Past Tense

Past Tense

Large Print - 2018
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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 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] Random House Large Print, [2018]
ISBN: 9781984833662
1984833669
Branch Call Number: Fiction
Characteristics: 532 pages (large print) ; 23 cm
large print,rda

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0
0007548100dmw
Dec 18, 2018

I have read all the Lee Child "Jack Reacher" books and thought this was one of the better books. I always read the other reviews before and after I read a book. Like other reviews, I sometimes think I have read a different book. This book has so many negative reviews, I had to check the title.
I guess that is one of the items that makes reading so interesting. Every reader has a different view point, interest, and perspective.

2
21221021880833c
Dec 17, 2018

Time to retire Jack Reacher. These last two books are terrible.

n
NedSu
Dec 11, 2018

This was a Jack Reacher novel, pure and simple. If you are comfortable with Child's writing, it hasn't changed much since the first novel. Reacher sees more than the average reader; casual observations become keen insights later in the story. Slow plot development is compensated by quick moments of violent action

There is some variation in this novel. The innocent victims have a few more resources than most characters, but do require Reacher to make it to the finish line. We learn a little more about Reacher's past. Reacher gives us a little insight into his own behavior, a chip off the old block. Still and all, Reacher walks away at the end, fading into the distance, and ready for the next adventure.

As literature this novel may indeed be a 3 or lower, but as a Reacher novel, I give it a solid 4.

a
allmyangels6
Dec 08, 2018

This was so disappointing. Absolutely boring and no character development or an interesting plot. It was a struggle to finish this book. I kept wishing and hoping it would get better but it did not.

d
DickPlastino
Dec 05, 2018

Either I've changed what I like in a story or Lee Child has changed. The book was long and mostly boring. Lots of words used to describe how Reacher was thinking about various situations. I learned to skip over those many paragraphs and get to the action. Unfortunately the action was not often. I'm done with Child, so you can take my place on the wait list when he writes a future book. What a shame. He was good once.

h
harrybosch
Dec 02, 2018

A very disappointing effort from Child, very poor. This book is so badly written I am sure Child used ghost writers, and not very good ones. Several chapters are full of bad grammar , bad sentencing structure, and other poor work. Child's writing and use of English was always impeccable, but not this travesty. In addition the plot line is weak. I have read all of Child's previous books, most of them more than once, that's why this book is so shockingly bad for me.

j
jtcampbel47
Dec 01, 2018

Meh!!

l
lucyfir
Dec 01, 2018

Not fast-paced at all. Monotonous in repeats. But I had to finish it, I invested too much time in it not to.

b
barbc88
Nov 28, 2018

Wow. Interesting idea for a plot, but I found myself waiting for something to happen. And waiting. Way too much conversation, and not enough action. Did not like the ending, too many loose ends. **SPOILER ALERT** He just walks away....and nobody notices the abandoned vehicles or the dead bodies.

j
Jersey_Girl
Nov 28, 2018

I am surprised so many of the Jack Reacher readers didn't like this book. I'm a big Jack Reacher fan and I thought it was great. But that's what makes the world an interesting place! Our personal likes and dislikes. I really did like this book.

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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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