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Cover image for Past tense
Format:
Title:
Past tense
Author:
ISBN:
9781984833662
Publication Information:
[New York] Random House Large Print, [2018]
Physical Description:
544 pages (large print) ; 24 cm.
Series title(s):
Number in series:
23.
General Note:
Series numeration from www.goodreads.com.
Summary:
Jack Reacher has extended his thumb and hit the pavement. His plan is to follow the autumn sun on an epic trip across America, from Maine to California. He doesn't get far. On a country road in rural New Hampshire, deep in the New England woods, he sees a sign to a place he has never been: the town where his father was born. He thinks, What's one extra day? and takes the detour. At the same moment, in the same isolated area, a car breaks down. Two young Canadians are trying to drive to New York City to sell a treasure. Now they're stranded at a lonely motel in the middle of nowhere. The owners almost seem too friendly. It's a strange place...but it's all there is. The next morning in the city clerk's office, Reacher asks about the old family home. He's told no one named Reacher ever lived in town. He knows his father left and never returned. Now Reacher wonders, was he ever there in the first place? As Reacher explores his father's life, and strands of different stories begin to merge, he makes a shocking discovery: The present can be tough, but the past can be tense...and deadly.
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LP MYSTERY Child, L.
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Summary

Summary

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * Family secrets come back to haunt Jack Reacher in this electrifying thriller from "a superb craftsman of suspense" ( Entertainment Weekly ).

Jack Reacher hits the pavement and sticks out his thumb. He plans to follow the sun on an epic trip across America, from Maine to California. He doesn't get far. On a country road deep in the New England woods, he sees a sign to a place he has never been: the town where his father was born. He thinks, What's one extra day? He takes the detour.

At the same moment, in the same isolated area, a car breaks down. Two young Canadians had been on their way to New York City to sell a treasure. Now they're stranded at a lonely motel in the middle of nowhere. The owners seem almost too friendly. It's a strange place, but it's all there is.

The next morning, in the city clerk's office, Reacher asks about the old family home. He's told no one named Reacher ever lived in town. He's always known his father left and never returned, but now Reacher wonders, Was he ever there in the first place?

As Reacher explores his father's life, and as the Canadians face lethal dangers, strands of different stories begin to merge. Then Reacher makes a shocking discovery: The present can be tough, but the past can be tense . . . and deadly.

Praise for Past Tense

"Child is one writer who should never be taken for granted." -- The New York Times Book Review

"[Lee Child] shows no signs of slowing down. . . . Reacher is a man for whom the phrase moral compass was invented: His code determines his direction. . . . You need Jack Reacher." -- The Atlantic

"Superb . . . Child neatly interweaves multiple narratives, ratchets up the suspense (the reveal of the motel plot is delicious), and delivers a powerful, satisfying denouement. Fans will enjoy learning more of this enduring character's roots, and Child's spare prose continues to set a very high bar." -- Publishers Weekly (boxed and starred review)

"Another first-class entry in a series that continues to set the gold standard for aspiring thriller authors." -- Booklist (starred review)

"With his usual flair for succinctness and eye for detail, Child creates another rollicking Reacher road trip that will please fans and newcomers alike." -- Library Journal (starred review)


Author Notes

Lee Child is the pen name of Jim Grant, who was born in Coventry, England on October 29, 1954. He attended law school at Sheffield University, worked in the theater, and finally worked as a presentation director for Granada Television. After being laid off in 1995 because of corporate restructuring, he decided to write a book. The Killing Floor won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel and became the first book in the Jack Reacher series. In 2012, the first Jack Reacher film was released starring Tom Cruise. His book's, Worth Dying For and Past Tense, made the bestseller list in 2018.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Early in bestseller Child's superb 23rd Jack Reacher novel (after 2017's The Midnight Line), the peripatetic Reacher reaches a fork in a road in rural New Hampshire; he chooses the path heading to Laconia, "his late father's place of birth." At the same time, just 30 miles away, a young Canadian couple on their way south have car trouble and stop at a small motel, finding they're apparently its only guests. Reacher uncovers few traces of his father's existence, other than a 75-year-old assault case in which Stan Reacher is named. But he does stir up a world of trouble when he steps in to help a woman under attack and gives her assailant-the son of a well-connected underworld figure-a humiliating beating. While Reacher is dealing with a revenge posse, the Canadian couple discover just how strange their motel is. Child neatly interweaves multiple narratives, ratchets up the suspense (the reveal of the motel plot is delicious), and delivers a powerful, satisfying denouement. Fans will enjoy learning more of this enduring character's roots, and Child's spare prose continues to set a very high bar. Agent: Darley Anderson, Darley Anderson Literary. (Nov.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Kirkus Review

