Friday 12 November 2021

The Reacher Guy by Heather Martin BLOG TOUR #TheReacherGuy @drheathermartin @TheReacherGuy @RandomTTours #BookReview


Lee Child is the enigmatic powerhouse behind the phenomenally successful Jack Reacher novels. With devoted fans across the globe, and over a hundred million copies of his books sold in more than forty languages, he is that rarity, a writer who is both critically acclaimed and adored by readers. And yet curiously little has been written about the man himself.

The Reacher Guy shows us for the first time the young man behind the invention of Jack Reacher. Through parallels drawn between Child and his literary creation, it tells the story of how a lost and lonely boy from Birmingham with a ferocious appetite for reading grew up to become a high-flying TV executive, before coming full circle and establishing himself as an internationally bestselling author.

Heather Martin explores Child's lifelong fascination with America - and shows how the Reacher novels fed and fuelled this obsession. Drawing on exclusive correspondence and conversations with Child over a number of years, she forensically pieces together his life, from Northern Ireland and County Durham to New York and Hollywood. This is the definitive account of the man behind one of the most iconic series of our times.

The Reacher Guy by Heather Martin was published in paperback on 21 October 2021 by Constable / Little Brown. My thanks to the author who sent my signed copy for review, as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour 

I am a huge fan of biographies, I think it's because I'm nosey and I like to know more about people. I find it fascinating to get an insight to how a person becomes who they are, the why, the how, the struggles. 

I don't always read about people that I know a lot about, but am always drawn to those who've I've heard of, especially anyone in the book world. I have to admit that I've not read the Reacher books, but I have met Lee Child. I sat next to him at a publisher breakfast a few years ago. He didn't say much!

I'm not sure what I thought of him at that time. It was early, he was chatting to another well-known author and I was just a random person sitting at the same table. I'm not one of those people who interrupt others and I like to think that I respected his space.

Having now read this fascinating and expertly written biography, I'm not really surprised that Child just carried on chatting to his peer and eating his breakfast, it fits with the persona described in this book, and I feel better about that. It wasn't just that he didn't like the look of me!!!

It is obvious that Heather Martin has put a lot of work into this book. It's a long book at around 500 pages, but it's so well researched and so cleverly created that the pages just fly by. It's not the traditional birth to present time structure either, and keeps the reader on their toes throughout. 

Many people assume that Lee Child is American and that's not surprising really, given that Reacher is from the US and most of the stories are set there. Child lives in the US and has embraced all things America. He's a Brit though, brought up in the West Midlands and given the name James Dover Grant when he was born. It was many years later that Grant became Child and it's a story that is often as perplexing as any crime thriller.  He's a man who know what he wants, he sets out do do something and he does it. A man who was determined to provide well for his family and who decided that he could do this by writing crime thrillers. His sheer determination paid off and has continued to do so since he won award for his first Reacher novel in 1997.

I have huge admiration for Heather Martin, she visited so many places connected to Child. She spoke to so many people that have been in his life and then she had many conversations with the man himself. Piecing these together, especially when some stories are conflicting and producing this fascinating book cannot have been easy, but her absolute passion and belief in the subject matter shines through and it's really a pleasure to read. 

I could recount some of the fascinating facts that I've learnt, but that's not my job. I wouldn't give away the plot of a fiction novel, so I'm certainly not prepared to talk about the juicy bits in this book either! 

I'm sure that fans of crime fiction will devour this book, those who are fans already will learn more about their hero and those of us who were not so familiar with his works will be tempted to make a start on the Reacher novels.  

Expertly written, unusual in style, but totally fascinating. 

Heather Martin (author photo © Brian Aris) was born in West Australia. 

She grew up in Aix-en-Provence, Paris, and Perth, where she would fall asleep to the sound of the Indian Ocean. 

She left Australia for England to become a classical guitarist but found herself singing with a Venezuelan folk group and learning to speak Spanish instead. 

She read Languages at Cambridge, where she also did a PhD in comparative literature, and has held teaching and research positions at Cambridge, Hull, King’s College London, and most recently, the Graduate Center, City University New York. 

Heather is a long-time Reacher fan. 

While waiting to get her hands on the next in the series, she once read a Lee Child book in Spanish and wound up writing to the author about the fate of his character in translation. ‘The Reacher Guy’ is her first biography.

Twitter @drheathermartin

Lee Child comments: “I met Heather Martin some years ago, and we started talking about why people love telling and hearing stories. To get more depth and detail we started talking about why I do. Eventually I said, ‘If you want to really get to the bottom of it, you’re going to have to write my biography.’ So she did. It was a fun and illuminating process. I had forgotten a lot, and it was fascinating to be reminded. Now it all makes sense.”

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