Past Tense (Jack Reacher, #23)by Lee Child Published 05 Nov 2018
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From number one bestseller Lee Child, the thrilling new blockbuster featuring hero Jack Reacher. Reacher, the eternal drifter, happens by chance on the small New Hampshire town he remembers his father was supposed to have come from. But when he starts looking for his dad's old home, he finds there's no record of anyone named Reacher ever having lived there.
"Past Tense (Jack Reacher, #23)" Reviews
I’ve been reading the Jack Reacher series since Lee Child wrote his first. How wonderful it is after finishing #23 in the series to say it’s definitely one of my favorites!
Jack Reacher, our 6’5” ex-military hero is on a journey from Maine to California and decides to take a pit stop in Laconia, New Hampshire to check out his father’s birthplace. Scanning through records at town hall and researching census from long ago bring him in contact with a lot of different characters - some nice and some not-so-nice. I always like to see the not-so-nice come into play as this means some action is to be expected. I’ve got to tell you I love his hand-to-hand fighting skills that emerge and the surprise of his foes. Bring on all the details! My father had us watching every war movie and John Wayne film since I was a kid. I love, love, seeing Reacher beat up the bullies. Bring it on!
What I really liked about this book is the duel storyline. Two young Canadians, Shory, and his smarter girlfriend, Patty, break down at an isolated, creepy motel not far off from Laconia. Unbeknownst to them, they are about to enter hell. They are in desperate need of Reacher’s help. The two stories converge with a lot of action and excitement. Meanwhile, there are some other nasty folks around that our hero gives a mighty fine lesson.
A definite stand out for me is the female ex-MP, now Laconia cop, Reacher interacts with throughout the book.
If you have never met Jack Reacher yet, but would like to meet a man that likes intelligent women, doesn’t take any crap from anyone, and will protect those that are in despair, read this book. It doesn’t matter that you haven’t read the others in the series. Start here!
5 out of 5 exciting stars
Thanks to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine, and the fabulous Lee Child for the ARC.
Past Tense is an okayish Jack Reacher. I never felt drawn into it unlike the earlier ones in the series. This could be due to Jack Reacher outstaying his welcome - there are only so many plots available given the context or it could be that with every story, Jack Reacher becomes more and more like a Superman-Ninja combination.
And that is a nice segue into one of the indications that Lee Child is himself aware of it. There were two separate threads in the story which meet only towards the end. And the meeting felt like a contrivance rather than two plot points seamlessly merging into each other. So, my take is that Lee Child had to bring in a non Jack Reacher story line to bring back the tension into the series again.
Welp, I am not hopeful that this series is going to be back on an upward swing anytime soon.
My thanks to Random House/Ballantine and Netgalley for letting me read this arc for my honest opinion.
It's actually been a few years since I've read Jack Reacher. I'll confess that when I heard that Tom Cruise was playing Reacher in a movie it kind of ruined the image. Of course, I first had to spit the vomit out of my mouth, and spend a few minutes cussing. It's not that I dislike Cruise, its just that I think he's human garbage. Oh, dear me! Well, look at my little rant. How embarrassing. Not enough to delete it....Anyways, thankfully enough time has passed, and Reacher is again a very big man. Cruise's 3 foot 8 inches...oh, damn. Look at me go! O.K., Seriously, I really enjoyed this book. I liked the story, and I actually enjoyed the main characters, and was kind of anxious for them. Reacher doesn't always save all the good guys. Maybe its because its been awhile, but Jack seemed a wee bit more cold blooded than before. I did leave this book wondering about the aftermath. Still, once again I'm engaged with Jack Reacher. I really did enjoy this story. It made me tense. When my muscles say "let loose woman," then I know a book has gotten to me!
Perennial traveller Jack Reacher is journeying down to San Diego for some warm weather, his thumb is his ticket. Early on he spots the name of a New England town he recognises as the place his father grew up. Well, he’s got to take a look at this hasn’t he.
In a parallel plot line a young Canadian couple are planning to drive beyond the same town but their old clunker of a car looks like it’s not going to make it much further. They pull to a stop at a motel and decide to get the car fixed and then move on as soon as possible. They are, we’re told, carrying a heavy suitcase – it’s contents is not divulged.
From this point very little of any consequence occurs for some time. The couple rattle around at the motel and Reacher searches for information regarding his grandparents and father. It’s slow going and rather dull, but the rhythm entrapped me. This Reacher novel, like all the others, has a cadence all of its own.
- We meet a few people in a small, friendly town with a hick police force
- Reacher finds a place to eat and drink coffee and somewhere to sleep
- Lots of people say nothing and do nothing and and at least one person stares at nothing
- Reacher speaks in short sentences, is methodical in his thoughts and actions and his inner clock keeps perfect time
- We see and learn the obvious... and then the concealed
I’m half way through the book now and my only real thought is what’s in the suitcase?
