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review 2019-01-01 04:37
If this wasn't a Reacher book, I'd probably like it more...
Past Tense: (Jack Reacher 23) - Lee Child

Shorty and Patty are a young couple from a rural Canadian community on their way to New York City to sell off some beloved possessions in order to make enough money to go to Florida and start their lives. Which sounds like a great idea (assuming they're not ripped off in NYC) -- if only they'd ever done basic maintenance on the car they're driving. They end up breaking down outside a small town in New Hampshire, nowhere near a decent city.

 

The owners of a newly refurbished hotel outside town take pity on them and rent them a room for a little cheaper than they should and offer to help with getting their car going again -- they even invite them to dinner their first night with them. Yes, I said first night -- home repairs aren't doing the job, so they have to call a tow truck/mechanic to fix the car -- which is going to pretty much wipe the couple out. But what choice do they have?

 

Still, something doesn't seem right about the whole thing. Shorty's a trusting guy and rolls with everything that happens, but Patty smells something. She thinks a lot -- incidentally, she thinks a lot like Reacher. Which is annoying when you're reading a book starring Reacher that you get a clone. But it's good for her and Shorty and just might end up saving their lives. It'd be better for the both of them if she had any of Reacher's skills other than his ability to analyze a situation, but, I guess you take what you can get.

 

Meanwhile, Jack Reacher comes into the same town those two are stranded outside of. He was passing near by and on a lark decides to stop in Laconia, his father's birthplace. He's never met anyone from that side of the family, and his father said almost nothing about his childhood experiences there. So Reacher's a bit curious about the town -- he doesn't even know if there might be a cousin or three around. It turns out that finding anything about his family is almost impossible in the official records -- and there's a decent chance that there's no one around who knows anything about them that's not in the official records.

 

While that's going on, in the middle of the night Reacher encounters an attempted sexual assault and, ahem, dissuades the attacker. This attacker doesn't press charges or anything, but it turns out that he's connected to a significant crime family in the Northeast. Reacher is informed about this and is encouraged to leave town soon by a former MP turned local law enforcement officer that he's become acquainted with. Reacher doesn't like to be told what to do -- by anyone -- and there's something about his father's past that has him more curious than he's been before and wants to track that down.

 

These two stories run independently of each other, while happening very near each other. Reacher does come to the hotel and asks a couple of questions about his quest about the same time that Patty's getting suspicious, but the two don't cross paths.

 

Now, I didn't right down the page number when Reacher's story intersects with Shorty's and Patty's -- but I do know that it hadn't happened by page 245 (of 382). Which is pretty astounding, and is definitely a new way to bring Reacher into the main events of a novel. I doubt it's a trick Child can pull off again, but I'd like to see him try. If he doesn't show up, bad things will happen -- and will likely continue to happen -- but it's hard to say just how bad it'd all be. But Reacher does show up, and he does his usual thing, and many more people live than otherwise would have. Which isn't to suggest that no one dies after he shows up, it's just that most of them aren't the people that seemed likely to die 30 pages earlier.

 

There's little violence until the end of the book (there's Reacher's dissuasion, and two other minor -- by Reacher's standards -- fights), but once the fighting starts, it doesn't stop until there's a whole lot of violence and bloodshed. Tension and unease that's been mounting slowly over the whole book, are unleashed - and most of the last twenty percent (or so, I'm just guessing) of the novel is as violent and action-packed as you could hope for. Once that switch is flipped, it's on.

 

This wasn't my favorite Reacher novel -- by far -- but it was a really engrossing read. I enjoyed it -- and really think if Jack Reacher hadn't been the fly in the ointment for the people trying to manipulate and hurt Shorty and Patty, I think I'd have enjoyed this much more. But I expect more from Lee Child than I do other writers, and this time, I just don't think he pulled it off. I'm willing to bet he does better next year, and I'll content myself with that hope.

