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The Reacher Guy

Crimefest H R F Keating Award, 2021

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781472134257

Price: £20

ON SALE: 29th September 2020

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Biography: General

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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.


Lee Child ought to be illegal ... His books are utterly addictive. You can't stop reading them. Or at least I can't. Surely that should be a crime.
George R. R. Martin
What page turners, what prose, what landscapes, what motorways and motels, what mythic dimensions! Lee Child does all the things I could never do, and I read, awestruck, waiting impatiently for the next.
Margaret Drabble
A dazzling description of where Reacher meets Child meets Jim Grant. With justice meted out!
Phil Williams, Times Radio presenter
You'll emerge from the first 300-odd pages knowing more about [Child's] formative years that you do about your own.
The Times
Here is a biography as gripping as one of Lee Child's own bestsellers. Heather Martin digs deep to uncover nugget after nugget. Trust me, this is gold.
Ian Rankin
Vivid and entertaining . . . a must-buy for any aspiring novelist, thanks in particular to its terrific insight into how Child's first book was written, rewritten, edited, sold and published.
The Telegraph
Meticulously researched and hugely insightful, The Reacher Guy will prove to be indispensable reading for Lee Child fans everywhere.
Brian McGilloway, author of the Ben Devlin series
Riveting . . . archival diligence . . . [Martin] is a skilled and audacious interlocutor, too, but her subject is just as adept as interviewee . . . starkly affecting
Irish Times