On his way to the West Coast, Jack Reacher takes a detour to New Hampshire to check out some family history in the 23rd book in Child's (The Midnight Line, 2017, etc.) series.Laconia, New Hampshire, is the setting for the latest showcase for Reacher's unconscious talent for stirring up the latent murderous violence in any bucolic setting he chooses to enter. In this case, the hubbub comes in the form of a local mob family after Reacher unleashes his own form of discipline on a younger member of the clan when the beardless thug attempts to assault a waitress. Paid muscle is soon on the way north from Boston, but both Reacher and his constant readers know that kind of goon is never a match for him. And so Reacher and reader are free to ponder the puzzling story about our hero's past. It seems that there is no official record of Reacher's dad, who grew up in Laconia, but there is evidence to suggest he may have played a hand in the murder of a sociopath terrorizing the town in his day. All of this is intercut with the ordeal of a young Canadian couple driving south to New York to score some money by selling the goods they've got hidden away in a suitcase. Their car breaks down just outside a remote motel that, they gradually discover, is not as welcoming as it seems. It doesn't take long to figure out what's waiting for them there, though it takes a bit too long for Reacher's story to join theirs. Nevertheless, the tone doesn't go blooey here, as it has in some of the recent series entries, and the way everything winds up for all the participants shows a satisfying generosity of storytelling spirit.The Reacher series gets back on its rough and rocky track with this latest companionable entry. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* En route to San Diego from Maine, Jack Reacher finds himself looking at a road sign saying Laconia, New Hampshire. Reacher recognizes the name; it's the place where his father was born. He decides to take a quick detour and have a look at the place. Meanwhile, not far away, a Canadian couple's car is acting up. They manage to drive it to an out-of-the-way motel before it breaks down. As Reacher tries to track down some proof that his father once lived in Laconia (official records show no trace of anyone named Reacher), the Canadians begin to suspect that the motel's owner isn't being entirely truthful with them, and that, despite his repeated promises, helping them get their car fixed is the last thing he wants to do. Child expertly juggles a pair of seemingly unrelated story lines, keeping them moving simultaneously, until, inevitably, the lines merge and violence ensues. The twenty-third Reacher novel springs some interesting surprises about Jack's family and contains one of Reacher's most cold-blooded acts of violence. As always, the prose is lean and efficient, the action scenes are well designed, and Reacher is as formidable an opponent as one could imagine (just this side of a Transformer). Another first-class entry in a series that continues to set the gold standard for aspiring thriller authors. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A Reacher novel travels the world with much more than a toothbrush. Think media avalanche.--David Pitt Copyright 2018 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

