The B&N Podcast: Lee Child

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.

For the creator of Jack Reacher, writing a thriller is an act of improvised discovery — a suitable method for the writer whose beloved hero has, through twenty-two books, chosen to surprise both readers and the bad guys he goes up against through his unpredictable, unstoppable life-in-the-moment. On this episode, Lee Child talks about his new novel The Midnight Line, how he went from the world of television to becoming one of the world’s most widely read authors, and what makes a hero in the 21st century.


Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate: Iraq, then Afghanistan. The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside. Reacher wonders what unlucky circumstance made her give up something she earned over four hard years. He decides to find out. And find the woman. And return her ring. Why not?

So begins a harrowing journey that takes Reacher through the upper Midwest, from a lowlife bar on the sad side of small town to a dirt-blown crossroads in the middle of nowhere, encountering bikers, cops, crooks, muscle, and a missing persons PI who wears a suit and a tie in the Wyoming wilderness.

The deeper Reacher digs, and the more he learns, the more dangerous the terrain becomes. Turns out the ring was just a small link in a far darker chain. Powerful forces are guarding a vast criminal enterprise. Some lines should never be crossed. But then, neither should Reacher.

Click here to see all books by Lee Child.

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