Night School: (Jack Reacher 21)

Lee Child

Night School: (Jack Reacher 21)
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Night School: (Jack Reacher 21)

Lee Child

In the morning, they gave Reacher a medal. And in the afternoon, they sent him back to school.

Night School takes Reacher back to his army days, but this time he’s not in uniform. With trusted sergeant Frances Neagley at his side, he must carry the fate of the world on his shoulders, in a wired, fiendishly clever new adventure that will make the cold sweat trickle down your spine.


I often try to put local and small-press authors as my books of the month, mainly because they’re great, but also because Readings has an extensive history of author support that I’m very proud to be part of. This month’s book-of-the-month author isn’t in particularly dire need of our support – the new Reacher is gracing movie screens as I type – but, you know, I often overlook big-name authors for the smaller scale ones, and I’d never read a Lee Child book in full before. Now, in the final throes of the US election, seems as good a time as any to read a book about American power, an exploration of that righteous desire for might and glory through the lens of a semi-anonymous (if you don’t count the millions of readers who follow him) American soldier, in his twenty-first book. And sometimes there’s nothing quite like the comfort of picking up a Lee Child, knowing what to expect, and getting hooked immediately.

It’s 1996, and Jack Reacher has just been awarded a Legion of Merit – his second – and expects a promotion, maybe, or flowers, or something nice. Instead, he’s sent to his office where a file awaits and will send him back to school – to learn, it seems, about inter-agency cooperation. And there will be some of that, but school is a loose term for what is really happening. (Though there is squabbling, and stomping off, and excited gossip, and Reacher making eyes at a colleague, so it’s not that far off ‘school’ after all.) What this classroom facility hides is the need for Reacher and his new compatriots to find who, in Hamburg, Germany, just passed on the message: ‘The American wants a hundred million dollars.’ (Not really what I was passing on in my sneaky school messages, then.) What does the American have? Who is the other person, and what do they want? Are they after drugs, weapons, information, or maybe computer tech? With the FBI, the CIA, and Jack Reacher on the case, they will search, question and punch their way to the truth – before the mess the world is already in gets worse. Like Reacher himself, Child is economical with words, and his books contain an undeniable energy and crisp style that’s hard to beat.

Fiona Hardy blogs about Crime Fiction at and puts together the Dead Write column for the Readings Monthly newsletter.

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