Echo Burning is the fifth novel in the Jack Reacher series and begins in a Lubbock Texas saloon where Jack pushes back against a drunk bully. He breaks his nose and finger and then leaves, but the next morning he sees the bully, a local policeman, with three others, coming his way obviously planning to arrest him.
He avoids capture and escapes, walking out of town hitchhiking. Carmen Greer, a good looking Mexican lady in a fancy car, stops to give him a ride.
Carmen has her reasons for stopping: she wants Jack to kill her abusive husband, Sloop, who is going to be released from jail in a few days. Jack Reacher is a character who never hesitates to get involved in the troubles of those he meets. He refuses to help her kill Sloop but agrees to help protect her and goes with her to their ranch in Echo County, Texas just outside of Pecos.
Soon after Sloop is released he is found dead and Carmen is arrested. The facts make it look like she did it and she even confesses. Jack doesn’t believe the assumed facts or that she is guilty and starts looking into both Carmen and Sloop’s past. Carmen’s daughter Ellie is taken away for adoption, but it turns out that she was really kidnapped.
Jack involves Alice Amanda Aaron, the pro bono attorney, in the case and they meet with Hack Walker, the Pecos County district attorney and an old friend of Sloop's who seems to want to help them.
What starts out as a what seems to be a silly old-fashioned plot takes some very surprising twists and turns and by the time Jack Reacher has saved the day and moved on you will wind up realizing you have read a very well thought out story.
“I know I'm smarter than an armadillo”
“Short of a shotgun, a pool cue is the best barroom weapon ever invented. Short enough to be handy, long enough to be useful, made out of fine hardwood and nicely weighted with lead.”
“Reacher smiled. Bad luck and trouble, been my only friends.”