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Past Tense

A Jack Reacher Novel
Written by: Lee Child
Narrated by: Scott Brick
Series: Jack Reacher, Book 23
Length: 12 hrs and 51 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (203 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Number-one New York Times best-seller.

Family secrets come back to haunt Jack Reacher in this electrifying thriller from "a superb craftsman of suspense" (Entertainment Weekly). 

Jack Reacher hits the pavement and sticks out his thumb. He plans to follow the sun on an epic trip across America, from Maine to California. He doesn't get far. On a country road deep in the New England woods, he sees a sign to a place he has never been: the town where his father was born. He thinks, What's one extra day? He takes the detour.

At the same moment, in the same isolated area, a car breaks down. Two young Canadians had been on their way to New York City to sell a treasure. Now they're stranded at a lonely motel in the middle of nowhere. The owners seem almost too friendly. It's a strange place, but it's all there is.

The next morning, in the city clerk's office, Reacher asks about the old family home. He's told no one named Reacher ever lived in town. He's always known his father left and never returned, but now Reacher wonders, was he ever there in the first place?

As Reacher explores his father's life, and as the Canadians face lethal dangers, strands of different stories begin to merge. Then Reacher makes a shocking discovery: The present can be tough, but the past can be tense...and deadly.

Praise for Past Tense:

“Child is one writer who should never be taken for granted.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“[Lee Child] shows no signs of slowing down.... Reacher is a man for whom the phrase moral compass was invented: His code determines his direction.... You need Jack Reacher.” (The Atlantic)

“Superb... Child neatly interweaves multiple narratives, ratchets up the suspense (the reveal of the motel plot is delicious), and delivers a powerful, satisfying denouement. Fans will enjoy learning more of this enduring character’s roots, and Child’s spare prose continues to set a very high bar.” (Publishers Weekly, boxed and starred review)

“Another first-class entry in a series that continues to set the gold standard for aspiring thriller authors.” (Booklist, starred review)

“With his usual flair for succinctness and eye for detail, Child creates another rollicking Reacher road trip that will please fans and newcomers alike.” (Library Journal, starred review)

©2018 Lee Child (P)2018 Random House Audio

What the critics say

“Cerebral.... One doesn’t want Mr. Child’s storytelling to end.... Get your copy soon before Past Tense sells out. Then enjoy the ride.” (New York Journal of Books)

“The way everything winds up for all the participants shows a satisfying generosity of storytelling spirit.” (Kirkus Reviews

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Deductive reasoning gone mad

I enjoy Jack Reacher stories and can endure the somewhat excessive deductive reasoning prowess of Reacher. But this time, the other players become a pretext for showing off logical reasoning among the characters and highly implausible. It was difficult for me to move on in the story beyond the couple trapped in the supposed motel...

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Plot great, Brick just ok

I think Scott Brick did an alright job, plus star because he had huge dick hill shoes to fill.

I loved this book, I found Reachers tie in to the evil plot well constructed and entertaining compared to previous titles.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Classic Reacher with a Twist

I found this to be one of the more intense Reacher stories and enjoyed the convergence of two storylines eventually coming together.

Narrated well and easy to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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My thinking on this book

All together I had to keep listening curiosities got the cat but l felt very confused about what was really going on. I am glad it is finished cannot recommend it. I normally love Le Child books

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Just ok, not my favourite

it had an interesting story, but fought to keep my attention. Jack Reacher has become almost verbose, and a lot of time was spent on an almost unrelated bunch of characters, though they did meet up in the end. Problem is there have been so many great ones....this was just..... interesting.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great book

great entertainment during long car rides. you may have to do some extra laps. A

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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slow paced but good

Started really slow, and never really got any faster. But still a good Jack Teacher story.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Another great Lee Child Book

A bit slow to start, but it quickly became interesting and then, as is usual, a two hour rush to the end.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Loved Scott Brick - Story, not so much.

I chose this book above all the other Reacher books because of the narrator. I prefer Scott Brick to any of the others who have narrated Lee Child's work. As others have previously noted, this story is tedious. It is, in fact, two separate storylines that never really connect until the last five or six chapters. I got the impression that the author was having a difficult time figuring out how to merge the two, albeit there were hints along the way. Still, it's not the best of the Reacher series, and it will, no doubt, be the last one I buy in audiobook format.

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worth a listen <br />

The story kind of went off in all directions but the characters were engaging enough to carry it off.
Missed Dick Hill but Scott Brick did just fine and a Reacher story is always worth a listen.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • shelley
  • 2018-11-05

FIVE STAR BOOK And NARRATION!!!!

