Past Tense

Past Tense

Book - 2018
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"Family secrets come back to haunt Jack Reacher in this electrifying thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child, "a superb craftsman of suspense" (Entertainment Weekly). Jack Reacher has extended his thumb and hit the pavement. His planis 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 wasborn. 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 strands of different stories begin to merge, he makes a shocking discovery: The present can be tough, but the past can be tense.and deadly"--
Publisher: New York :, Delacorte Press,, 2018
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780399593512
0399593519
Branch Call Number: Fiction
Characteristics: 382 pages ; 24 cm

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m
markd
Jan 15, 2019

Another Jack Reacher adventure.

d
DLic2120
Jan 11, 2019

I have read or listened to the "Jack Reacher" novels and 'I LOVED THIS ONE'. I will agree this may have started out slow but its story wasn't like the rest with the 2 story lines coming together. Thank You Lee, for your many twist & turns with the plot.

g
gtct
Jan 10, 2019

At last.

A Jack Reacher novel that is ALMOST as good as Lee Child's first half-dozen Reacher write ups.

i
iujigga2003
Jan 10, 2019

I've read all of the Reacher books and I'm a huge fan but his last few books have declined from the first 10 to 12. This one was pretty similar to the latest but loses a few points for no "sexy James Bond woman" interactions. Also noticed more than a few copy pastes of paragraphs describing a situation.

m
m_ajohnson
Jan 05, 2019

Almost all the "good guy" characters had the same conversational/communication style as Reacher. Child must have lost interest in creating characters.

b
BigOrange
Jan 05, 2019

This book was poorly written. With choppy, incomplete sentences. That you noticed especially when you were reading to your husband. Out loud. Even reading to yourself. The incomplete sentences drove me. Up the wall.

g
gloryb
Jan 03, 2019

There are 2 storylines - one with Reacher returning to his father's East coast childhood hometown (the past tense in the title of the book) - and one with young Canadians stranded in a small town motel in the same area. Both story lines collide to form the climax of the novel. The second plot is reminiscent of the popular novel, "Hunger Games". I enjoyed the read with not much violence until the last chapter. However, prior to that last chapter, Reacher does meet up with some town bullies and it is quite evident who wins. Also lacking is any love interest involving Reacher - thank goodness! This novel also doesn't have the boring filler detail Child sometimes embeds in his novels, usually having to do with counting or something mathematical. Let's see if he gets to San Diego in the next novel - his goal at the start of this novel.

s
SuzyQueueZ
Jan 03, 2019

I have read all the Jack Reacher books, and I hated this one. Usually I am invested in the Reacher books in the first few pages and finish the book in a couple of days. I was never into this one, and it took me 3 weeks to drag myself through it. I even skimmed over dozens of pages, and it still took me 3 weeks. Boring and I didn't care about any of the characters.

m
McCReader
Jan 02, 2019

Was a little slow getting into it but I thoroughly enjoyed it once it got going. A little different then most Jack Reacher books.

w
writermala
Dec 31, 2018

A disappointing book from Lee Child. Jack Reacher does not show his usual self till a quarter of the way through the book. The premise of the story is rather lame and the connection between two strands is rather weak.Reacher redeems himself at the end of the book but in my opinion it is too little too late.

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Quotes

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j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2018

Less than a dozen quotes in goodreads this morning. More here:

It would be an epic road trip, and one he hadn’t made in years. He was looking forward to it . He didn’t get far.
===
Laconia, New Hampshire. A name Reacher knew. He had seen it on all kinds of historic family paperwork, and he had heard it mentioned from time to time. It was his late father’s place of birth, and where he was raised until he escaped at age seventeen to join the Marines. Such was the vague family legend. Escaped from what had not been specified. But he never went back. Not once .
===
“We were a Marine family. We were always somewhere else.”
===

Surprise was always a good thing. A wise man never counted all the way to three.
===
He gave his name as Mark Reacher. Resident outside the jurisdiction.” “Age?” “Then twenty - six .” “He could be my distant nephew, many times removed. What was he upset about?”

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2018

Reacher hit him in the face, with a straight right, maximum force, crashing and twisting. Like a freight train. The kid’s lights went out immediately. He went slack and gravity took over. Reacher kept his left hand rock solid. All the kid’s weight fell on his own locked elbow. Reacher waited. One of two things would happen. Either the strength and elasticity in the kid’s ligaments would roll him forward, or they wouldn’t. They didn’t. The kid’s elbow broke and his arm turned inside out. Reacher let him fall. He landed on the bricks outside the bag shop, one arm right and the other arm wrong, like a swastika.
===
Reacher had been a cop for thirteen years, and then not a cop for longer, so he saw things from both points of view.
===
Dead as a doornail. Dead as the deadest thing that ever died.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2018

“ How did you hurt your hand ? ” “I punched the garden wall.” “That’s an odd way to put it.” “Can’t really blame the wall.”
===
1943 was a serious year. The war was nearly two years old. Everything was rationed or in short supply. Everyone was dour and worried and working long hours. Hard to imagine any kind of giddy excitement going on good enough to attract a sixteen - year - old nine miles to the center of a stiff little New Hampshire town on a fall evening during tough times .
===
Was old enough to get a discount at the movies, but a long way from needing a cane.
===
“Tin has the potential to be dangerous. More than a hundred milligrams of tin per cubic meter of air is immediately injurious to life and health. What’s worse is when tin bonds with certain hydrocarbons to make organotin. Some of those compounds are more lethal than cyanide.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2018

