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Publisher's Summary

Number one New York Times best seller • Jack Reacher is back in a brand-new thriller from acclaimed number one best-selling authors Lee Child and Andrew Child.

Digging graves had not been part of my plans when I woke up that morning. 

Reacher goes where he wants, when he wants. That morning he was heading west, walking under the merciless desert sun — until he comes upon a curious scene. A Jeep has crashed into the only tree for miles around. A woman is slumped over the wheel.

Dead? No, nothing is what it seems. 

The woman is Michaela Fenton, an army veteran turned FBI agent trying to find her twin brother, who might be mixed up with some dangerous people. Most of them would rather die than betray their terrifying leader, who has burrowed his influence deep into the nearby border town, a backwater that has seen better days. The mysterious Dendoncker rules from the shadows, out of sight and under the radar, keeping his dealings in the dark.

He would know the fate of Fenton’s brother. 

Reacher is good at finding people who don’t want to be found, so he offers to help, despite feeling that Fenton is keeping secrets of her own. But a life hangs in the balance. Maybe more than one. But to bring Dendoncker down will be the riskiest job of Reacher's life. Failure is not an option, because in this kind of game, the loser is always better off dead.

©2021 Lee Child and Andrew Child (P)2021 Random House Audio

What the critics say

“The mixture of brute-force and intellectual problem-solving is just right.” (Booklist)

“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.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) 

“Lee Child and Andrew Child return for another jointly written Reacher adventure. . . . Andrew Child smoothly slips into the signature minimalist prose of the iconic series, picking up just where his brother leaves off, for a book that should please old stalwarts and new fans alike.” (CrimeReads) 

What listeners say about Better Off Dead

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Oh, what has happened to my favourite series?

I’m writing this review, perhaps unjustly, at the 45 minute mark of the book. I was hoping the second try by Andrew would hit closer to the mark than his first, but I fear this series has jumped the shark.

I gave ‘The Sentinel’ a mulligan. It was not godawful, but the Reacher experience has changed. At first I thought it may have been the Scott Brick narration. He’s too…textured?…for Reacher. Always emoting too much into scenes that would normally be described evenly and straight forward by Dick Hill. He has always been the voice of Reacher for me. Plain. Simple. Straight forward. Like Reacher.

But it was more than that.

I just think now, that the character is in the hands of a significantly lesser writer. I compare it to when James Patterson started putting his name on books he didn’t write.

Andrew is trying to say too much. And that’s not Reacher. Reacher says nothing.

I’m going to solider on, because I owe it to the series. But with less than an hour gone and over 8 hours to go, I think it’s going to be a slog.

Sad. But it was fun while it lasted, Reacher.

1 person found this helpful

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Not a Jack Reacher novel

If you are going to change the character's attributes and the writing style, just start a new book series. Very frustrating to read when character is not consistent.

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Not the same Reacher

This Reacher is careless, less skilled a fighter, and more brutish than previous books.

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Disappointing. Didn’t capture the essence of Reacher

Didn’t think much of this book. Nowhere near as good with change of author. Won’t be trying any more

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It’s not Scott Brick, it’s the story.

I thought I would have a problem with Scott Brick but he wasn’t that bad, it’s just the story was dreadfully boring. I really didn’t care “Who dunnit” at the end. I was simply bored. It’s really too bad because I have loved Jack Reacher up until Andrew started writing.

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Disappointed

We have always enjoyed Jack Reacher books but this one was a major disappointment.
The story was slow moving and far too detailed, but our biggest complaint was the narrator.
Scott Brick has the annoying habit of reading normal activity as very tense or exciting which takes away the real excitement at times of real excitement.
Our next Jack Reacher book will have to have a different narrator.

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excellent

loved it. classic kick a** Reacher . personally I like Dick Hill as reader

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Not the best Reacher book

But still great entertainment. Lots of plot twists snd turns. It is well worth the listen.

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Couldn't finish

I tried listening to book and put me to sleep every time, couldn't finish it. Simply boring book and completely wrong narrator.

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started on book 26 & going back for more

I started here partly by accident, but quickly fell into the world. The narrator is perfect, has the kind if drawl and pacing you would expect from the genre and made me feel the story right away. It felt quite short but it was well done and not drawn out too long.

going back for more!

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  • Philip A
  • 2021-10-27

I Don't Know This Jack

Four audiobooks ago, Scott Brick became the new voice of Jack Reacher and, since then, the tough, no nonsense character created by Dick Hill has disappeared. I can remember every time Hill would say, "Reacher said nothing," it was like getting punched in the gut. For me, it became the signature of all 22 Reacher novels that Hill voiced.

Reacher, as characterized by Brick is whiny and soft and not a Reacher that I recognize. Scott Brick as Reacher is the audiobook equivalent of casting Tom Cruise as Reacher - totally inappropriate.

