cover image Better Off Dead: A Jack Reacher Novel

Better Off Dead: A Jack Reacher Novel

Lee Child and Andrew Child. Delacorte, $28.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-9848-1850-8

The Child brothers’ superb second collaboration (after 2020’s The Sentinel) opens one night at a remote spot on the U.S.-Mexico border, where “the stranger,” a large, tall man many will assume is Jack Reacher, has arrived for a meeting. A car drives up, and four men get out. When the driver asks the stranger if he has the money, he pats his back pocket. Then the driver orders the stranger into the car, to take him to someone named Michael. The stranger refuses, saying the deal was for him to be told where Michael is. The stranger gets the best of it in the ensuing fight, until a woman shows up and guns down the stranger. At the morgue, the victim, identified as Reacher, is confirmed dead by the coroner, to the satisfaction of Waad Dendoncker, “the second coming of Al Capone, only with added craziness.” Flashbacks explain what led up to the violent confrontation. Smart writing, vivid action scenes, and dramatic twists mark this seamless effort. Even those for whom this is their first Reacher novel will be clamoring for more. Agent: Darley Anderson, Darley Anderson Literary (U.K.). (Oct.)