Then things speed up a bit. Reacher is a big, strong guy and he’s not averse to some violence. A situation arises and he deals with it. Then things start to look and feel strange. With this tale it’s not so much about whodunnit as what the hell is going on here? It’s a puzzle we can’t yet resolve as a number of pieces are hidden. Then they’re not, at least not all of them, and a scenario is presented. It's an interesting one.
All in all, it’s turns out to be a reasonably satisfying story. It’s not the best Reacher I’ve read but it’s not the worst either. Three and a half stars rounded up to four. I know I’ll come back for more – it’s just a habit I can’t break.
4.5 stars, actually.
Honestly, I'm not at all sure how much I'd like Jack Reacher if I met him in person because he doesn't pull any punches, but I'm certain I'd want him on my side in a fight for the same reason. And in this, the 23rd book in the series, he gets plenty of opportunity to practice his considerable skill.
The story begins as Reacher walks and hitchhikes near a remote and tiny town in New Hampshire on his way to wherever else the wind (or more accurately, any driver who gives him a lift) takes him. When he recalls his late father Stan saying he grew up in the town, though, Reacher decides to pay a visit to the family homestead - if he can find it, that is.
Concurrently, Shorty and Patty, a pair of grifters from Canada - on their way to New York with a get-rich-quick plan in tow - have car trouble. Just as the old jalopy is ready to blow, they spot a sign pointing to a motel in a heavily wooded area of (you guessed it), New Hampshire. Yep, there's a halfway decent room available - but very soon, it becomes obvious that this isn't your average Motel 6. In fact, they may have happened upon their very worst nightmare.
Chapters follow the progress as Reacher tries to find what appears to be nonexistent evidence of his father's old home and the couple try to find their way out of the mess they're in. As expected, the two storylines end up converging - but not before plenty of action takes place in both. Early on, Reacher gets on the bad side of a bad seed and his wealthy father; although the local police are for the most part on Reacher's side - after all, he's been both an Army guy and a fellow cop - they don't want Trouble with a capital T that rhymes with P that stands for Problem. Just go on your way, they tell Reacher, hoping he'll heed their advice.
He'd love to, but he's got problems of his own (not the least of which is getting on the bad side of the folks he runs into when he finally locates the family town). Besides that, other local and otherwise innocent folks are finding themselves in potential danger simply because they helped Reacher; how can he possibly turn his back on them and hike away?
And so it goes, with excitement and action building all the way from town to the woods and back to an explosive end. If I have an issue, it's that I have a hard time believing in coincidences - meaning things that happen at precisely the time they should to make the story work. Life usually doesn't follow that kind of pattern - but then again, it's Reacher's life, not mine. In the end I'm happy, and I'll be looking forward to the next installment as usual. Meantime, I'm thanking the publisher (via NetGalley) for the opportunity to read an advance review copy of this one.
A skillfully descriptive and masterfully intense story with Jack Reacher and a perfect cast of characters.
Jack Reacher is just starting an epic road trip, heading from Maine to San Diego. He only gets as far as New Hampshire, when he comes to a fork in the road. Left or right? He should go left to Portsmith, but the road to the right heads to a town he has never seen, Laconia, New Hampshire. It’s the town where his father grew up. He decides to take the detour to see the place his father talked about. Upon arriving he is mystified when he checks out city records, but can’t find any information about this dad. Was this the right town? Maybe his dad was really never there.
At the same time, a couple traveling from Canada to New York in a worn out Honda are experiencing car trouble thirty miles outside Laconia. Patty and Shorty have a suitcase weighted down with something to sell in New York and they want to maximize their profit, so a hotel stay was not in the plans. But the car was overheating. They see a unusual motel sign pointing down a tiny canopy road. They nurse the Honda several miles down the pot-holed tunnel of a road where they find a long and low hotel with twelve rooms and zero occupancy. It seems a little strange to be out in the middle of nowhere like this, but the car will go no further. The owner is welcoming, but everything seems a little off. Something just doesn’t feel right. And then the other rooms begin to fill, and a nightmare begins.
This is Jack Reacher #23, and I am happy to say I have loved every single one of Lee Child’s books. It’s just comfortable and fast reading. You know what your going to get when you open the cover. The story is going to be gripping and intense and Reacher is going to make things right. He always does. You may not like how he goes about it, but his rationale makes total sense.
LEE CHILD’s writing is skillfully descriptive and masterfully intense. He makes it easy to visualize the red painted motel with the white trim or the knocking of the engine of the old battered Honda. He takes us on a breathless ride of action and suspense, and easily juggles multiple plot lines before merging them together.
Jack Reacher at six-foot-five is his own man. He smart, strategic and strong and has the ability to find trouble even when he is asleep. And he will never turn a blind eye to someone who needs help. Unbeknownst to Reacher, Patty and Shorty need his help. Patty and Shorty’s characters are perfect for the story, and I particularly loved how Patti’s character showed strength and intelligence in a difficult situation.
Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher Delacorte Press
Published November 5, 2018