Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
Release Date: November 5, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Thrillers / Suspense
Jack Reacher has extended his thumb and hit the pavement. His plan is to follow the autumn sun on an epic trip across America, from Maine to California. He doesn’t get far. On a country road in rural New Hampshire, 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? and takes the detour.
At the same moment, in the same isolated area, a car breaks down. Two young Canadians are trying to drive to New York City to sell a treasure. Now they’re stranded at a lonely motel in the middle of nowhere. The owners almost seem too friendly. 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 town. He knows his father left and never returned. Now Reacher wonders, Was he ever there in the first place?
As Reacher explores his father’s life, and as the Canadians face lethal dangers, strands of different stories begin to merge. Then Reacher makes a shocking discovery: The present can be tough, but the past can be tense…and deadly.
Story Locale: Rural New Hampshire
Past Tense, by author Lee Child, is the 23rd installment in the authors Jack Reacher series. Reacher is an ex-Army MP who has taken to wandering the country, heading here and there for the barest of reasons. He doesn't carry any suitcases with him, but he does carry his trusty toothbrush. Along the way, Reacher always seems to stumble into trouble which he hands with his usual manner of brutal efficiency. Past Tense takes place entirely in the area surrounding Laconia, New Hampshire where Reacher's father may have grown up.
As the story opens, Reacher has decided that he is going to hitchhike/walk from Maine to San Diego, California. Laconia, New Hampshire is a place Jack knows about because his own father, Stan Reacher, claims he spent some time there before he joined the Marines and didn't return. The curious part is that Jack has a hard time finding any information on Stan Reacher. Scanning through records at town hall and researching census from long ago bring him in contact with a lot of different characters - some nice and some not-so-nice.
Patty and Shorty left Canada to Florida. They're supposed to stop in New York City first to sell the items they are dragging around so that they can make a fresh start. Their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, but lucky for them, they see a sign for a motel. Unbeknownst to them, they are about to enter hell. Readers will soon find out that Norman Bates would be proud of the owners of this hotel, one of them even has a connection to Jack. For most of this book, I was scratching my head trying to figure out how the author was going to tie Reacher story with the Canadians.
What does Jack's family and this young couple have in common? How do they meet and come together and have their lives intertwine with each other? Never fear, everything will be explained soon. This book is a standalone. You don't have to have read the other 22 novels in this series in order to enjoy the action, suspense, and mystery that the author always seems to bring to the table. And, even though I have missed quite a few books, I am not hesitant in going back and reading those I missed.