ThrillerFest is the premier conference for thriller writers and readers. ThrillerFext XIII marks my fourth time at this event and it fittingly kicked off on Friday the 13th. Over two days, numerous panels took place on a wide range of topics – everything from how to best execute a fictional character to how to handle sex scenes in thrillers. These panels were comprised of new, best-selling, and seasoned authors, all offering a unique perspective on myriad issues and trends.
This fall Lee Child’s 21st installment in the Jack Reacher series, Night School, is being released. For those of you Reacher Creatures needing a Lee Child fix between now and then, check out the two videos I shot below of Lee from last year’s event at the Free Library of Philadelphia where he was interviewed by best-selling author Linda Fairstein. The first video is Linda interviewing Lee and the second one is Lee conducting a Q&A with the audience. Enjoy!
Lee Child is the #1 international best-selling author of the Jack Reacher series, for which he’s won the Anthony, Barry and Nero awards. In addition to writing worldwide best-sellers, Child currently serves as the Co-President of International Thriller Writers – a terrific professional association that anyone interested in working in the thriller genre should join.
Child’s newest novel, Personal, just came out this week in the U.S. and is already a #1 best-seller in the U.K. It’s the 19th Jack Reacher novel and is receiving rave reviews from fans and critics alike. Lee took the time to speak with me about his illustrious career, the creative process and his belief that nothing of value is ever achieved in the morning. Enjoy!
Summer is almost upon us and it’s one of my favorite seasons. What’s not to love? If you’re a music fan, there are a million concerts to go to. If you’re a foodie, you can eat outdoors at a myriad of restaurants. And, of course, if you’re a book lover there are numerous titles you can read in bed, on the beach or at the airport. To help you decide which books are worth reading, I’m going to share with you a few titles that I’m either currently reading or will be reading very soon.
Those who know me well are aware of my love for audiobooks. Like a lot of people, I lead a busy life and being able to listen to a book, as opposed to having to sit down and read it, means I can read a whole lot more. And it means that I can make mundane activities – brushing my teeth, walking to work, getting dressed – more enjoyable and productive. Therefore, the majority of the books I’m going to read this year will be audiobooks.
As any longtime reader of my blog knows, I’m a big fan of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books. I just started Bad Luck and Trouble, the 11th novel in the series, and I recently finished three Jack Reacher short stories: Second Son, Deep Down and High Heat.
Lee Child has admitted at book signings that he only started writing Jack Reacher short stories because his publisher asked him to, thinking it would drum up excitement for a new novel. I guess it’s working because now Child has written three. But are they any good? Below are my thoughts on each one.
- Second Son was an entertaining read because it provided me with a glimpse into Reacher’s adolescence, as well as what his parents were like. His brother, Joe, also plays a prominent role in the short story, so it’s nice to see how they interacted in their younger days.
- This short story is the weakest of the three. There isn’t much action, just a lot of talking. There’s nothing wrong with dialogue, but it felt as if this story didn’t have that signature momentum that Child is known for. It’s not a bad story, it’s just not a very interesting one.
- This is my favorite of the three and it’s the most recent. Perhaps the third time really is the charm. This novella takes place in July 1977, with the Son of Sam killings and a massive New York City blackout and heatwave as a backdrop. Not only did this make for a cool cultural reference, but Child did such a good job describing the extreme heat that I felt as if I was in Reacher’s shoes.
If you’re a Jack Reacher fan, I recommend reading all three of these short stories. Collectively, they provide a greater understanding of a fascinating character we’ve come to know and love.
I listened to all three stories in audiobook form. As always, the excellent Dick Hill did a superb job with the narration. If you haven’t heard him, you owe it to yourself to check him out. He’s the perfect voice for Reacher.
