18 Oct 2019

Interview with Lee Child

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Crime Reads interviews Lee Child on sequels and ghost writer successors.

I knew it was serious when he offered to pour me a mug of black coffee. We wandered into the kitchen and he refilled the coffee machine.

‘For the first time, I’m actually worried.’


‘Sales, obviously. We’ve got the new Stieg and the new Franzen coming out at the same time. It’s going to be tough.’

Lee had written a very fair and balanced review of The Girl in the Spider’s Web (by David Lagercrantz)—the Stieg Larsson sequel—for the New York Times (and kindly sent me a preview). Thoughtful. Shrewd. Pros and cons. ‘I thought your review was very fair and balanced,’ I said.

‘What I really wanted to do was to kill it. Stomp on it. Like a cockroach. It’s competition. I had to grit my teeth not to trash it totally.’

I sort of wondered what he thought of Jonathan Franzen. His name came up from time to time but I realized I didn’t know what he thought of his writing as opposed to the myth and the hype. And I wasn’t about to find out either.


I suspect Lee Child does not read Jonathan Franzen.

Blue Moon, the next Reacher novel comes out October 29th.

I read the Reacher books. They’re obviously not great art. I’d say they are not even really great thrillers. The plotting is often creaky. The conspiracies are not terribly plausible. And Reacher’s “I-want-to-wander-the-land-owning-nothing” shtick is absurd. But the fights are good, Reacher is a satisfying action hero, and they mostly satisfactorily entertain. I’m the kind of person who will read just about everything, and I find Lee Child’s books worth picking up.

Better Lee Child than that pretentious ass Franzen.

4 Feedbacks on "Interview with Lee Child"

PV van der Byl


“Reacher is a satisfying action hero”

What the critics don’t say is other than a few writers/books/movies that are appealing the rest of the trash out there is odious crap. What most people want to read or see at the movies is not some grand “Ulysses” tome but something enjoyable, a diversion from everyday life.


I read the first Jack Reacher novel and was underwhelmed. The plot was just ok, the gun related stuff was simply awful. I read the Amazon sample of the second one and swore off Jack Reacher forever. Mostly because of the poor research on guns, something that really grates on me as a competitive shooter, but also the character. He’s just a bit too “Kung Fu” for me.

Johnny Martin

I don’t read much fiction. It’s either corny or seems contrived. Yet Lee Child has such talent that his books have a plot twist or turn I always enjoy .


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