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Past Tense

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

Past Tense by Lee Child

Reviewed by L. Bennett

Jack Reacher, the hero of this novel by Lee Child, is one of those tough, quick, smart superhero types. Not someone you’d expect to be doing family genealogy. Jack hitchhikes his way to Laconia, a quiet and small New England town where he begins his research. He wants to see the town where his father grew up. At the same time a young couple from Canada pulls into a motel because their car breaks down. Turns out the motel is operated by Jack’s distant cousin, a man Jack knows nothing about.

What follows are two parallel stories, one about Jack’s project and one about the Canadian couple. Jack can’t seem to avoid trouble so the local cops want him to leave town. The Canadians can’t get cell service, the motel phone is on the fritz, and the door to their room seems to have locked itself with them on the inside. The two stories converge in a hunt for Jack’s father that gets entangled in hunting the young couple. People die and things burn. It is classic action-thriller-adventure stuff. Entertaining without depth. Fast-paced but cohesive, an odd plot with few quirks.

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