Jack Reacher is only the second of Jim Grant’s great fictional characters: the first is Lee Child himself. Heather Martin’s biography tells the story of all three.
Lee Child is the enigmatic powerhouse behind the bestselling Jack Reacher novels. With millions of devoted fans across the globe, and over a hundred million copies of his books sold in more than forty languages, he is that rarity, a writer who is lauded by critics and revered by readers. And yet curiously little has been written about the man himself.
The Reacher Guy is a compelling and authoritative portrait of the artist as a young man, refracted through the life of his fictional avatar, Jack Reacher. Through parallels drawn between Child and his literary creation, it tells the story of how a boy from Birmingham with a ferocious appetite for reading grew up to become a high-flying TV executive, before coming full circle and establishing himself as the strongest brand in publishing.
Heather Martin explores Child’s lifelong fascination with America, and shows how the Reacher novels fed and fuelled this obsession, shedding light on the opaque process of publishing a novel along the way. Drawing on her conversations and correspondence with Child over a number of years, as well as interviews with his friends, teachers and colleagues, she forensically pieces together his life, traversing back through the generations to Northern Ireland and County Durham, and following the trajectory of his extraordinary career via New York and Hollywood until the climactic moment when, in 2020, having written a continuous series of twenty-four books, he finally breaks free of his fictional creation.
Three things attracted me to this book, about an author that I have never actually read. The price, a first chapter titled The Library, and thirdly a reference to the wonderful One Hundred years of Solitude, which I happened upon whilst flicking idly through the pages.
Despite my lack of knowledge about the author, other than seeing his many books, which are seemingly everywhere, I found this biography to be very readable, no doubt because it’s good to be nosy about someone else’s life. it is interesting how the mundane can become rich when examined from the outside, and there is a wealth of detail here to dive into here.
Over half of the book charts Grant’s life before finding his inner (Lee) child, and whilst was good to find the origins of not only the author – an inveterate reader himself – but also of Jack Reacher, the text does jump around a bit between times and people causing a bit of confusion at times. This part of the book about humble and tough beginnings was interesting enough and I looked forward to reading about his writing career. Continue reading “The Reacher Guy – Heather Martin”