"He didn't get far."
"... woke up a minute after three in the morning."
Those two quotes from Past Tense are definitive of Jack Reacher. When he sets out, he never gets far and his 'back brain' spidey sense is always alert. Jack, via his author Lee Child, must have some big math and physics in his background: he's always aware of and acts upon Newton's Third Law, calculating and planning in milliseconds.
Past Tense is vintage Reacher - the real Reacher we readers know and as Lee Child thoughtfully (and subtly) reminds us is
". . . a tall built man, more than six feet five in his shoes, heavily built, all bone and muscle, not particularly good looking, never very well dressed, usually a little unkempt."
- not the pretend one of the past movies. If I were casting Reacher I would have chosen Gary Sinese.
In Past Tense Reacher gets himself into a spot when "a minute after three in the morning" his spidey sense draws him into untoward circumstances while a parallel track of the very ugly machinations of an as of yet unknown distant cousin and his pals toward a hapless young couple eventually intersect as Reacher is waylaid by mild interest when he happens upon the town of "his late father's birthplace". . . of "vague family legend". I admit it took me more than half the book to figure out what the plan was for the young couple ... and then I was still surprised by some of it. As hapless, gullible and disorganized as they are, you can't help but cheer for these two.
Past Tense has more interesting support characters than usually found in Reacher books. Also, unusually, there is little of Reachers past military background in the story nor does it involve complications from/with the current military very often making appearances in his stories.
5 stars I really enjoyed Past Tense and finished it in a day.