Night School by Lee Child***

16 May 2023 | ,

Reading dates: 9 April – 16 May 2023

The twenty-first in the series takes Reacher back to his army days, but this time he’s not in uniform. In Hamburg, trusted sergeant Frances Neagley at his side, he must confront a terrifying new enemy.

The key to my reading of Night School was comfort: cosying in bed after a busy day at work, with my friends Reacher and Neagley who are reasonably predictable and go on some adventures. It was very good, but nothing spectacular. Just like a good, solid meal that is not challenging or overly nourishing but makes you happy.

It is a third person account at a time when Reacher was 35 years of age and in the army. There are some big themes and most of it happens in Hamburg although you would not quite know if it was not for the docks and a little bit of German. There is cooperative work with the FBI and the CIA but the characters from these agencies are vastly underdeveloped. In fact, I think a lot of the edges of the book are quite undeveloped.

As you will see below, I hardly learned anything from this book, which is an oddity when it comes to Reacher. I miss having more the insights.

Learning from Reacher

On good and bad things

Improvisation is a good thing. But panic is a bad thing.

Experience beats conjecture every time.

On performance art

He’s a counterculture guy. Into computers early. He says sooner or later they’ll make the world more democratic. Which means he steals and breaks things and calls it politics, not crime. Or performance art.

On rules

The old army rule. Eat when you can. The next chance could be days away. The woman pantomimed that Reacher should go sit down and she would bring a tray. Reacher pantomimed that he wanted to pay right away. His own rule. He might need to leave without warning, and he didn’t like to stiff ordinary working folk.

Previous reviews of the Jack Reacher series

#1 Killing Floor ***
Jack Reacher gets off a bus in a small town in Georgia. And is thrown into the county jail, for a murder he didn’t commit.

#2 Die Trying ***
Reacher is locked in a van with a woman claiming to be FBI. And ferried right across America into a brand new country.

#3 Tripwire **
Reacher is digging swimming pools in Key West when a detective comes round asking questions. Then the detective turns up dead.

#4 The Visitor ***
Two naked women found dead in a bath filled with paint. Both victims of a man just like Reacher.

#5 Echo Burning ***
In the heat of Texas, Reacher meets a young woman whose husband is in jail. When he is released, he will kill her.

#6 Without Fail ****
A Washington woman asks Reacher for help. Her job? Protecting the Vice President.

#7 Persuader ****
A kidnapping in Boston. A cop dies. Has Reacher lost his sense of right and wrong?

#8 The Enemy ***
Back in Reacher’s army days. a general is found dead on his watch.

#9 One Shot *** (2012)
A lone sniper shoots five people dead in a heartland city. But the accused guy says, ‘Get Reacher’.

#10 The Hard Way ***
A coffee on a busy New York street leads to a shoot-out three thousand miles away in the Norfolk countryside.

#11 Bad Luck and Trouble ***
One of Reacher’s buddies has shown up dead in the California desert, and Reacher must put his old army unit back together.

#12 Nothing to Lose **
Reacher crosses the line between a town called Hope and one named Despair.

#13 Gone Tomorrow ****
On the New York subway, Reacher counts down the twelve tell-tale signs of a suicide bomber.

#14 61 hours **** 
In freezing South Dakota, Reacher hitches a lift on a bus heading for trouble.

#15 Worth Dying For ***
Reacher runs into a clan that’s terrifying the Nebraska locals, but it’s the unsolved case of a missing child that he can’t let go.

#16 The Affair ****
Six months before the events in Killing Floor, Major Jack Reacher of the US Military Police goes undercover in Mississippi, to investigate a murder.

#17 A Wanted Man *****
A freshly-busted nose makes it difficult for Reacher to hitch a ride. When at last he’s picked up by two men and a woman, it soon becomes clear they have something to hide.

#18 Never Go Back *****
When Reacher returns to his old Virginia headquarters he is accused of a sixteen-year-old homicide and hears these words: ‘You’re back in the army, Major. And your ass is mine.’

#19 Personal ****
Someone has taken a shot at the French president. Only one man could have done it – and Reacher is the one man who can find him.

#20 Make Me ****
At a remote railroad stop on the prairie called Mother’s Rest, Jack Reacher finds a town full of silent, watchful people, and descends into the heart of darkness.

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Night school