A World Without Jack Reacher??
Lee Child and Andrew Child will be joining us for a Zoom Author Chat on Monday, December 14th @ 7:30 PM EST.
In preparation for their visit, I checked out their “About the Authors” section on their website. I learned something about Lee that I did not know. He had worked in television in England for 18 years as a presentation director and was quite successful. Then in 1995 at the age of 40, he was fired due to corporate restructuring. He had a wife, daughter and no skills except for the work he had been doing for television. So, what did he do? He went out, spent $6 for paper and pencils, and decided to write a book.
That endeavor would become his first Jack Reacher book, Killing Floor. Since then, Lee went on to write 24 more Jack Reacher novels and sell over 100 million copies of his books worldwide in 49 languages and 101 territories. The Jack Reacher brand is worth over 1 billion dollars. You read that right. Billion. It is estimated that every 9 seconds, a Jack Reacher novel is sold somewhere in the word. I’d say that’s pretty darn good.
This past January, I woke up, got my liquid vitamins, turned on my computer, opened Facebook, and quite nearly spewed my liquid vitamin drink when I read that Lee Child had announced he was transitioning to retirement and that his brother, Andrew, was going to take over the series. As a long-time Bookseller, this news was quite shocking. It also rocked the literary world. On the other hand, it was wonderful news because I happened to know Andrew, who is also an extremely talented writer and one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. I sent him an IM to verify the information about Lee and he said it was true. He was very excited to take on the challenge. When Lee wrote Killing Floor all those years ago, you know who was the first person to read it? Andrew. He’s been there every step of the way. There is no one better suited to take over the franchise.
The story of how Lee Child created Jack Reacher stayed with me for several days. I thought about all of the upheaval we’ve experienced this year. Life as we now know it is nothing like life one year ago. No one had this on their bingo cards.
What happened to Lee in 1995 was really rotten. I’m sure whoever fired him feels like a fool now. But, what would have happened if Lee (his actual name is James Grant, by the way) had continued in his TV presentation job for a couple of more decades? Got his plaque or gold watch for his service and quietly retired. Would we have Jack Reacher today? Consider this, the man who got fired, now as a result of his books, has helped employ a lot of people. Helped give Tom Cruise a couple of jobs and there is a new Jack Reacher series coming on Amazon Prime (this time not starring Tom Cruise).
Something incredible happened out of something horrible. Maybe you’re dealing with some kind of disappointment. Maybe something grand can come out of something bad, like with Lee Child.
So, this morning, I raise a glass (of my liquid vitamins) to Lee Child. Thank you, Lee Child, for giving the world Jack Reacher. Thank you for all of the Jack Reacher books you’ve given us. Thank you for the entertainment. Thank you for the book sales that have helped booksellers like me the world over.
And to you, Andrew Grant, I raise a glass (of my liquid vitamins). Thank you for continuing the tradition & the legacy. Thank you for taking on Jack Reacher. May the franchise continue to bloom and grow in your very capable hands.
Lee and Andrew’s latest Jack Reacher book is The Sentinel. I loved it! Action packed and has some humorous moments. Everything you’d hope for in a Jack Reacher novel.
For the rest of you, be sure to mark your calendars for Monday, December 14th @ 7:30 PM EST. Follow me on Deborah’s Book Club on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for upcoming details for our Zoom Author Chat. Their books, including Killing Floor and The Sentinel, are available for sale at my Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/lists/lee-child-andrew-child-grant.