EVEN RUGGED HE-MEN like Jack Readier need to sleep once in a while. In PAST TENSE (Delacorte, $28.99), Lee Child's wandering hero is on an epic road trip in search of his roots. Reacher has made his way to his father's birthplace in Laconia, N.H., where he finds the remains of his family home in the rubble of Ryantown, a settlement that grew up around a tin mill that turned out to be an ecological disaster. At its peak, Reacher discovers, the mill "seemed to be universally accepted as a horrific tableau of clouds of smoke and raging fires and boiling metals, like a miniature hell." Intrigued, he sticks around to learn more. While Reacher is occupied with his research, another drama is unfolding at the isolated motel where a young Canadian couple, Shorty Fleck and Patty Sundstrom, are stranded when their clunker of a car breaks down. After a number of guests arrive carrying disposable luggage and archaic weapons, it slowly dawns on Shorty and Patty that "something is not right." By this time, they've been locked in their room, left to wonder, with mounting dread, exactly what kind of lethal games are being played. Child's writing seems unusually expressive in this novel, possibly because of its intimate subject matter. While making inquiries around town, Reacher is invited inside the home of a man who keeps 12 dogs. "The screen door creaked all the way open ahead of him, and slapped all the way shut behind him, which were in his limited experience the eternal sounds of a New England summer." It's a startlingly sweettempered image, coming from a big bruiser like Reacher - and a reminder that Child is one writer who should never be taken for granted. MYSTERY LOVERS READ for Story - except when we read for character. DARK SACRED NIGHT (Little, Brown, $29), the latest novel from Michael Connelly, has a narrative that keeps veering off the main line and onto side tracks. Harry Bosch, the semiretired hero of Connelly's police procedurals, is obsessed with the unsolved coldcase murder of Daisy Clayton, a 15-year-old runaway whose short career as a prostitute ended when her body - used, abused and washed clean with bleach - was found in an alley. On this case, Renée Ballard, a young cop attached to the Hollywood Division of the L.A.P.D., makes a terrific partner for the old lion. She does the methodical inside work while Bosch rashly steps on the toes of the Mexican Mafia and nearly gets killed. The plot is too disjointed, but Connelly's robust characters more than compensate: from Daisy's drug-addicted mother to a murdered tattoo artist whose only body art was the crucifix around her neck. One of the most vivid is a sensitive cop who committed suicide before the story even opens, but lives on through the poetic entries left behind in his notes. "Subject is a human tumbleweed," he writes of one person of interest to the police. "Goes where the wind blows him. Will blow away tomorrow. Nobody will miss him." SOME PEOPLE welcome the night: hotel managers, nightclub pianists, "Saturday Night Live" interns. Also burglars like Junior Bender, the personable protagonist of Timothy Hallinan's comic mysteries. In NIGHTTOWN (Soho Crime, $26.95), a woman in a cheap orange wig hires Junior to break into the Los Angeles home of an eccentric recluse, lately deceased, and steal an antique doll. Junior wasn't born yesterday, so he figures there's something inside this doll. But before he can pull off the heist, he's got to calm his nerves because, in his professional opinion, "the place absolutely hummed with malice." Hallinan is exceedingly funny when describing colorful crooks like Louie the Lost, a getaway driver with no sense of direction, and Stinky Tetweil, a grossly fat fence who surrounds himself with exquisite objets d'art. Hallinan's eclectic narrative also extends to insights about 19th-century spirit photography ("It would be kitsch if it weren't so callous") and a Native American legend about human shadows. This one's good for what ails you. was this absolutely necessary? To pull the plug on Frank Elder, I mean. John Harvey's British sleuth solves his last case in BODY & SOUL (Pegasus, $25.95), further depleting the fast-disappearing ranks of wise and compassionate detectives. To soothe the sting, Elder is reunited with his estranged daughter, Katherine. Headstrong and willful even at the best of times, she becomes self-destructive at others: After her love affair with an artist turns sour, she tries to kill herself. Then he's found murdered in his studio. Well-rounded, sympathetic characters have always been a hallmark of Harvey's work, and he's at his best here. Katherine's mood swings are uncomfortably real, as she's desperately in love one minute and the next just plain desperate. Cad though he is, her feckless lover, the painter Anthony Winter, is still recognizably human. But the richest character of all is Elder himself, tough on the job but stopped in his tracks by a song. What is it about that Billie Holiday standard "Body and Soul"? His reply: "The helplessness of it, I suppose." Marilyn STASIO has covered crime fiction for the Book Review since 1988. Her column appears twice a month.


Library Journal Review

When Jack Reacher hits the road, fans know there will be blood, beatings, clever helpmates, military jargon, calculated risks, and a few good men (and women) met. This 23rd novel involves dual detours. Reacher is on his way from Maine to San Diego when he spots a road sign: Laconia, NH. That's where his father grew up, so he decides to make some genealogical inquiries in town. Not far from Reacher, Canadian travelers Shorty and Patty pull into a remote motel, their car on its last legs. They're the only guests and the proprietors seem a little odd. Of course things get worse for them and for Reacher, who pummels a local, well-connected bully when he's not poring over census records and playing matchmaker for two government workers. Child brings the two narratives together in a satisfying way, doling out inside jokes, imaginative fight scenes (one in a library), family secrets, and some observational humor. And all that happens before Reacher shows up at the motel. VERDICT With his usual flair for succinctness and eye for detail, Child creates another rollicking Reacher road trip that will please fans and newcomers alike. [See Prepub Alert, 5/7/18.]-Liz French, Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.