It’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Reacher Guy by Heather Martin. -The Authorised Biography of Lee Child.
About the Author
Heather Martin 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. Follow @drheathermartin on Twitter
About the book
The Reacher Guy is a life of bestselling superstar Lee Child, a portrait of the artist as a young man, refracted through the life of his fictional avatar, Jack Reacher. It tells the story of how the boy from Birmingham reinvented himself to become the strongest brand in publishing, selling over one hundred million books in more than forty different languages across the globe.
Heather Martin interviews friends, teachers, colleagues and neighbours, including agents and editors. Based primarily on her conversations with the author over a period of years, together with readings of his books and research in his literary archive, this authorised biography reveals the man behind the myth, tracing his origins back through the generations to Northern Ireland and County Durham, and following the trajectory of his extraordinary career via New York and Hollywood until the climactic moment when, in 2020, having written a continuous series of twenty-four books, he finally floats free of his fictional creation.
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.”
The thing about biographies, even authorised ones, they tend to hover just above the surface. You will get the top layers and the more personal moments the person is used to sharing – for whatever reason, and yes that is said with cynicism.
Martin doesn’t even bother with the peeling. It’s just right in and dig to the core, of course it only works because Child is open and willing. The two of them play off each other like tennis pros, they compliment each other, which in the long run makes this a better read.
That in no way should imply the book would be less of a great read if the cooperation between writer and subject had been a little less cooperative. Martin has clearly delved deeply into the mindset of the man behind Lee Child, and the creator of Jack Reacher. Somewhere in between there is a division, and yet if you go deep enough the three are the same on certain levels.
I imagine a non-authorised version would have a lot to say about the psychology behind it all, but that’s a topic for another book. This is a well-researched and written homage to the man behind the image. Martin absolutely does the man, the body of work and the legacy, justice. It’s an engrossing read, and I highly recommend it.
Buy The Reacher Guy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Constable; pub date 29th September 2020 hardback £20.00 – also available as an eBook/audio. Buy at Amazon com. At Waterstones.