The 26th book in the “Reacher” series, this is the first to be co-written by Lee Child and his brother Andrew Child. Typically, I avoid fiction books where there are two authors. I know some authors have now made a bit of a cottage industry of lending their names to books that may include characters they created, but they seem to have little participation from there on out.
I had read interviews with Mr. Child where he stated that he was too old to keep writing so was passing the baton to his younger brother. I was interested to see if I could tell the difference between the books he’d written alone and this one, I can’t and I truly don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad one. I own all the previous Reacher novels and I enjoy them, for me there are perfect holiday reading or if I’ve just read something heavy and want something of a palate cleanser. I know what’s going to happen and I can take comfort in the fact that I don’t have to pay attention too much to the plot.
This particular book centres on election fraud and international interference in said events. I’m not naive enough to believe that this wasn’t a deliberate choice, given the US presidential election last year, and to a degree it works as it grounds the story in a contemporary setting. Jack Reach remains a somewhat anachronistic character who refuses to carry a mobile phone and pays for everything in cash. If the pandemic has taught us anything, its that this is becoming harder to do and I will be interested to see if that will be addressed in the future or if Reacher will venture off into a parallel world.
I enjoyed the book and I look forward to reading the next one, particularly if Mr. Child the younger begins to do things his way. I’m not looking for a complete 180 on character and plot device, just some small touches to let us know that its him writing it. The closest example I can think of is Felix Francis, who helped his father, Dick, write some of his later novels before stepping out on his own once his father died. The books retained the environment Dick France has written about, horse racing and its associated businesses, but they are undoubtably his books not his fathers.