child does a good job describing scenes of combat and carnage and one has to admire Reacher's capabilities with his fists and any tools or weapons he happens to get his hands on.
While all this is going on Reacher hears about the disappearance of a local young girl twenty-five years ago and decides to find out what happened to her - not so easy while so many people are out to kill him. Most of the story is about Reacher playing cat and mouse with the people chasing him and there's a lot of violence and unpleasant behavior. However Reacher is very clever and figures everything out in the end. There are some surprises and twists in this exciting thriller. Recommended for fans of the series.