Past Tense by Lee Child

Past Tense Lee ChildJack Reacher is doing a little research into his family history. The journey takes him to Laconia, New Hampshire, the town where his Marine father grew up.

At the same time, Patty Sundstrom and her not-very-bright boyfriend Shorty Fleck escape their boring lives in Canada in a worn-out Honda Civic heading for New York City with nothing more than a plan and a big heavy suitcase. When the car overheats in New Hampshire, they see a make-shift sign for a motel and follow the road through a tunnel, then into gloomy woods, and eventually pull up to a fixed-up old roadside motel which is unoccupied but for the owners. The next morning, their car mysteriously will not start.

In Laconia, Reacher finds trouble as Reacher tends to do. He interrupts an assault and puts the bully in a hospital. Unfortunately, the bully is connected with Boston mobsters so the local police try their best to shoo Reacher out of town before retribution rains down. Jack, always just a guy trying to get along, promises to leave. Several times.

Meanwhile back at the motel, the innkeepers are becoming creepier and creepier. Patty and Shorty attempt various plots to escape, but they are thwarted at every juncture. And then, the other guests start showing up.

The two stories intersect in a glorious and elegant battle between good and evil.

For me, Patty and Shorty’s story was uncomfortably reminiscent of the Bates motel and I found myself wanting to reach through the pages and shake some sense into the characters shouting: “Have you never seen a Hitchcock movie?” The release of tension was welcomed when we return to Reacher’s journey into his father’s past. It almost feels cozy to follow the footsteps of the giant with a hair-trigger temper. In the end, I enjoyed the book very much.

Mysteritas: do you read thrillers? What do you like about them?


10 thoughts on “Past Tense by Lee Child”

  1. I do read thrillers, althought I’ve never read a Reacher novel. I like the “excitement.” A cozy inspires me to grab a cup of tea and curl up under a blanket. A good thriller inspires me to fasten my seatbelt!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think you and I are the only two readers of thrillers in the world who have not read a Jack Reacher book. I read thrillers; I like thrillers; I am glad they are not happening to me; I take a deep breath when I finish one.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Actually, that is how I feel about most books I read, either I can’t go where the book goes or I absolutely NEVER want to go where the book goes. However, in the end, there is some resolution, even if it was not the one I imagined when I started the book.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of Reachers. The author is a master of the page turner! In general, I don’t read many thrillers, but when I do, it’s for the roller coaster effect.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I read thrillers. Duh. I love the push against the ticking clock, or time bomb. How in the world is the terrible event going to be stopped? How will they be saved? Will the heroine get there in time? Will the world, or their little piece of it, be forever changed?

    I’ve read some Reacher’s, just not all of them. And man, did the Jack Reacher community go up in arms when Tom Cruise was given the nod to play Reacher in the first movie. They quieted down a bit after they saw it, but you’d’ve thought Cruise was eloping with their twin daughters. Yeah, both of them.

    Liked by 2 people

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