Below is a video clip of Lee Child talking about High Heat:
I woke up to great news this morning – the 2012 film, Jack Reacher, which was based on Lee Child’s bestselling novel, One Shot, and starred Tom Cruise in the title role, is getting a sequel. It was just announced that Child’s newest international bestseller, Never Go Back, will be adapted for the film and Tom Cruise is returning as Jack Reacher. As of right now, Cruise and company are trying to get the original film’s Director, Christopher McQuarrie, back at the helm for the sequel, but he has yet to confirm whether or not he’ll be part of the project.
To me, this is excellent news. I know many obstinate fans of the novels will continue to lambaste Cruise for being Jack Reacher because he physically doesn’t “measure up.” But people need to get over this fact because Tom Cruise was excellent in the first film and, whether they like it or not, a sequel is being made. If it’s anything like its predecessor, we’re in for a real treat.
One Shot by Lee Child is the ninth Jack Reacher novel and the inspiration for the 2012 film, Jack Reacher, starring Tom Cruise. Like the movie, One Shot focuses on a violent crime and whether or not the man being accused of it is actually the perpetrator. As with the previous books in the series, Child does a fantastic job with developing the protagonist and having him intelligently overcome the odds. And, as always, I opted for the audiobook version of the book because of Dick Hill’s spectacular narration – he is the voice of Reacher. If you’re a fan of the series or a newcomer, this is a great thriller and, quite possibly, the best Jack Reacher novel up to this point. I highly recommend it.
Six shots. Five dead. One heartland city thrown into a state of terror. But within hours the cops have it solved: a slam-dunk case. Except for one thing. The accused man says: You got the wrong guy. Then he says: Get Reacher for me.
And sure enough, ex–military investigator Jack Reacher is coming. He knows this shooter—a trained military sniper who never should have missed a shot. Reacher is certain something is not right—and soon the slam-dunk case explodes.
Now Reacher is teamed with a beautiful young defense lawyer, moving closer to the unseen enemy who is pulling the strings. Reacher knows that no two opponents are created equal. This one has come to the heartland from his own kind of hell. And Reacher knows that the only way to take him down is to match his ruthlessness and cunning—and then beat him shot for shot.
Lee Child’s 18th Jack Reacher novel, Never Go Back, is coming out next week in the U.S. For those interested in learning more about the book, below is the trailer and background on the novel from the man himself, Lee Child.
I recently finished Taylor Stevens’ 2011 debut novel, The Informationist. It’s the first in a series of books featuring Vanessa “Michael” Munroe, an expert in uncovering information for her clients. She’s best described as a detective without a badge that’s not afraid to rough somebody up. Similar to Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels, this book was about the main character and what she did to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. It started off slow, and trudging my way through words that most people outside of Africa wouldn’t know how to pronounce wasn’t fun. But once I cut past this and reached the half-way point, the story found its groove. As I neared the end I was eager to see how things would wrap up. It was filled with action, believable dialogue and a lead character I look forward to following on future adventures. If you’re seeking an enjoyable thriller, The Informationist is worth a read.
Below is the official synopsis and book trailer. And stay tuned for my interview with Taylor Stevens later this summer; it should be a good one.
Vanessa “Michael” Munroe deals in information—expensive information—working for corporations, heads of state, private clients, and anyone else who can pay for her unique brand of expertise. Born to missionary parents in lawless central Africa, Munroe took up with an infamous gunrunner and his mercenary crew when she was just fourteen. As his protégé, she earned the respect of the jungle’s most dangerous men, cultivating her own reputation for years until something sent her running. After almost a decade building a new life and lucrative career from her home base in Dallas, she’s never looked back.
A Texas oil billionaire has hired her to find his daughter who vanished in Africa four years ago. It’s not her usual line of work, but she can’t resist the challenge. Pulled deep into the mystery of the missing girl, Munroe finds herself back in the lands of her childhood, betrayed, cut off from civilization, and left for dead. If she has any hope of escaping the jungle and the demons that drive her, she must come face-to-face with the past that she’s tried for so long to forget.