Second Son by Lee Child
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Terrific short story about 13 year old Jack Reacher and his family.
Reacher's family is in the process of moving to Okinawa when his elderly French Grandfather becomes ill, the housekeeper is trying to let Josephine Reacher (Jack's Mother) know her Father is dying but is having trouble contacting her, due to the move.
The Reacher Family arrive on Okinawa, Jack (the younger brother who is always called Reacher) and Joe are confronted by the island bully and his cohorts when they attempt to go to the beach. The bully informs them they will have to pay a toll. The arrival of the Fathers (home from their shift) ends the confrontation, but Reacher is already making plans to deal with the bully.
Reacher and Joe are informed they will have to take a "new" placement test. Joe is insulted that they think he has fallen behind in school and goes to the school to talk to the principal about the test. While he is there the test goes missing and Joe is blamed for it. After their phone is installed, Reacher goes to the beach where he meets Helen. The bully and his friends are supposedly at a baseball game, but Reacher notes that he wasn't on the bus when the kids return. Once Josephine arrives home she uses the newly installed phone to call her Father and finds out he is dying, the family takes her to the airport and thus miss burning their trash (apparently there is some weird military rule that everyone has to burn their trash at the same day and time). Josephine tells Reacher to take care of his Father and older brother before she boards the plane.
The next day when he awakens he discovers Stan (Reacher's Father) and Joe are in trouble. Stan because of a missing code book and Joe because of the missing test. Reacher answers the door to a delivery of electric cable which Stan claims isn't what he ordered. But Reacher realizes Stan ordered it for Reacher to use in a fight to wrap his hands.
Reacher and Helen go to the beach again where they kiss. On the way back they are confronted by the bully and Reacher beats him up. He intentionally breaks the bully's arm so that he and his family will have to go to the hospital. He then tells his Father to call the military police to search the bully's home. Where the missing binder with the test is found partially burned under the bully's bed. Reacher tells the MPs to fix things for Joe at the school and he will tell them where the code book can be found. They do and he reveals Helen's Father took the code book home to work on it (against regulations) and fell asleep from exhaustion. It's still at his house.
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