The B&N Podcast: Lee Child on Jack Reacher’s Quirks

Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.

This week on the B&N Podcast, the bestselling author Lee Child returns to our studio to talk about his 23rd adventure with Jack Reacher, one in which Child’s hero finds himself in a rural New England town that looms large in his own family’s past. But nothing about Laconia, New Hampshire is exactly as its seems, and what Reacher encounters here takes him into some very creepy territory, as Past Tense  provides a few chills along with familiar thrills – nothing that Reacher can’t, in the end, handle. When Lee Child joined us to talk about his remarkable run of page-turners, beloved by fans and critics alike, he revealed why part of the fun of writing Reacher stories is the confounding oddness of his hero – and why a single three-word sentence that crops up again and again is a theme that his readers have learned to look for.


Family secrets come back to haunt Jack Reacher in this electrifying thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child, “a superb craftsman of suspense” (Entertainment Weekly).

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.

See all books by Lee Child

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Photo of Lee Child (c) Axel Dupeux