 

2018 Library Love Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/12/31/past-tense-by-lee-child-if-this-wasnt-a-reacher-book-id-probably-like-it-more
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review 2018-12-17 08:43
Reacher is finding more about his father
Past Tense: (Jack Reacher 23) - Lee Child

Reacher was on the road again. He was stopping at a middle of nowhere just to find where his father Stan Reacher was when he was young. 

 

Laconia. It is in the wood. 

 

Now he found out the he was a birdwatcher. Kind of news to Reacher. 

 

While not too far away, there is a motel setup to trap selected loungers for a game. We didn't find out what the game was but kind of guessed it would be murderous. No way the organizers would allow kidnapping victims to survive and call the authority. Patty and Shorty. 

 

The reveal is good. A bit too short for the action part when the hunt beginning and ended so fast that there isn't much time for the bad guys to tell us why they are doing this. 

 

The settings up of the trap is a bit too slow for most readers. I get a bit impatient with it as well. This is the few books that Reacher didn't attract any new female companion, so I would forgive him a bit for acting out all lone wolf and stuff. The part that other characters were afraid he got upset if he found out that his father might not be that good after all is also sweet. Reacher really didn't care that much one way or the other as he already have a firm image of his father. 

 

 

Read this for Door 15 book task. 

Read any book with an orange or red cover or with nuts, chocolate or coins on the cover, set in The Netherlands or Germany, by a Dutch or German author, or with canals or beer on the cover.

 

 

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review 2018-12-11 14:31
Similar Story Archs: "Past Tense" by Lee Child
Past Tense: (Jack Reacher 23) - Lee Child



I have said elsewhere that crime fiction seems to flourish in times of stress, such as our era now. I fully expect more great detective fiction in the near future as it is one of the few genres that can show society from top to bottom: the detective, investigator or whatever, in many of the best novels, talks to both the monied and the moneyless at the same time against a puzzling foreground as broad and as complex as the society, or the human beings, that carry out and solve seemingly deeply baffling crimes at the outset of any great novel.

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-12-03 19:12
What an embarrassment
Past Tense: (Jack Reacher 23) - Lee Child

The 23rd outing for Jack Reacher  After leaving the US Army as a major in its military police at age 36, Reacher roams the United States taking odd jobs and investigating suspicious and frequently dangerous situations. In his latest outing he visits a town in New England where he believes his father was born. At the same time two young Canadians trying to get to New York remain for the night at the same motel Reacher is staying....and that's as good as it gets. Here we have an author Lee Child who has created a very memorable character, an antihero with unconventional ways and methods dealing fair play whenever he sees wrong, living off his own wits and his own code of justice. At the start of the Reacher series the writing was exciting, told in the first person in a very crisp style with very believable story lines. If ever there was a writer in love with his own success it must be Lee Child. You can imagine his publishers..."OK Lee it's that time again we need a new novel to keep all your fans happy! it doesn't matter about the plot or the story just include Jack and we will all be happy!" The result is probably the most absurd and boring book I have had the displeasure to read this year. Just think about the plot....Reacher arrives looking for his dad's past in a deadend town..meanwhile our two Canadians Patty and Shorty are trapped in the same motel as Reacher and it would appear the the motel's owners have a hidden agenda for our two young travellers. That hidden agenda is not very original and soon becomes very obvious...

 

How can anyone class Past Tense as a good story. It is only published because it has a winning formula and a well known author and so it can therefore be a commercial success. A very disappointing read and it saddens me to see such rubbish published...hang your head in shame Lee Child.

 

 

 

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review 2018-09-08 17:39
A force to be reckoned with.
Past Tense: (Jack Reacher 23) - Lee Child

Jack Reacher is “a force to be reckoned with”. He moves along at a steady pace until he doesn’t. I have to admit this is my first Reacher novel, have seen the movies of course, but I enjoyed the read much more than the movies. He seems to have a bit of insight as to problems and trouble (hind brain), just shows up at the right time to handle said problem(s). This was an interesting read and at the beginning, I didn’t think I would enjoy this journey, but surprisingly, did. The path is a bit twisted, the outcome...well, let’s just say, “satisfying”. Good read with a bite.

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