While You Are Waiting…Lee Child

This latest edition of “While You Are Waiting” has me thinking about why we, as readers, like certain characters.  For instance, I know that some of you are waiting for the latest Jack Reacher novel, The Sentinel, by Lee Child.  I am too!  I don’t know about you, but I like Reacher for his innate sense of right and wrong, and for his willingness to stand by those beliefs no matter the cost.  As a rule-follower myself, I confess that I also get a vicarious thrill out of his blatant rule-breaking adventures.  Finally, I like that although he is a thoroughly modern character, his living off the grid means that he is solving crimes without the benefit of cell phones, technology, and Google.

As you may have noticed by the book cover, Lee Child is sharing author credits on The Sentinel with his brother Andrew Child (who also writes under the name Andrew Grant).  He has stated that he is “passing the baton” to his younger brother, and will gradually, over the next few novels, turn the writing of Reacher stories over to him.  While we wait for this first effort, let me tell you about a few other characters that remind me of Reacher, which might help you pass the time until your turn on the reservation list comes around.

The Charlie Parker series by John Connolly

Charlie Parker is a retired police detective turned private investigator who shares Reacher’s willingness to administer justice outside the lines of the law. Early in the series, we learn that Parker’s wife and young daughter are brutally murdered.  He is tortured by the fact that he could not prevent their deaths and that he has not been able to find their killer.  This series has a supernatural element to it, which grows stronger as the series progresses, and explores the big question of good vs. evil.  The first book in the series is Every Dead Thing.

The Orphan X series by Gregg Hurwitz

Evan Smoak was part of a clandestine government program called the “Orphan” program, in which young boys and girls were recruited (not always willingly) and trained to be assassins.  Smoak escapes from that life, and in atonement becomes The Nowhere Man, an alias under which he solves unsolvable problems for ordinary people in desperate trouble.  The government, however, does not want to let him go, and is searching for him.  Like Reacher, Smoak is no rule-follower, but unlike Reacher, he does utilize technology to his advantage, including a secret room behind his shower with all the latest gadgets.  The first book in the series is Orphan X.

The Peter Ash series by Nick Petrie

Peter Ash is a former soldier of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He suffers severe PTSD which manifests itself as claustrophobia so bad that he cannot remain indoors for any amount of time.  Ash goes off the grid, camping in the wilderness in the summer and sleeping in his truck in the winter. He is pulled back from the edge by the widow of a former fellow soldier seeking his help.  Like the Reacher series, being off the grid means that Ash has to rely on his wits and his brawn instead of the latest technology.  The first book in the series is The Drifter.

The Jane Hawk series by Dean Koontz

I don’t want you to think that men are the only ones that can break the rules! Jane Hawk’s husband has died – the official ruling is suicide but she knows otherwise.  Her investigation will lead her to a shady government project and cause her to go on the run, a fugitive seeking truth and justice, not just for her husband, but for all whose lives have been ruined by those in power. Jane is a female Reacher, but with more resources and technology.  The first book in the series is The Silent Corner.

I could go on with other suggestions, but I hope these characters will hold you until the new Jack Reacher finds its way into your hands.  If you would like to talk more about mysteries and thrillers, feel free to email me at dparsi@chelmsfordlibrary.org.