Though recent books might have become a tad formulaic, Child’s latest thriller is the freshest, most original Jack Reacher novel in years, which could have something to do with Andrew Child, coming on to co-author for the first time. Either way, this entry—the 25th in Child’s series—packs a six-foot-five punch and takes readers on a wild, thoroughly entertaining ride ... Whereas Reacher might have felt more like John Wick in the last book than the lovable nomad fans have come to know and appreciate over the last two decades, Child has found a terrific balance here. While still a stone-cold badass, the Reacher this time around better resembles the Reacher from earlier books—a hero with a controlled rage bottled up in the form of a sledgehammer. It works for all the right reasons, capitalizing on his size and intensity, reminding readers once again why Reacher is one of the best characters to ever wander around the thriller genre ... Fresh, perfectly plotted, and packed with action, The Sentinal is one of the year’s beat, must-read thrillers . . . and proves that this series is primed to continue on at the highest level for many years to come.
... the writing style is ever-so-slightly different (Child’s writing is terser than Child and his brother) but the story is just as powerful ... Capitalizing on his size and intensity (a controlled rage bottled up in the form of a sledgehammer) we are reminded once again why Reacher is one of the coolest characters to ever wander around a topnotch thriller like this one ... fresh, lands a lot of unexpected punches and keeps you on edge to the very end. It’s a compulsively readable thriller that proves the series is primed to continue on at the highest level for many years to come.
Does this act of filial ventriloquism come off? After an effortful prelude in which Reacher beats up a nasty Nashville bar owner on behalf of the band he has ripped off, it pretty much does. I won’t pretend that The Sentinel rivals Lee’s early hot streak. But then Lee, by his own admission in Heather Martin’s recent biography, The Reacher Guy, was struggling to do that of late. And although Andrew takes on much of Lee’s artful simplicity of language and fares well with the set-piece violence, the new Reacher is slightly wittier and chattier than we are used to ... What we have here, once the throat-clearing is done, once our baddie-bashing former military policeman and his new allies are trapped into their rats-in-a-maze plot, is a thoroughly entertaining, mid-ranking Reacher adventure ... Heavens, though, when the world is crumbling, it’s good to have some of Reacher’s brutal certainties back. Pull back to observe the plot and it may all appear higgledy-piggledy in its construction. What matters, as before, is the intensity of the experience while you are in Reacher’s mindset. Few other bestselling authors would dare to bore you by detailing the length of their hero’s shower routine (a relaxed 14 minutes here). Yet that is of a piece with succinct yet avowedly thorough descriptions of restaurants, motel rooms, mansions, bunkers, junk yards, car parks and booby traps. So when the ultraviolence comes, when Reacher pulls off the impossible for the tenth time that week, we buy into it because of the commitment to detail ... As before, the storytelling loses its charm when the action moves away from our protagonist. These books always need Reacher’s ex-military mindset front and centre to sell their contrivances. Even so, you close The Sentinel thinking that the family firm is in decent hands. Good enough, anyway, that I’ll still be a customer for the next one in 12 months’ time.