Don't pick up the latest Jack Reacher novel if you don't have some time on your hands, because "Worth Dying For" is difficult to put down.
Reacher, Lee Child's homeless hero through 15 books, is in Nebraska this time, a frozen, wind-swept land where neighbors are miles apart and law enforcement is even more distant.
The challenges for Reacher are many, and the mysteries he must figure out before his personal code will allow him to leave the inhospitable area are intricate.
Reacher, who was a member of the Army's military police, is taking on small-town evil, and the Duncans - three brothers and the son of one - are far more sinister than they first seem.
The Duncans rule the 40 farm families in their part of the state. They own a trucking firm, and keep the local population in check by refusing to haul the harvest if anyone gets out of line.
For farmers, that could mean a year without income.
The quartet is anxiously awaiting a secret shipment when Rea-cher stumbles into their lives after accompanying a drunken doctor on a mission of mercy.
"Worth Dying For" also supplies some nice twists - the mysterious shipment and a 25-year-old case involving a child's disappearance.
Reacher, who shows no sign of slowing down, more than delivers a satisfying pummeling of the bad guys before slipping away again.
After the doctor patches up the bloody nose and cut lips of Seth Duncan's wife, Reacher can't resist seeking revenge against the husband, despite warnings about stirring up the clan.
Sure enough, after Reacher breaks Duncan's nose, the family comes after him, first with a dozen or so former linemen on the Oklahoma football team and then with professional killers from three different mobsters.
Reacher, who has been wandering the country with nothing more than a toothbrush, is ready for them all.
With his size - he's 6-foot-5, weighs 250 pounds - military training and willingness to commit quickly and completely to winning any fight forced on him, Reacher is more than a match for anyone, even with severe injuries to both arms, as is the case this time.
Not the Cornhuskers (mostly second-stringers, which might soothe some Nebraska fans) nor the pros are able to conquer Reacher, but they sure try.
Child manages to get an amazing amount of suspense into the novel despite Reacher's seeming invincibility. And much of the fun is derived from the ingenious ways Reacher makes the most of his limited resources and outwits those pursuing him even in the flat farmland that offers no cover.