Lee Child (born 1954) is a British thriller writer, whose novels describe the adventures of an American former Military Policeman named Jack Reacher who is wandering the United States in search of redemption.
- Long experience had taught me that absolute silence is the best way. Say something, and it can be misheard. Misunderstood. Misinterpreted. It can get you convicted. It can get you killed. Silence upsets the arresting officer. He has to tell you silence is your right but he hates it if you exercise that right. I was being arrested for murder. But I said nothing.
- Killing Floor, Ch. 1 (1997)
- I thought: should I be worried? I was under arrest. In a town where I'd never been before. Apparently for murder. But I knew two things. First, they couldn't prove something had happened if it hadn't happened. And second, I hadn't killed anybody. Not in their town, and not for a long time, anyway.
- Killing Floor, Ch. 1
- So he died, because for a split second he got brave. But not then. He died much later, after the split second of bravery had faded into long hours of wretched gasping fear, and after the long hours of fear had exploded into long minutes of insane screaming panic.
- Die Trying, Ch. 1 (1998)
- Jack Reacher stayed alive, because he got cautious. He got cautious because he heard an echo from his past. He had a lot of past, and the echo was from the worst part of it.
- Die Trying, Ch. 1
- The protection he relied on for nearly thirty years was based on just two things. The same two things anybody uses to protect against any danger. The same way a nation protects itself against an enemy missile, the same way an apartment dweller protects himself against a burglar, the same way a boxer guards against a knockout blow. Detection and response. Stage one, stage two. First you spot the threat coming in, and then you react to it.
- Tripwire, Prologue (1999)
- He had no living relatives anywhere capable of leaving him a fortune in a will. He owed no money. He had never stolen anything, never cheated anybody. Never fathered any children. He was on as few pieces of paper as it was possible for a human being to get. He was just about invisible.
- Tripwire, Ch. 1
- Seven thirty-nine, more than three hundred miles to the north and east, Jack Reacher climbed out of his motel room window. One minute earlier, he had been in the bathroom, brushing his teeth. One minute before that, he had opened the door of his room to check the morning temperature. He had left it open, and the closet just inside the entrance passageway was faced with mirrored glass, and there was a shaving mirror in the bathroom on a cantilevered arm, and by a freak of optical chance he caught sight of four men getting out of a car and walking toward the motel office. Pure luck, but a guy as vigilant as Jack Reacher gets lucky more times than the average.
- Echo Burning, Ch. 1 (2001)
- People have their reasons for giving rides, all of them different. Maybe they hitched a lot when they were younger and now they're settled and comfortable they want to put back what they took out. Like a circular thing. Maybe they have charitable natures. Or maybe they're just lonely and want a little conversation.
- Echo Burning, Ch. 1
- The two men walked on and stopped eight feet in front of him and faced him head-on. Reacher flexed his fingers by his side, to test how cold they were. Eight feet was an interesting choice of distance. It meant they were going to talk before they tangled. He flexed his toes and ran some muscle tension up through his calves, his thighs, his back, his shoulders. Moved his head side to side and then back a little, to loosen his neck. He breathed in through his nose. The wind was on his back. The guy on the left took his hands out of his pockets. No gloves. And either he had bad arthritis or he was holding rolls of quarters in both palms.
- Without Fail, Ch. 1 (2002)
- The cop climbed out of his car exactly four minutes before he got shot. He moved like he knew his fate in advance.
- Persuader, Ch. 1 (2003)
- As serious as a heart attack. Maybe those were Ken Kramer's last words, like a final explosion of panic in his mind as he stopped breathing and dropped into the abyss. He was out of line, in every way there was, and he knew it. He was where he shouldn't have been, with someone he shouldn't have been with, carrying something he should have kept in a safer place. But he was getting away with it. He was playing and winning. He was on top of his game. He was probably smiling. Until the sudden thump deep inside his chest betrayed him. Then everything turned around. Success became instant catastrophe. He had no time to put anything right.
- The Enemy, Ch. 1 (2004)
- Friday. Five o'clock in the afternoon. Maybe the hardest time to move unobserved through a city. Or, maybe the easiest. Because at five o'clock on a Friday nobody pays attention to anything. Except the road ahead.
- One Shot, Ch. 1 (2005)
- Jack Reacher ordered espresso, double, no peel, no cube, foam cup, no china, and before it arrived at his table he saw a man's life change forever. Not that the waiter was slow. Just that the move was slick. So slick, Reacher had no idea what he was watching. It was just an urban scene, repeated everywhere in the world a billion times a day: A guy unlocked a car and got in and drove away. That was all. But that was enough.
- The Hard Way, Ch. 1 (2006)
- The guy that was standing said, "We don't want you here."
Reacher said, "You're confusing me with someone who gives a shit what you want."
"You won't get served in here."
"Not a hope."
"You could order for me."
"And then what?"
"Then I could eat your lunch."
- Nothing to Lose, Ch. 1 (2008)
Running Blind (2000)
- People say that knowledge is power. The more knowledge, the more power. Suppose you knew the winning numbers for the lottery? All of them? Not guessed them, not dreamed them, but really knew them? What would you do? You would run to the store. You would mark those numbers on the play card. And you would win...Same for killing people.
- Ch. 1
- Suppose you wanted to kill people. You would need to know ahead of time how to do it. That part is not too difficult. There are many ways. Some of them are better than others. Most of them have drawbacks. So you use what knowledge you've got, and you invent a new way. You think, and you think, and you think, and you come up with the perfect method. You pay a lot of attention to the setup. Because the perfect method is not an easy method, and careful preparation is very important. But that stuff is meat and potatoes to you. You have no problem with careful preparation. No problem at all. How could you, with your intelligence? After all your training? You know the big problems will come afterward. How do you make sure you get away with it? You use your knowledge. You know more than most people about how the cops work. You've seen them on duty many times, sometimes close-up. You know what they look for. So you don't leave anything for them to find. You go through it all in your head, very precisely and very exactly and very carefully. Just as carefully as you would mark the play card you knew for sure was going to win you a fortune.
