I enjoyed the first Jack Reacher movie. But I had not read the books, so I didn’t understand why readers were upset. I thought Tom Cruise being a little guy and kicking ass was cool. But once I read one, I understood: Jack Reacher fans feel the way I feel about The Maze Runner Trilogy.
Past Tense is the latest entry and my first Jack Reacher novel, but I was easily able to jump into the world and the story despite this being 23 books into the series.
Jack Reacher is traveling and sees the sign for Laconia, where his father is from. Reacher decides to stop and dig into his family history. Meanwhile, an unsuspecting couple stops at a motel with a very heavy and secretive suitcase. Their car is having trouble and the people who live there offer to help them. But quickly the couple find their “help” is something completely different.
About chapter 20, I really felt that Past Tense had turned into a taffy machine. Lee Child drags the story along stretching out portions of side stories that aren’t needed and detracted from the most interesting story. These side stories pose no real danger or tension bogging down the pacing.
The writing suffers from the same pacing. It feels like Child is getting paid by the word. Just say he closed the browser instead of describing each minuscule step. I only kept reading because I wanted to know what was going on with the couple trapped in the hotel; that was the most interesting thread in the book.
It’s the couple story that seems most central and it’s easy to see how Reacher’s search for his family name intersects with this. This was the story that kept me reading. If I had not been invested in their story (at first, I thought it was going to be a psycho moment but expands into a more intriguing story), I would have just stopped reading.
While I enjoy the thrill of the movies, I truly saw the character by reading the book. I was given new understanding to what fans were seeing. While this book only receives three stars from me, I have enjoyed getting to see the literary side of Jack Reacher.
I received an ARC for review; all opinions are my own.