PAST TENSE (Jack Reacher #23.) – Lee Child

Not as good as The Midnight Line, but I did enjoy this Reacher tale more than a few previous which I felt were just a tab flat.

Past TenseTwo story lines eventually collide; but actually the non-Reacher thread was more gripping that that of our super hero.

A Canadian couple heading for a new start in California in a semi wreck of a car, grind to a halt at a motel in the forests on New Hampshire. The owner and his three helpers assess the couple and decide that they are perfect for their purposes. Young and sturdy and fairly resourceful, they slowly realise that they, the only guests there, are not going to be allowed to leave.

Lee Child builds these two characters beautifully as we get to know and like the solid Shorty and the brighter Patty. Their love and loyalty for each other becomes apparent as their efforts to escape are thwarted one by one. Then other guests begin to arrive, and the reason for their incarceration comes into focus with horrifying detail.

Who? Oh, yes, Reacher.

Well, the big dangerous hero is in the nearest small town, trying, out of curiosity, to find out more about his father, Stan Reacher, who, now dead for thirty years, was believed to have come from there. His research leads him, via some more interesting characters, to an overgrown tin mill where Stan’s father had been a foreman in the 1930s. He has a run-in with some guy, molesting a woman near his room in the middle of the night. This guy gets the Reacher treatment and some broken bones, which attracts the attention of some Boston hoodlums as well as the local police who want him to leave town before more trouble starts.

Lee Child 1

Lee Child – author

I liked the interaction between Reacher and a female cop, an ex military policeman like Reacher himself, as well as the local lawyer, the helpful file clerk, and the elderly census specialist whose loyal assistance goes well beyond the call of duty.

Eventually, looking for a place to spend the night, Reacher is directed to the same motel, in time to affect the outcome, of course…

Sadly, a contradiction or two spoil a good story just a little, but far be it for me to spoil that for the reader. See if you can spot them?

Thank you, Penguin Random House, South Africa, for this ARC.

ISBN 9780593078204

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About peterjearle

Writer of thriller novels. 6 Published: 'Purgatory Road', 'The Barros Pawns', and the Detective Dice Modise Series:'Hunter's Venom - #1' 'Medicinal Purposes Only - #2', and 'Children Apart - #3; and 'Tribes of Hillbrow'; all from Southern Africa.
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