- Ch. 1
- People say that knowledge is power. The more knowledge, the more power. Which makes you just about the most powerful person on earth. When it comes to killing people. And then getting away with it.
- Ch. 1
- Life is full of decisions and judgments and guesses, and it gets to the point where you're so accustomed to making them you keep right on making them even when you don't strictly need to. You get into a what if thing, and you start speculating about what you would do if some problem was yours instead of somebody else's. It gets to be a habit. It was a habit Jack Reacher had in spades.
- Ch. 1
- The dynamics of the city. His mother had been scared of cities. It had been part of his education. She had told him cities are dangerous places. They're full of tough, scary guys. He was a tough boy himself but he had walked around as a teenager ready and willing to believe her. And he had seen that she was right. People on city streets were fearful and furtive and defensive. They kept their distance and crossed to the opposite sidewalk to avoid coming near him. They made it so obvious he became convinced the scary guys were always right behind him, at his shoulder. Then he suddenly realized no, I'm the scary guy. They're scared of me. It was a revelation. He saw himself reflected in store windows and understood how it could happen. He had stopped growing at fifteen when he was already six feet five and two hundred and twenty pounds. A giant. Like most teenagers in those days he was dressed like a bum. The caution his mother had drummed into him was showing up in his face as a blank-eyed, impassive stare. They're scared of me. It amused him and he smiled and then people stayed even farther away. From that point onward he knew cities were just the same as every other place, and for every city person he needed to be scared of there were nine hundred and ninety-nine others a lot more scared of him. He used the knowledge like a tactic, and the calm confidence it put in his walk and his gaze redoubled the effect he had on people. The dynamics of the city.
- Ch. 1
- I do a little fact checking now and then. Other than that its impact is simply that email has revolutionized communication for me, and my website has built up a community of readers, which is a lot of fun.
- I felt alienated by the experience and decided to stay away from corporate employment.
- I had a brief theater background and loved the backstage world there's more backstage work in television, so I saw a job advertised and applied, and got it. That was back in 1977, when getting jobs was easy.
- I had been coming to America very frequently for many, many years, so I had plenty of exposure - and maybe the best kind of exposure, because I think first impressions are very important. Maybe I notice stuff that is just subliminal to people who live here all the time.
- I have the 'thing' worked out - the trick or the surprise or the pivotal fact. Then I just start somewhere and let the story work itself out.
- I just hang out and move on, like Reacher does. I depend on first impressions, because as a drifter, that's all that Reacher ever gets.
- I love touring. The rest of the year is very solitary, so it's great to get out with real live humans. I love to talk about books - mine or anybody else's. Can't think of anything odd that happened this time around. I met a few people I'd emailed with extensively - strange to put faces to names.
- I think my books come out very visual, which is an obvious consequence.
- I wanted a happy-go-lucky guy. He has quirks and problems, but the thing is, he doesn't know he's got them. Hence, no tedious self-pity. He's smart and strong, an introvert, but any anguish he suffers is caused by others.
- I wanted readers to be genuinely unsure as to whether she's telling the truth or lying. It meant making her partly sympathetic, and partly unsympathetic, which wasn't easy.
- I was determined to avoid the 'hero as self-aware damaged person' paradigm. I'm afraid as a reader I got sick of all the depressed and miserable alcoholics that increasingly peopled the genre.
- I was fired from my television job, simple as that. Well, downsized, really, a classic 1990s situation.
- I worked for the BBC's rival, ITV, the commercial network. What was great about it was that due to regulatory wrinkles, there was a lot of money that had to be spent on programming.
- I write in the afternoon, from about 12 until 6 or 7. I use an upstairs room as my office. Once I get going I keep at it, and it usually takes about six months from the first blank screen until 'The End.'
- I'm opposed to censorship of any kind, especially by government. But it's plain common sense that producers should target their product with some kind of sensitivity.
- In America, the fragmentation of the market spurred a chase toward the lowest common denominator and the cheapest programming. We'll never see the likes of Roots or Brideshead again, which is a shame.
- It's a tough case and the first time Reacher needs to recruit somebody to help him out. He uses a woman he knew in the army; she's a fascinating character.
- Obviously I watched the movies and the TV shows, but I guess I wasn't aware how deeply the influence was affecting me.
- She's a reflection of my fascination with the diversity of America— she's totally normal in New York, but a freak in Texas. There are dozens of such clashes in America.
- About Carmen Greer, a character in Echo Burning
- So, how to stay inside the world of entertainment without actually getting another job? I felt the only logical answer was to become a novelist. So I wrote the first book - driven by some very real feelings of desperation - and it worked.
- Specifically, I was determined to avoid the hero-as-self-aware-damaged-person paradigm. I'm afraid as a reader I got sick of all the depressed and miserable alcoholics that increasingly peopled the genre.
- The British regulatory system was revised, so that bigger profits were encouraged, which removed the option of big spending on programming. Quality just fell off a cliff, and all the old hands either left or were fired for being too expensive.
- The stories are all very contemporary, but Reacher is an old-West character for sure. He could be a Zane Grey character. But the funny thing is, I didn't really realize that until well after the first book was written, and I wasn't a big Western fan as a kid.
- There should be an unspoken rule that anything shown before, say, nine o'clock will be fairly inoffensive. After that, anything goes.
- Well, writers become writers because they love words and language, and attempting a non-native style is all part of the fun.
- What do I miss about the UK? Sadly, almost nothing. Maybe the midnight sun, in June in the north. That's all.