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: