Lee Child and Darley Anderson remembered that Shots Magazine were one of the first mystery magazines to have reviewed ‘Killing Floor’ and it was very kind of them to remember Mike Stotter and I; and ask us to join them for the Jack Reacher tenth anniversary celebration in London.
Because the Jack Reacher party was held during the London Book Fair week, all his worldwide publishers, movie people, and friends from the industry came to celebrate a decade of Jack Reacher. And for his fans, we thought we’d share some photographs of the event and for those who may not have picked up a Jack Reacher novel, we’d like to tell you what all the fuss is about.
A few years ago, I was fortunate to spend an evening in Las Vegas with Lee where we recorded a lengthy interview for www.januarymagazine.com. I wrote an introduction in-conjunction with my US Editor Jeff Kingston-Pierce, that gave some background to the author and Jack Reacher which I would like to share with you.
Lee Child‘s ex-military policeman Jack Reacher, comes out of the heroic-altruism tradition in British crime fiction exemplified early on by Leslie Charteris‘ Simon "The Saint" Templar and Peter Cheyney‘s Lemmy Caution: A mysterious benefactor arrives on the scene to help out when the law no longer can. As this tradition evolved, the enigmatic champion took an antiheroic turn in the hands of Dornford Yates, Hammond Innes, Alistair MacLean and Eric Ambler. More recently, the character darkened considerably under John Le Carré, Adam Hall (aka Elleston Trevor), Len Deighton and Ian Fleming. Indeed, it became difficult to distinguish the bad guys from the good at times, especially with Fleming‘s works, in which James Bond‘s adversaries were made into grotesque parodies to contrast them with the dark side of 007.
Born in Coventry, England, in 1954, Child started out studying law but switched to a more compelling interest, drama. That move led to a successful 18-year career in television during the heyday of Granada Studios, where he worked in production on Jewel-in-the-Crown, Brideshead Revisited, Cracker and Prime Suspect. After a "reorg" at Granada cost him his job in 1995, Child decided to write a novel. Titled Killing Floor, that 1997 book won both the Anthony Award and Deadly Pleasures magazine‘s Barry Award for Best First Novel.
Killing Floor unfolds as the first-person narrative of Reacher, who drifts into a conspiracy with a shady, violent gang that‘s holding a town in Georgia hostage. Child‘s follow-up, Die Trying (1998), tells of a kidnapping in Chicago that involves more than initially meets the eye, while his third outing, Tripwire (1999), spans Key West, New York and combat zones of the past.
The author‘s next book entered the psychological territory of the serial killer. In 2000‘s Running Blind (titled The Visitor in the UK), Reacher is asked to investigate a series of murders, the targets being female ex-military officers who are found dead in tubs of military green paint. Less action and more terror lie in that story‘s trajectory, and strong women characters start to appear and challenge Reacher. This theme continues in the neo-western Echo Burning (2001) with the mysterious figure of Carmen Greer, a woman who fears an abusive husband and wants Reacher to intervene on her behalf, but harbors secrets that could cost her dearly. Echo also comments subtly on treatment of the "underclasses" in Texas and how the weak sometimes need defending by people like Jack Reacher. 2002‘s Without Fail was an international best-seller and even made January Magazine‘s favorite books of 2002 list, with reviewer Kevin Burton Smith calling it "smart, literate and just good, old-fashioned thrilling." It opens with Reacher taking on the unorthodox assignment of checking the security of the U.S. vice president by attempting to assassinate him. In contrast to Child‘s earlier books, Without Fail opened up the vista, its panoramic conspiracy tale zigzagging toward a stunning climax in small-town Wyoming. Since then we’ve had ‘Persuader’ a throw back to the golden age thriller, then ‘The Enemy’ which took in Jack’s life in the military, and last year we had the shattering ‘One Shot’ featuring Jack investigating a series of random sniper murders in the US Mid West. And shortly we will have on our shelves the tenth Jack Reacher thriller ‘The Hard Way’ - A book excitedly anticipated by his fiercely loyal readership [Which includes Mike Stotter and I].
In 1998, Child moved to New York state with his American wife, Jane, and their daughter, Ruth. Yet he continues to be hailed on both sides of the Atlantic, and reports are that -- for a figure "closer to eight figures than seven" -- he has signed up to extend his Reacher series beyond 2006, so we look forward to a second decade of the adventures of Jack Reacher.
If you want to learn more about Jack Reacher and Lee Child - read the full interview and article archived at January Magazine:-
Lee Child is published in the UK by Transworld Publishers.
Lee Child Bibliography
Jack Reacher Novels
- Killing Floor (1997)
- Die Trying (1998)
- Tripwire (1999)
- The Visitor (US re-title Running Blind) (2000)
- Echo Burning (2001)
- Without Fail (2002)
- Persuader (2003)
- The Enemy (2004)
- One Shot (2005)
- The Hard Way (2006)
Short Story Work
- James Penney‘s New Identity from Fresh Blood 3
- The Snake Eater by the Numbers from Like a Charm
- Ten Keys from The Cocaine Chronicles
- The Greatest Trick of All from Greatest Hits
Previous Interviews and Articles at Shots:-
Shooting the breeze with Lee Child:
Lee Child : David Beckham Washed My Car:
“[T]he narrative propels
you forward with a
but Child never loses sight
of the small detail or the