The Sentinel by Lee Child and Andrew Child is the twenty-fifth addition to the bestselling Jack Reacher series. Lee and his younger brother Andrew have joined forces to give the action-packed series an exciting new refresh.
Jack Reacher gets off a bus in Nashville, Tennessee, in a quest for food, lodging and some good country music. But when he encounters a band of musicians who have been cheated by an unscrupulous bar owner, he steps in to help…
Read on for an extract from The Sentinel by Lee Child and Andrew Child!
Lee Child and Andrew Child
Rusty Rutherford emerged from his apartment on a Monday morning, exactly one week after he got fired.
He spent the first few days after the axe fell with his blinds drawn, working through his stockpile of frozen pizzas and waiting for the phone to ring. Significant weaknesses, the dismissal letter said. Profound failure of leadership. Basic and fundamental errors. It was unbelievable. It was… a mistake. Plain and simple. Which meant it was certain to be corrected. And soon.
The hours crawled past. His personal email silted up with nothing more than spam. And his phone stayed silent.
He resisted for another full day, then grabbed his old laptop and powered it up. He didn’t own a gun or a knife. He didn’t know how to rappel from a helicopter or parachute from a plane. But still, someone had to pay. Maybe his real-life enemies were going to get away with it. This time. But not the villains in the video games a developer buddy had sent him. He had shied away from playing them, before. The violence felt too extreme. Too unnecessary. It didn’t feel that way anymore. His days of showing mercy were over. Unless…
His phone stayed silent.
Twenty-four hours later he had a slew of new high scores and a mild case of dehydration, but not much else had changed. He closed the computer and slumped back on his couch. He stayed there for the best part of another day, picking at random from a stack of Blurays he didn’t remember buying and silently begging the universe to send him back to work. He would be different, he swore. Easier to get along with. More patient. Diplomatic. Empathetic, even. He would buy doughnuts for everyone in the office. Twice a month. Three times, if that would seal the deal…
His phone stayed silent.
He didn’t often drink, but what else was there to do? The credits began to roll at the end of another disc. He couldn’t stomach another movie so he retreated to the kitchen. Retrieved an unopened bottle of Jim Beam from the back of a cabinet. Returned to the living room and put a scratchy old Elmore James LP on the turntable.
He wound up asleep, face down on the floor, after… he wasn’t sure how long. All he knew was that when he woke up his head felt like it was crammed full of rocks, shifting and grinding as if they were trying to burst out of his skull. He thought the pain would never end. But when his hangover did finally pass, he found himself experiencing a new emotion. Defiance. He was an innocent man, after all. None of the bad things that had happened in the town were his fault. That was for damn sure. He was the one who’d foreseen them. Who’d warned his boss about them. Time after time. In public and in private. And who’d been ignored. Time after time. So after seven days holed up alone, Rutherford decided it was time to show his face. To tell his side of the story. To anyone who would listen.
He took a shower and dug some clothes out of his closet. Chinos and a polo shirt. Brand new. Sombre colours, with logos, to show he meant business. Then he retrieved his shoes from the opposite corners of the hallway where he’d flung them. Scooped up his keys and sunglasses from the bookcase by the door. Stepped out into the corridor. Rode down in the elevator, alone. Crossed the lobby. Pushed through the heavy revolving door and paused on the sidewalk. The mid-morning sun felt like a blast furnace and its sudden heat drew beads of sweat from his forehead and armpits. He felt a flutter of panic. Guilty people sweat. He’d read that somewhere, and the one thing he was desperate to avoid was looking guilty. He glanced around, convinced that everyone would be staring at him, then forced himself to move. He picked up the pace, feeling more conspicuous than if he’d been walking down the street naked. But the truth was that most of the people he passed didn’t even notice he was there.
In fact, only two of them paid him any attention at all.
The same time Rusty Rutherford was coming out of his apartment, Jack Reacher was breaking into a bar. He was in Nashville, Tennessee, seventy-five miles north and east of Rutherford’s sleepy little town, and he was searching for the solution to a problem. It was a practical matter, primarily. A question of physics. And biology. Specifically, how to suspend a guy from a ceiling without causing too much permanent damage. To the ceiling, at least. He was less concerned about the guy.
The ceiling belonged to the bar. And the bar belonged to the guy. Reacher had first set foot in the place two days earlier. On Saturday. Almost Sunday, because it was close to midnight by the time he got into town. His journey had not gone well. The first bus he rode caught fire and its replacement got wedged under a low bridge after its driver took a wrong turn twenty miles out. Reacher was stiff from the prolonged sitting when he eventually climbed out at the Greyhound station, so he moved away to the side, near the smokers’ pen, and took a few minutes to stretch the soreness out of his muscles and joints. He stood there, half hidden in the shadows, while the rest of the passengers milled around and talked and did things with their phones and reclaimed their luggage and gradually drifted away.
Reacher stayed where he was. He was in no hurry. He’d arrived later than expected, but that was no major problem. He had no appointments to keep. No meetings to attend. No one was waiting for him, getting worried or getting mad. He’d planned to find a place to stay for the night. A diner, for some food. And a bar where he could hear some good music. He should still be able to do all those things. He’d maybe have to switch the order around. Maybe combine a couple of activities. But he’d live. And with some hotels, the kind Reacher preferred, it can work to show up late. Especially if you’re paying cash.
If you like Jack Reacher then have a look through our website as we review all the books that are similar to Jack Reacher. This latest collaboration is exciting to see how the new Jack Reacher character changes. Lee Child is an exceptional writer who along with Andrew Child will no doubt bring a new classic book. Books like Jack Reacher will be keeping an eye on how these new novels pan out.
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