I would hope that the brothers Child will eventually come to understand the damage that this miscasting is visiting upon the audiobook versions of their work . . . and realize that there are actors like R.C. Bray and Ray Porter that are much more suitable to voicing Reacher than Scott Brick.

One more thing: Reacher, as written by Andrew Child is a much different character than the Reacher fashioned by the heart and intellect of Lee Child. Andrew's Reacher is less thoughtful, less obsessively calculating and more casually violent than big brother's Jack.

And therein lies the rub - narration aside, I don't really like this new Reacher. I think I might be better off leaving him in the rear view mirror of my reading and listening experiences - and moving on or maybe going back and rereading The Killing Floor, where I first met and fell in love with the real Jack Reacher.

197 people found this helpful

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  • shelley
  • 2021-10-26

Way to go Andrew Child!!!!

This book has a great start. Reacher is walking down a deserted road and comes across a woman he presumed is dead behind the wheel of a rather dilapidated ex army vehicle. She’s not dead, she is waiting for someone to come and try to kill her. Instead she ends up with Reacher offering his assistance. She believes her twin brother has been murdered. Reacher being the man he is has to offer his assistance. She’s ex military so is her brother.
I’ve noticed from reviews on other sites that people have complained about Reacher’s age and they don’t believe that he would be able to fight the way he does. Since I’m the same age he is, I like to think that he can. It’s ok to suspend believability every now and then. It makes the story more exciting. Should Reacher come rolling up in a manual chair with bulging arm muscles and then kick the stuffing out of a bad guy? Less believable? More exciting? Hmmm...
I think Lee Child’s brother Andrew has done an commendable job stepping into his brother’s shoes. I would much rather see him take over as long as he can continue the series in the same vein then see the series come to a finale. This is one of my favorite series so I’m all for Andrew picking it up and running.
Scott Brick... need I say more? I do think there are narrators more like Dick Hill who would be a better fit for the character but I have no complaints about the narrative.
This book has my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.
If you found this review helpful please indicate so.
Thank You.

117 people found this helpful

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  • Gilmoremil
  • 2021-10-28

RIP Reacher

I have read every Reacher novel. Anticipated the new releases and been sad when I read them too quickly and they were over. One of my all time favorite characters. The character in this novel is a guy from an overwrought spy novel. He is not Jack Reacher. It’s been coming for a while but I have continued to buy every new release in hopes the real Reacher showed up again. Unfortunately, this will be my last Reacher purchase. You had a great run Mr Jack Reacher. Rest In Peace.

89 people found this helpful

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  • Richard M Bireley
  • 2021-10-28

Major Disappointment

Hard to believe this is actually a Jack Reacher story and equally hard to believe it could have been written by Lee Child, if in fact it was. After waiting over a year looking forward to picking up where the long string of prior great Reacher novels left off, this book is written so differently it's hard to shake the feeling it had to be written by someone else, perhaps Andrew Child? Told in the first person seems very strange and the narration leaves a lot to be desired. Leaves me seriously doubting if I'll be interested in continuing the Reacher saga. Very disappointed.

78 people found this helpful

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  • matt
  • 2021-10-27

I'm sad.

For the first time, I didn't like a Reacher book. I have all of them. Dick Hill is Reacher. Scott Brick didn't pull it off. The story line wasn't necessarily hard to follow, but it wasn't exciting or intriguing. So, it got lost in my own thoughts.

Maybe next time.

63 people found this helpful

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  • ParamedTX
  • 2021-10-27

Definitely not the original Reacher

You can definitely tell this was not written by Lee Child. Reacher feels like a generic action hero. I’m disappointed, but hopeful that Andrew will work out the kinks in future novels.
The narrator is not the best either. It just does not feel like Reacher.

46 people found this helpful

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  • it's me
  • 2021-10-28

Reacher is dead. Long live Reacher.

Where to start? I must say I was looking forward to someone taking the reigns, as it was obvious that Lee Child had called in the two previous books. There were moments where I felt a glimmer of hope, but the ridiculously plotted story line, the newly plotted stupidity of the main character. The moments when the author seemed to feel he'd been more clever than the audience? Reacher is dead. Don't bother.

44 people found this helpful

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  • Emma Dudak
  • 2021-10-29

8:22…that’s how long I made it.

This is going to be as bad as the last book.

I’ll buy the next book that doesn’t have Andrew on the cover.

41 people found this helpful

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  • Rusty Legend
  • 2021-10-29

Lee Child could not have written this rip off …

I waited forever it seems for this book….what a disappointment. There was no character development. No lead up or the usual back story to get the reader involved. No Reacher humor. Nothing but fighting and killing. 9 hours of fighting and killing. It got so that I was hoping the female lead would get a bullet in her head. Plus, I dislike first person narratives.

39 people found this helpful

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  • km
  • 2021-10-28

Really?

Lee Child books are getting worse, trying to do too much, save the world every few days. Ugh.

24 people found this helpful