Tedious and taxing, not typical Lee Child.
PAST TENSE, Lee Child
Jack Reacher plans to follow the autumn sun on an epic road trip across America, from Maine to California. He doesn’t get far. On a country road deep in the New England woods, he sees a sign to a place he has never been – the town where his father was born. He thinks, what’s one extra day? He takes the detour.
At the very same moment, close by, a car breaks down. Two young Canadians are trying to get to New York City to sell a treasure. They are stranded at a lonely motel in the middle of nowhere. It’s a strange place … but it’s all there is.
The next morning in the city clerk’s office, Reacher asks about the old family home. He’s told no one named Reacher ever lived in that town. He knows his father never went back. Now he wonders, was he ever there in the first place?
So begins another nail-biting, adrenaline-fuelled adventure for Reacher. The present can be tense, but the past can be worse. That’s for damn sure.
Far from Child’s usual high quality, Past Tense, too often lapses into tediously long descriptions. Child usually develops excitement and energy when he writes his Jack Reacher novels. The fisticuff scenes are exciting and energetic and the suspense engages the reader. No so in Past Tense where preamble to any violent interactions has so much scenic development and wordiness, the reader either becomes bored or confused, or both.
Because of these tedious descriptions, this was the first Child novel where I skipped whole paragraphs because I was bored or couldn’t be bothered reading the overly complicated detail.
The plot has suspense and intrigue. One wonders, drugs, sex trade, but Child plays the line as a good novelist should tantalizingly dangling possibilities before the reader without giving anything away. It is engaging and keeps the reader attentive but then the story loses its attraction as Child describes scenes and settings endlessly to unnecessarily pedantic length.
Lost is the captivating attraction of Reacher as a military experienced combatant who uses his head prior to using his physical prowess. Reacher fails to rivet as he does in earlier works.