He said, “Let him go.” Just three words, but in a tone also learned long ago, with whole extra paragraphs hidden in the dying vowel sound at the end of the phrase, about the inevitable and catastrophic result of attempted resistance.
===
“Who are you?” “Just a guy standing on the public road asking you a question.” “This is not the public road.” “That’s the problem with denial. Reality doesn’t care what you think. It just keeps rolling along. This is the road. Always was. Still is. ”
===
You said some dumb thing eight years ago. Should I twist your arm today? ”
===
“Parenting tip,” he said. “Don’t leave him lying in the road. He could get run over. ” “I won’t forget this.” “That’s the difference between us,” Reacher said. “I already have.”
===
“I hit him once. There is no smaller number. It was the irreducible minimum. It was almost kindhearted. I assume he has a dental plan. ”

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2018

Reacher had been a cop. He knew what it was like. Running here, running there, phones ringing, eat when you can, sleep when you can.
===
They looked like a faded billboard for an old - time black and white movie.
===
The street was empty. There were no guns. There was no action at all. Not yet. Just a staring competition. And posing.
===
“I’m trying to figure out where that would fall, on a scale of likelihood. Where ten means it’s extremely likely to happen, and one means it isn’t going to happen in a million years. I have to tell you, right now the numbers popping up in my mind are all fairly small. ”
===
Reacher lined him up and threw his punch. Legend had it the fastest hands in boxing could move at thirty miles an hour, much faster than Reacher, who was happy with twenty, but even at that slower speed his fist crossed the yard of air in front of him in a tenth of a second.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2018

It’s a decoy. They want you to follow it. It’s going to drive around all day at exactly twenty - nine miles an hour. It’s going to signal every turn, and you can bet your ass its tail lights are in working order. Meanwhile the real guy is in an electrician’s van. Or a plumber. Or flowers. Or whatever. We have to assume a certain amount of common sense. The real guy is going to slip into town sometime today and no one is going to notice.
===
“Your risk, I guess.” “No, the electrician’s risk. He’s going to be the paperwork, not me. What choice do I have? I can’t send him home to Boston with a pat on the back and a candy bar.
===
“Don’t let ego get in the way of a good decision.” “You just trashed every general in our nation’s history.” “You weren’t a general. Don’t make the same mistake. ”
===
As if visitors to an old people’s home made up a unique demographic. Not the recently bereaved. The soon to be. The pre - bereaved.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2018

Inside, the pages were numbered, and lined, and faded, and brittle, and covered in neat fountain - pen handwriting, gone watery and pale with age. He asked, “Should I be wearing white cotton gloves?” “No,” the woman said. “That’s a myth. Generally does more harm than good. ”
===
About how a baby hummingbird could be born in North America, and then fly alone two thousand miles and land on a spot the size of a pocket handkerchief. Mr . . . . Or MS. Smith figured it must have been born with a fixed instinct, directly inherited from the parent, mysteriously transmitted at a cellular level by a mechanism as yet unknown.
===
They’re Canadian, so they had healthcare growing up. You could call her strapping. That might be the right word for the woman. For him, not so much. His name is Shorty for a reason.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2018

When the government started commandeering every kind of basic item for the war effort, including steel and rubber and aluminum, of course, and gasoline, but also all kinds of other things. Such as rat poison. The military needed it all. For unspecified reasons. None was available on the civilian market. Like so many things. The result was the rats and mice in Ryan town grew plump and healthy. So the hawks came hustling over from wherever they had weathered the chemical storm, and they got back to work.
===
All three together, all at once. So much press and crowding there wouldn’t really be a nearest guy. Or a farthest guy, or a guy in the middle. They would all be one single unit, like a new species of animal, huge, weighing six hundred pounds, with six hands and six feet.
===
Reacher stepped down and kicked him in the head. Just once. The irreducible number. But hard. To discourage further participation.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2018

Reacher insisted he feel free to take off without him. Immediately, no warning, at any time at all, for any reason or none, whatever his gut or his instincts told him. “Don’t second - guess it,” Reacher said. “Don’t overthink it. Don’t wait even half a second. ”
===
Overhead was a hawk, on the thermals. Two more, in the far distance, widely separated. Too far away to tell what kind. Stan would have said it was typical raptor behavior. Each one claimed an exclusive slice of the action. My street corner, your street corner. No trespassing. Like tough guys everywhere.
===
Reacher thought, OK, then. He knew squat about wrestling. He had never tried it. Never felt the need. Too sweaty. Too many rules. Too much like a last resort. He believed a fight should be won or lost long before it came to rolling around on the floor.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2018

Up ahead the five men stood still. They were shoulder to shoulder, but not quite touching. They looked like a singing group, about to start up with a tune. Like a barbershop quartet, plus one. Maybe an alto, two tenors, a baritone, and a bass. In which case the bass would be the guy in the center.
===

The knee was any heavy guy’s weak spot. A knee was a knee. A humble joint. It was what it was. It didn’t get bigger and stronger just because a guy chose to spend a whole semester lifting weights. It just got more and more stressed.
===
“It’s not actually a firebreak. Mark’s grandfather cleared it for a different purpose. To keep the inner forest primeval. It’s a seed break, really, not a firebreak. It runs all the way around. Doesn’t matter which way the wind is blowing. Invasive species can’t make it across. ”
===
“ He said he couldn’t remember because birthdays weren’t important to him . He didn’t see why he should be congratulated for getting another year closer to death . ”

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