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Killing Jack Reacher

Recently, Lee child announced that he would no longer be writing the Jack Reacher series and his brother, Andrew Grant, would take up the mantle. So, I wonder, would you prefer to see Reacher continue on, albeit in stories penned by another author, or prefer to have Reacher meet his end at the hands of Lee Child?

I was surprised to hear about this development because I was chatting to Lee at a book launch a while back and told him I thought I’d noticed a shift in Reacher’s personality, that he was turning slightly inwards and seemed to be seeking solace and comfort. Child agreed. Clearly the author had the end of the series in mind.

In certain thriller series, the repeat character doesn’t evolve at all and the reader is happy to get a new story with more of the same each time. Child had a winner with this formula. Apparently one of his books sells every thirteen seconds somewhere in the world. In others, such as the Kenzie and Gennaro series by Dennis Lehane, the main characters move through a transformational arc and personally I enjoy this more. Michael Connolly’s, Bosch, does the same. We get to grow up alongside our favourite characters.

Lee is a clever man and more than capable of having Reacher lie dying while reflecting back on his life in a moment of meaningful existentialist introspection. To learn that I, a loyal and dedicated reader, was going to be cheated out of his death left me incredibly disappointed. I always wanted Reacher to die alone somewhere in a hotel room and for it to be metaphorically significant and a fitting end to the series. Imagine the suspense and anticipation in reading the last book and knowing the big man’s end was coming. Everyone’s a suspect. Every step might be leading to his downfall.

Maybe, like me, you would have preferred to see the series play out in this way to its logical conclusion and you too would have delighted in killing Jack Reacher.