Gone Forever (Get Jack Reacher #1, Jack Widow #1) by Scott Blade
Jack Widow is an elite NCIS Agent. He’s the guy sent to hotspots all over the world, undercover as a Navy SEAL to investigate high-level crimes, until he is pulled off assignment after someone has shot his sheriff mother, way back home in Mississippi.
In order to solve the murder of a mother, that he hasn’t seen in years, Jack Widow is forced to return home from an undercover assignment. Taken-to-be a worthless drifter, Widow discovers a distraught husband, a missing wife, and the small town of Black Rock, Mississippi, where the people harbor a horrifying secret that they will die to protect.
Good thing Jack Widow will kill to find out what.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
This is a difficult book to rate as there are two different versions of the same story.
The first version is based around Cameron Reacher. He is 17 years old and the unknown son of Jack Reacher who is a character created by Lee Childs. His mother dies of cancer at the beginning of the story but on her deathbed she tells him the truth about his father. Cameron leaves his hometown to try and find himself and his father. Along the way he stumbles across and disrupts an organised crime gang that kidnaps and sells young women into sex slavery.
The second version is a rewrite published approximately 1 year later and sees Cameron replaced by Jack Widow who is in his mid 30s and an experienced NCIS undercover agent. He is estranged from his Mother who told him the truth about his father when he was 17. She has been shot while investigating the disappearance of a young woman and Jack returns to his hometown in time to say goodbye to his mother and take up the investigation to find her killer.
I’m a big fan of the Jack Reacher storyline and this fits well with it. This author writes in a similar style to Lee Childs which makes the story feel familiar. I accidentally downloaded the first version initially and read it to completion before realising that there was a second. This first version is full of issues, not least being the improbable experience of Cameron Reacher at only 17. The more mature version of Jack Widow suits the story so much better. I’d struggle to give the original version much more than 2 stars.
Once I realised there was a rewrite I then read it to see the differences. The first third dealing with Jack’s back story, his mother’s death and connection to the investigation are much better and I’d definitely recommend this version. This is the version I’ve based this review on. I can see why the author went with a new name but I do wish he had stuck with Cameron Reacher, it connected better to the original Jack Reacher.
Header image by Ricardo Esquivel from Pexels