Past Tense by Lee Child

PastTenseI haven’t read all the Jack Reacher books yet but I can say I really enjoyed this one, despite not having read all of them in order. Big developments about Reacher’s past in this one.

It’s a slow simmer throughout the book with Reacher’s visit to Laconia New Hampshire, trying to find his father’s childhood home.  Naturally there are problems.  It’s as if Stan Reacher didn’t exist….at first.  There is a bit of genealogy involved when Reacher checks government offices for census info.  He’s trying to find his deceased  father’s home and I can say, if you are interested in a trail of family history, the census is the place to start.

Life is going along smoothly until he’s awakened at 3:01 a.m. and gets into an altercation.  Hey, it’s to save a lady from a thug so of course someone gets beat up.  He has to get into a few fights.  The first one starts up another spoke of the story about retaliation.  We revisit this a few times.

The other story line is about a young Canadian couple stranded near Laconia after their beat up Honda gave out. Patty Sundstrom and Shorty Fleck are broke.  They have a heavy fat suitcase with some treasure inside which they intend to sell when they reach NYC.  Then the plan is to head to Florida and open a windsurfing combo t-shirt business and live near the beach.

When they see a Motel sign they know they can coast the car in and spend the night, hoping to get a mechanic to look at their car then be on their way. Then the creepiness starts and this nice Canadian couple are in bad situation.  You like this couple so you do care what happens to them.  I really wanted to know what was in that heavy suitcase and it was revealed at the end.  Made me smile.

The separate stories eventually converge and then the fireworks begin. So much action all at once for the last quarter of the book.  I couldn’t put it down by this point.

There were a few loose ends, in my opinion, that I wish had been addressed.  If you haven’t read it then this may not make sense but it’s not a spoiler either. Why did the ornithologist want to speak to Reacher so badly?  What happened to the rough and tumble fruit pickers who wanted to continue a vendetta? The minor character Burke – he clearly had a mysterious past and I think it may have had some bearing on the story.

Much thanks to NetGalley for allowing me access to this book prior to publication.  I really enjoyed it and gobbled it down over a weekend.  I was not compensated for my review and all opinions, positive and negative, are my own.

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