In a question-and-answer session with the audience at the 2010 Left Coast Crime conference, Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher series, confessed that he plans to kill off his popular protagonist. Child’s colleague, Mark Coggins, describes the event in a March 13, 2010 Rap Sheet post:
[Child] explained that the title of the last book would be Die Alone and it would close with a scene in which Reacher is finally backed into a corner where he cannot escape without mortal injury. Reacher would then crawl painfully back to his cheap motel room, where he would bleed out in its dingy bathroom.
The timing of Die Alone’s publication, he said, depends on us, the readers. Meaning that he will keep writing as long as we keep buying. A satisfying arrangement for all.
Jack Reacher’s fans should not panic at the news. Child has been suggesting such a fate for Reacher for several years now, with varying levels of seriousness. An August 16, 2006 account of the first ThrillerFest convention in Library Journal cited an even gorier ending for Child’s central character: “At the fun ‘Thrillers Live Talk Show,’ hosted by Chris Grabenstein, Lee Child admitted that he had already chosen the final title in his Jack Reacher series: Die Alone. Reacher will not only be killed, he said, but also dismembered….”
Recent rumors concerning 61 Hours, the 14th Jack Reacher series novel, which will be released in the U.S. on May 18, 2010 and on March 18, 2010 in the U.K., have revived readers’ concerns about the longevity of Child’s champion. 61 Hours recounts Jack Reacher’s arrival in Bolton, South Dakota after the crash of the tour bus on which he has hitched a ride.
In Bolton, Jack finds himself protecting a witness who is the target of an assassin and becoming involved with a a Mexican cartel that operates a methamphetamine lab in an abandoned military post. With complications such as these, it is no surprise that the ending of 61 Hours is billed as “explosive.” The final page of 61 Hours contains only the notation “To be continued—30.9.2010,” the date of the publication of its sequel.
Benedicte Page, in the February 25, 2010 Bookseller article, “Transworld asks: has Child killed off Jack Reacher?” cites this reaction from Child’s Transworld editor to reading Child’s most recent work: “Lee’s editor Marianne Velmans read the manuscript and came in to see me with a white face, saying: ‘I think Lee’s killed Jack!’
On second thought, maybe Jack Reacher’s fans should panic.
For more info:
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