Hmmmm... This book starts out kind of strange for me anyway. My two favorite narrators are Scott Brick and Dick Hill. Scott does certain books and Dick does Reacher. Unfortunately Dick Hill retired, so people who can't get used to a different narrator are SOL!!!!
Onward and upward and onto the book.
I started listening at 3am when this became available and picked up again this morning.
You have a young couple whose car broke down and are being ^helped^ by four men. . The men are in the process of remodeling an old hotel but there's something wrong with the whole picture...
Meanwhile Reacher has taken a detour to the town his father is from but can find nothing. The Reacher name is on no property records, no census records, nothing...
Interesting story. But it didn't feel like a Reacher book until...
The couple start feeding creepy about the brothers. They don't yet know, but they have reason to be. The brothers want them for something...
At the police station Reacher finally gets two hits on his name. One from 75 years ago, the other from only 1 1/2 years ago. The more recent hit on his name came from the owner of a hotel that's being remodeled ...
This book changes POV between Reacher and the couple. There is quite a bit of planning and calculating giving the story a little more complexity then some of the previous books. Don't get me wrong, this is Reacher , someone(s) gonna end up in the hospital!
I'm almost done and I don't want to be!!
This is a FIVE STAR BOOK with FIVE STAR narration by SCOTT BRICK...
This book has my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATIONS.
If you found this review helpful please indicate so.
Thank You.

181 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Peter
  • 2019-02-14

Terrible, and I love Reacher. Skip this one

Probably my tenth Reacher audio book.

Scott Brick is a terrible Reacher. Just a soft generic voice. Not even an attempt to be Reacher.

The book is oddly written and very much different than past works. Very little Reacher dialogue, mostly thoughts. Dual stories in an every other chapter style but poorly done. I’d guess it was ghost written off an approved outline.

Overall, a waste of 15 hours of my life and a credit. I kept hoped it would get better but it fell well short.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Roy1bear
  • 2019-04-03

disappointing <br />

I am a Jack Reacher fan. loved most all of them, but this one was very boaring for most of the book. started slow and really dealt in cute verbal meaningless dialog. last 1/3 of the book was much better but never lived up to the usual books.

performance, as always was great, but could not save the day.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Joey
  • 2018-12-09

Narrator was not Jack Reacher

I loved Dick Hill as Jack Reacher, I get it, he wanted to retire; however, this narrator did not compare whatsoever. Very monotone and it was hard to tell the characters apart, the women sounded just like the men, the accents were all mostly the same except for the guy from Yugoslavia. I may be a little biased for Dick Hill when it comes to Jack Reacher, but I'm open for a new narrator, just not this one.

The story was good, I liked the fact that it went to the past and had a good twist, maybe needed a little more Reacher fight action but over all it lived up to the Jack Reacher character.

25 people found this helpful

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  • EB
  • 2019-03-09

MISSED THE MARK!

I tried to stay with this book and I usually love Jack Reacher. I didn't like the narrator's voice or the structure of the story. I even skipped ahead hoping that picking up with Jack and others would make it better but it didn't. I don't know if it was creepy because of the narrator's voice, the characters or the story. Maybe all of those at once. I had to return it.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Wayne
  • 2018-11-06

I enjoyed this rather diffferent Reacher novel

I see that Shelley has already written a 5 star review. Few Reacher novels have affected me as this poignant family story has. PAST TENSE is in my opinion the best of the last few Reacher novels. I'm not going to write more about that because it risks giving the story away.

Now that Dick Hill has retired I am delighted to see that Scott Brick has replaced him as narrator of the Jack Reacher series. While their voices are somewhat different both are among the best male narrators. I've enjoyed many dozens of audiobooks narrated by both Dick Hill and Scott Brick. Dick Hill's narrations will be missed. I'll also note that George Guidall is six months past his 80th birthday so I must wonder how much longer he will continue to narrate audiobooks.

60 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Beth Mosier
  • 2019-03-07

Disappointed

The story over all was disappointing. Not what i expected from a jack reacher novel. He just shows up at the right time and saves the day. getting him there was not very enjoyable.

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Paige
  • 2018-12-19

Boring and a very slow-moving plot.

The narration was fine...I like Scott Brick. I have also enjoyed almost all of the previous Reacher books. But this one dragged on and on, with not much plot. The activities at the motel could have been summed up in 5 sentences, but dragged on for hours. I rarely return books, but this one is going back...not worth the credit.

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2019-01-12

Who stole Lee Child?

Scott Brick did a middling job as always. After all, Dick Hill is a tough act to follow.
As for the story, I place it near the bottom of the Reacher series. It is almost as someone else wrote it in the Lee Child manner. Simply a shadow of his best work, maybe second from the bottom. I hope Mr. Child gets well soon and gets back up to speed.

18 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rebecca L Riston
  • 2018-11-07

Great story...but I missed Dick Hill

I am a big Scott Brick fan...but I miss Dick Hill's stony narration. Great story, unpredictable and different, while still remaining classically Reacher.

37 people found this helpful