I have taken a little while to write this review of the latest Jack Reacher book. Being a Jack Reacher fan, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t just jump to a conclusion straight after reading it. I wanted to check that after reading 22 Lee Child novels, I didn’t want to confuse previous books in the Jack Reacher series with this book, as we all know Jack Reacher has changed kind of evolved since the first book in the series “Killing Floor”.
PAST TENSE – The Review
After waiting a whole year between reading the last Lee Child book titled Midnight Line – SEE REVIEW HERE, I have had the opportunity to look at lots of other books that have really good strong characters in that are like Jack Reacher. Now my thoughts of the previous book were that it was good, not the best Jack Reacher book but as with any Lee Child book a decent read. This is my issue with the latest Jack Reacher book “Past Tense”, I’ve been used to the old Jack Reacher character, fast paced, act now sort the consequences out later, a guy who was a force of nature in any situation. Now the new Reacher is maybe a tad ponderous, slightly slower pace. Still hard as nails but would rather sort things out by thinking things through.
Now there is nothing wrong with the new Reacher, nothing at all. The book is a great read, the plot keeps you guessing the characters are intriguing yet there is something that seems to be missing from this latest book.
What’s the Good?
The good as is always the Lee Child writing. The classic description of vast land, roads and where they could lead. Even the sense that you are in the open spaces ready to look out and choose your own path whist in the USA. I love this part of Lee Child books, the descriptive characters and the way that they interact, you can almost generalise who these people are without even meeting them.
The plot is also clever, I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read the book yet but Jack Reacher is wondering as usual where to go next. He sets out on an road trip across America but doesn’t quite get very far. In the New England woods, he sees a sign to a place he has never been – the town where his father was born. When he arrives at the town, he is told no one named Reacher ever lived there. Straight away you think why would people lie about this? And then you are into the book, clever Lee Child eh!! The other part of the plot is that there is a young couple trying to get to New York City who stop off looking for a hotel and wander into a motel in the middle of nowhere. They then become trapped as their car won’t start and you know that this isn’t going to end well.
Lee Child weaves these two stories together really well and this is what kept me reading as I was interested to know about Jack Reacher and his family heritage.
Is this book like any movies?
If you have read anything on my website before, you already know that I am an action movie fan. I know the books which liken to a movie and this latest book by Lee Child is no exception. Straight away as the plot thickened at the Motel and the young couple became more and more intense, I pictured a film. Jean Claude Van Damme (remember him) starred in a 90’s film titled “Hard Target”. Now Hard Target was a well directed film by John Woo who at the time was one of my favourite directors. The plot of the film is that Van Damme is forced to join a game whereby trained hunters have to kill him. Cue lots of high Van Damme kicks, shocked facial expressions and crazy action stunts. This film and the plot is quite similar to the latest Jack Reacher book called “Past Tense”. Yes watch it and see for yourself and let me know if you agree with me.
What is the Bad?
There isn’t really anything bad in the book, for me the author Lee Child doesn’t really write any bad books. All Jack Reacher books have been either Amazing or great/good. This one doesn’t quite fit into the Amazing category, not because it hasn’t got good parts to it, more the fact that Lee Child has so many top books that this just doesn’t quite reach the heights of some of the others. This is going to happen when you have written 23 books with the same character as we are all comparing each latest one to our personal favourite.
One thing that I found in this book was the pace of the plot. For me it was slightly too slow but this does help with the setting of the various scenes so that we can picture what certain areas and towns are like. We can even imagine what lifestyle the people have just from the pace of the book and the low interaction between certain people in the community. The last section of the book picks up pace, mainly due to Jack Reacher being on the hunt which is really what we all want to read, its maybe that this latest Lee /child book takes a little while to get there.
Great fights, Reacher family history and classic bad guy menace does mean that I like this book. I don’t love it but would buy it as a fan and also as a present for one of my friends. There was a slight air of dissatisfaction once I had finished it, mainly as I knew that it was going to be another year until I got to read another Lee Child book but also because I had put so much anticipation into this that it perhaps didn’t reach my high level of excitement.
You as a Reacher fan will buy the book, lets face it that is just what we do. I just have this slight nagging sense that maybe the game has moved on, Jack Reacher (speaks quietly) may be getting a little old now or maybe I just have too high expectations.
A brilliant alternative book series that I have really enjoyed so far is Victor the Assassin by Tom Wood. SEE THE BOOK REVIEWS HERE
Let me know your thoughts in the comments box below.