Book Review: Past Tense by Lee Child


Book Title and Author: Past Tense by Lee Child
Series: Jack Reacher # 23
Publication Date and Publisher: November 5, 2018 by Delacorte Press
Genre: Crime Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Pages: pages
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Date Read: October 28, 2018 (e-arc)

4.5 Stars


Goodreads Synopsis:

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.


My Review:

One thing that I look forward to every year is a brand new Jack Reacher novel. Past Tense is Lee Child’s 23rd addition to the series and having read every single one of the books in the series, I can definitely say that it’s fantastic and one of my all-time favorite books in the series. It’s written a bit differently than Child’s usual style since it’s told in two different storylines, one about Reacher and one about a young Canadian couple, and you really aren’t quite sure how the two storylines are connected until they converge around the three-fourths mark of the book (when Reacher comes along to help fight off the baddies and save the day!).

Reacher, my favorite 6’5″, 250 lb, ex-Army MP is, as usual, on the road. This time he’s walking/hitchhiking from Maine to California until an unexpected stop in New Hampshire leaves him at a crossroads near Laconia, a place he only knows about because it’s his father’s birthplace–the place Stan Reacher left home at age 17 to join the Marines and never, ever returned. Reacher’s always a curious kinda guy and figures a one day detour to see the place his dad grew up, possibly see if any family is still alive and in the area, and dig into his family history is worth his time. What can it possibly hurt, right?

Well, since trouble seems to follow Reacher around like a magnet, you know there’s going to be some kind of situation Reacher has to deal with, which means lots and lots of action, people coming after him for revenge, and him handling it in pure Reacher style. I do love the fact that Reacher can kick anyone’s butt with his fighting skills and while I’m not a violent person, I do love the action that Child writes in these books! Sure, you might have to suspend belief at times, but I’m 100% for the hero being able to take out the bad guys and bullies every single time, single-handledly. Yes, I admit it, I have a crush on Jack Reacher (as long as it’s not Tom Cruise as Reacher that is…).

In another storyline, Patty and Shorty have left Canada to head on their own adventure to live the American dream…a new life in Florida after they sell whatever priceless possession they are lugging around in a heavy, old suitcase. But their beat-up car has other plans for them as it stalls near Laconia by a remote hotel run by some very creepy, icky characters. I soon thought of Norman Bates although I think Patty and Shorty’s situation is much more frightening and a lot more desperate!! Where is Reacher when you need him?

As I said earlier, the two storylines converge about three-quarters way into the book and when it does, it’s explosive! The palpitating desperation and tense build-up from Patty and Shorty’s storyline make for an edge of your seat, thrill ride read! When you find out what’s happening at the creepy motel, you’ll be as horrified as I was!

Definitely another electrifying, must-read for Reacher fans! Actually, I think Past Tense can be read as a standalone, which is not always the case this many books into a series so if you like a good mystery and suspense, this is a perfect read!

Child not only knows how to write a heart-pounding, action-packed thriller, but he knows exactly what his audience wants and he has, once again, delivered with Past Tense. Child keeps this series fresh, imaginative, and engaging with each new book and not every author can do that twenty-three books into a series! By far one of my favorites in the series, and I highly recommend! It publishes on November 5, 2018, so make sure to pick up a copy!

**Thank you Netgalley and Random House-Delacorte Press for an ARC copy to read in exchange for my fair and honest review.**

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20 thoughts on “Book Review: Past Tense by Lee Child

    1. It’s such a good one. I do like that so many can be read as standalone books, but then again, I’m a stickler for reading in order, lol. I hope you get back to it one day too! Thanks, Jonetta!

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  1. I’ve always fancied reading Jack Reacher (if I can get the image of Tom Cruise out of my head!) but starting what would a 20+ book series is a little daunting. I might give this a go though if you say it can be read as a standalone. Wonderful review!

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    1. Lol, I know! The good thing is Child describes Reacher quite frequently, so you don’t forget he’s big and menacing looking…totally non-Cruise 😂. It is so long now but several, not just this one, can be read as standalone books, which is a good thing! Thanks, Cathy!

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    1. Lol, yes! I did read Child is making a TV series of the books since readers wanted more Reacher onscreen just no Cruise Haha! So he said the actor would fit the Reacher profile…whew! I think I’m taller than Cruise 😂 and that always drove me crazy! Thanks Mackenzie!

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    1. Thanks Jen! It’s a good series but so long, lol. Thank you, you too! We’re trying to get back into the normal school routine today as it’s been thrown out the window the past couple of weeks (thank goodness with homeschooling you can do school nights and weekends!). I slept in my bed last night, so I’m feeling much better! Have a great week! 🤗❤

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  2. Good review, Stephanie. I really liked the two separate story lines. Reacher is one of my favorite fictional characters. I had to put the book (well, ebook) down several times when the Patty/Shorty story line became so tense. I also wanted to think about what could possibly be going on. Nope, I’m not going to give it away either. I’m OK with Tom Cruise as Reacher. He was sure not big enough but I think he got Reacher’s attitude right. It’s in the acting, not the size.

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    1. Thank you. They were both great storylines! It was so intense with Patty and Shorty! I didn’t hate the movies with Tom Cruise; I actually enjoyed the 2nd one and he did have great attitude. I’m just not a Tom Cruise fan period. I think the Reacher movies were the first time that I’d watched him in a movie since I was 9 or 10 and made my mom take me 6 or 7 times to go see Top Gun. She was so sick of that movie but I loved it. I ended up marrying an Air Force pilot (not Navy, I know), so that movie might have been triggered something LOL. They are making the Reacher books into a tv series, so I’m interested who they will pick to play Reacher. I had read that the Rock was interested, but he has his show Ballers and some reason I don’t see him as Reacher. He’s definitely got size and attitude, but I just don’t see it and I do like the Rock. I guess it will be interesting to see; in the meantime, we’ll have to wait for a new Reacher book!


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