You must’ve been hiding under a very big rock if all the kerfuffle about Lee Child and Jack Reacher somehow failed to ping your radar. But here’s a recap: about 18 months ago, Lee announced that he felt he was getting on a bit, aged 65, for writing many more hard-hitting Reacher thrillers. Indeed, it’s been obvious in recent books that Reacher himself has been slowing down, feeling his years and taking more punches than he used to. One option would have been to kill off the central character, a la Arthur Conan Doyle. Or there’s the Dick / Mary / Felix Francis alternative…
Like all fans of J Reacher, rtd, I was both alarmed and surprised when it was revealed that younger brother Andrew was going to write The Sentinel alongside Lee Child, but I bought the book anyway. I’ve read 24 of the earlier books in the series, have an open mind and was of course curious.
After the first fight I felt that I’d made a mistake. That I should have let the sleeping dog die. Jack rides into a town. Jack walks into a bar. Jack has a big fight. He wins it of course, and many are the righteous statements he makes while doing so. Hurrah … or rather; So What?
Maybe a third of the way into the book – I’ve started so I’ll finish – I was enjoying it. By halfway through I was gripped, and read the last third or so straight off, entirely entertained, and who can ask for more than that?
Reacher is no longer the weary-sounding older guy of the last two novels. He is revitalised. It’s like the reboot of a franchise at the movies – the actors are all different but the characters are close to the originals. This is how it felt. There is a new Jack in town. And I’m glad about that.
The plot is familiar, as are the main characters, and although it takes a while for the revived Reacher to feel like the new normal, he does. I’ve pre-ordered the next. Bring it on, as they say, apparently.
Reviewed by Frank Westworth
The Sentinel by Lee and Andrew Child is available at Amazon
TWO WRONGS: starts with great sex, ends in sudden death…
Find TWO WRONGS at Amazon