Jack Reacher is traveling anonymously by Greyhound bus when he spots an old man sleeping with a pocket full of money. A ne’er do well also sees the old guy’s money and follows the old man off the bus and mugs him. Luckily, Reacher followed them both off the bus, suspecting the attack on the old man, and saves him from loss of life and money. This leads Reacher into the tragic existence of an elderly couple in a financial need so great—because their adult daughter has cancer—that they are embroiled with horrific loan sharks to cover the daughter’s astronomical medical expenses. Do-gooder Reacher wants to help them out. The old man was taking the cash to pay off the latest loan, but Reacher steps in and meets with the money lender instead. The loan shark turns out to be part of a Ukrainian gang who owns the town. Well, half of the town. The other half is owned by the Albanians.
Reacher has to stay one step ahead of everybody: the thugs, the loan sharks, and the assassins out to get him. Reacher teams up with a small, gamine waitress who wants to do one thing every day that scares her, a couple of musicians who don’t want to lose their gigs, and an ex-military man who knows a tiny bit of the Albanian and Ukrainian languages. Together, this unusual crew help Reacher deal with the elderly couples’ financial mess and battle the gangs. Reacher has his own code of ethics though, and so he wants to ensure that all the bad guys get their just desserts, while making sure that his new-found friends stay alive.