Lee Child - Shastrix Books

Lee Child

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Better Off Dead

Better Off Dead

Lee Child & Andrew Child

23rd February 2022

Andrew Child’s second Reacher novel shows a lot of the same traits as the first. The writing style feels different - this time we’re in first person, which we’ve seen before in the series, but the tone feels almost smoother than in the novels written by his older brother Lee.

Reacher’s lack of knowledge of modern technology is demonstrated again. It adds quite a nice light and realistic touch to the character, and I feel like it might come from a gentle ribbing from younger brother to older on the authorship team.

Plotwise though I found this one a bit confusing. Part of the idea I know is a sense of mystery - the first person narrative always giving the sense that the reader can only know as much as the character - but even after finishing the story and hearing the explanation at the end, it doesn’t feel like everything adds up in my head. Possibly I read the end too fast so couldn’t take the information in and digest it before more came along.

Overall though, still a solid Reacher novel for the 2020s, and I will doubtless keep reading.

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The Sentinel

The Sentinel

Lee Child & Andrew Child

23rd January 2021

The latest Jack Reacher novel begins the transition of authorship from Lee Child to his fifteen-year younger brother Andrew. We meet Reacher as usual in a small town where something mysterious is clearly going down, and the character once again can’t resist getting involved.

In many ways this is classic Reacher - the setting, the drive of the character, the way he relates to others, the action, and the dialogue all feel familiar.

But there are ways that this does feel renewed - there’s a clear focus on modern technology and modern crimes, and Reacher adds to his mental repertoire an ability to play back music in his head, which I don’t recall noticing previously.

I think this was a good entry for the series and I feel that the new authorship has brought something positive - new stories to tell and a revitalised and re-energised feel to the tale.

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Blue Moon

Blue Moon

Lee Child

9th February 2020

In what it turns out might be one of Lee Child’s last novels about his hero Jack Reacher (not a spoiler - he has announced he’s handing over authorial duties to his brother), we visit a small town run by two rival gangs, between whom a turf war is triggered based on something of a misunderstanding.

It’s a good story, with some interesting guest characters and a lot of action. It’s also something of a tragedy in places, and a comedy in many. However it’s come a long way I think from the early Reacher novels.

Back in the day, the writing style was distinctive in its use of short, punchy sentences. Now the narrative has more of a flow, more like other novels. The character of Reacher seems to have lost some of his old characteristics, or at least toned them down. He’s become friendlier, and he’s clearly becoming older. And yet maybe that feels right - maybe age and experience has changed the character, and the books have changed along to suit that.

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Buy book: UKBuy ebook: UK
The Fourth Man

The Fourth Man

Lee Child

1st September 2019

This short novella in the Jack Reacher universe sees the character pay a trip to Australia after his photo turns up on a hit list.

While it is brief, it kept me entertained for the length of a train journey where the lights weren’t working (preventing me from reading a paper novel) and reminded me of how enjoyable the Reacher novels are.

The plot possibly could have sustained something longer, but actually worked well as a brief bit of light reading, and could serve as a neat introduction to the series if someone wanted to dip their toe into the water.

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Past Tense

Past Tense

Lee Child

23rd January 2019

The latest in the long series of Jack Reacher novels sees the ex-Army nomad wandering America when he spots the hometown of his father - and in an uncharacteristic bout of nostalgia he decides to have a look around. Turns out that things aren’t as they seem.

The book seems to have two parallel storylines that only really interact by virtue of being in the same place at the same time, and both involving the same character. Okay, this description makes them sound quite connected, but thematically they don’t seem linked and the two plots don’t seem to tie together particularly well - it’s almost like two shorter stories glued together.

However it’s not a bad adventure, and I quite enjoyed the mystery aspects and trying to guess what was going on. I think I worked out one of the major reveals quite early on, but I certainly missed some of the clues and didn’t get everything right.

A perfectly serviceable entry in the series despite the slight disjointedness.

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The Midnight Line

The Midnight Line

Lee Child

25th March 2018

The twenty-second novel in the Jack Reacher series continues the loosely flowing narrative of the last few ‘modern day’ novels, though only briefly, around a new plot triggered when Reacher happens upon a West Point ring in a pawn shop.

The story follows the standard pattern of Reacher getting mixed up in something random, interfering a bit, and meeting a variety of new people along the way. This one feels a bit more chaotic than usual in how the different strands come together and does feel like a little more suspension of disbelief than some.

One f the things that comes across in the series, but particularly in this novel, is how big the US actually is, and how far apart people can be - the plot wouldn’t work in the UK because there would be witnesses to everything, but in the states it’s believable that things could just be the way they are described.

Not one of the best Reacher stories, I didn’t think, but good enough to keep my interest and keep me looking out for the next book later in the year.

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No Middle Name

No Middle Name

Lee Child

7th September 2017

Twelve novellas or short stories from the world of Jack Reacher - only one is completely new, and many of them I’ve read previously in ebook form. That said, I still feel this was a good purchase, and I enjoyed reading through the short adventures either again or for the first time. My thoughts on the 12 stories can be summarised as:

A short, sweet new story. An interesting incident (felt targeted at an older audience than on first reading). A bit of a rollercoaster. A good simple story (liked it better than last time). Really good little investigation. Slightly weird and disturbing, much like the earlier novels in style, not sure I like it. Very short, very nice. Short quick read that feels like a failed novel idea. Filler. Interesting. Possibly the most pointless short story ever. Quick and dirty.

So a bit of a mix, but overall a nice diversion.

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Other reviewed books

Night School
Make Me
Small Wars
Not a Drill
Personal
Never Go Back
High Heat
Deep Down
A Wanted Man
The Affair
Second Son
Worth Dying For
61 Hours
Gone Tomorrow
Nothing to Lose
Bad Luck and Trouble
The Hard Way
One Shot
The Enemy
Persuader
Without Fail
Echo Burning
The Visitor
Tripwire
Die Trying
Killing Floor

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