Having run short on cash, Reacher has paused in his travels and is working in Chicago when he stumbles into the kidnapping of FBI agent Holly Johnson and he is also held. The pair are whisked across the United States in the back of a stolen Ford Econoline van, while back in Chicago Holly’s colleagues frantically piece together the puzzle of her sudden disappearance. Initially they are detained in a barn in North Dakota but Reacher kills one of their captors and hides the body (this is discovered later). They are moved on again in the van.
Arriving in Yorke County (fictional),a remote area of Montana, Reacher and Holly find themselves up against the Montana Militia, a band approximately 100 strong led by Beau Borken,a majestic yet ruthless megalomaniac intent on more than simple secession from the union. Holly is the daughter of a general – the head of the joint chiefs of staff. She’s defensive about her family connections, having had to work hard to dispel notions of nepotism, so it’s a while before she reveals to Reacher that she’s also the President’s god-daughter.
To add to the complications, there’s Brogan, a mole infiltrated into the Chicago FBI team, and an undercover federal agent, Jackson, in the militia group. Before long, one betrays the other and Jackson dies a horrible death by being crucified in the woods.
Even as they close in on the Montana camp, the FBI believe that Reacher was part of the kidnap team. Reacher’s old commanding officer, General Leon Garber, arrives to convince them otherwise and ends up playing a critical role.
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