Past Tense by Lee Child

This was definitely an intriguing and fast-paced story, and yet an unexpected one for Jack Reacher, and I loved the different take!

The present can be tense . . . 
A young couple trying to get to New York City are stranded at a lonely motel in the middle of nowhere. Before long they’re trapped in an ominous game of life and death.
But the past can be worse . . .
Meanwhile, Jack Reacher sets out on an epic road trip across America. He doesn’t get far. Deep in the New England woods, he sees a sign to a place he has never been – the town where his father was born. But when he arrives he is told no one named Reacher ever lived there. Now he wonders: who’s lying?
As the tension ratchets up and these two stories begin to entwine, the stakes have never been higher for Reacher.

I have to confess firstly, that I’ve been re-reading a lot of the early Jack Reacher novels before this one came out in paperback, as I haven’t read them for a while and it’s easily one of my favourite series. So I was definitely excited for a new one, and oh wow it did not disappoint!

The main thing I noticed was that it was fairly different to the rest of the series in that there were two parallel stories happening that didn’t converge for absolutely ages. Normally with Jack Reacher it’s all-in straight away, no hesitation, head-butting people left and right! This one however, took some time to build up, which I found refreshing and really enjoyed.

Child focused much of the novel on Reacher’s past and family history, which I loved – he managed to do this in such a way that he didn’t take away from Reacher’s independent and isolated nature but still revealed enough of his relationship with his family to satisfy the reader. It was a clever and fine balance between the two and it worked really well. Reacher’s attitude towards his family history was just as I’d expect it to be, curious rather than passionately interested.

The other half of the novel, which followed the story of Patty and Shorty, was honestly the most mysterious story I’ve read in a while. I genuinely couldn’t figure out what was going on at the motel they stayed at, and was definitely not prepared for the turn it took. Rather than have Reacher really involved in this part of the story, I liked that Child instead let it play out on its own. The ending wrapped it up really nicely, and there were some finer details which linked everything together. I won’t say too much about this part of the novel in case of spoilers, but it’s a great story.

I always love the Jack Reacher books, but this one had the sense of something different about it which I really enjoyed. Reacher is a brilliant character, and I always look forward to a new Jack Reacher book! Would absolutely 100% recommend this.

Past Tense
Lee Child
Bantam Press, 4th April 2019