What makes Night School the best of the Reacher novels I’ve read is that Child has concocted a brilliant plot ... Child portrays bodies in action memorably...The details of the search are ingenious, the outcome makes sense and the writing is smart and surprising. This is one of the best thrillers you’ll read this year.
...while it’s surprising to find him as part of a group in this book, the changeup works. Unlike most Reacher books, which start at breathless velocity and then wind up having to work through huge, empty action scenes later, this one gets better as it goes along. Its complexity pays off with a better than usual MacGuffin and real teamwork against a global enemy ... the choices he’s made for Night School are smart ones.
...for 100 pages or so the book careens forward, drawing the death of a local prostitute and a group of German nationalists into its engaging search. There, however, it stumbles. Child gives away too much, too soon, a rare unforced error for this series, and more significantly Reacher seems strangely out of place in a military investigation ... When he’s battling a corrupt private military firm, the terse, forceful prose with which Child describes him serves to confirm Reacher’s toughness and credibility. But when he’s battling a jihadist group, that same tone seems like little more than a shrewder variety of fakeness, a subtler posturing.
This latest installment has all the classic ingredients: a great setting (Hamburg), a good villain, and a mystery that draws you in efficiently, escalates unpredictably, and has a satisfying resolution ... There is a big fight scene, and interesting details about Cold War history and missing nukes. All good stuff. It would be surprising if the book didn’t become the twelfth Reacher novel to make it to the top of the best-seller list.
...another timely tour de force ... The taut thriller is textbook Child: fast-paced and topical with a 'ripped from the headlines' feel. And while the book delivers whether you’re a longtime reader or new to the English author, for Child’s legions of fans, Night School offers a special treat. ... highly recommended.
The narrative that unfolds is intricate and highly entertaining. It doesn’t rely as much on Reacher’s quirky lifestyle choices. Instead, the super suspenseful plot turns on his ability to deduce and calculate, his gut feelings and wild guesses, his knowledge of science and human nature ... 'There are no time machines,' Reacher says at one point. But that’s exactly what Mr. Child has created in Night School, and it’s a thrilling ride.
The day to day operation of this assignment makes up the plot of this story, and basically that is not enough to hold the readers’ interest ... Child has written a fairly blah book. The story doesn’t come alive on the pages and the cast of characters are of no consequence. Since it is all set twenty years ago the reader knows no major harm to the country is going to occur.