SECOND SON by Lee Child
Second Son by Lee Child is the first juvenile Jack Reacher story the author has given his fans via the ebook market. I don’t know if the story was actually intended for YA readers, but I’m going to let my 13 year old sit down with this one. Maybe it’ll lead him into the adult Jack Reacher books eventually, and that’s a favorite place for me to be.
The story broadens some of Reacher’s past that curious fans will enjoy. However, the young Reacher you read about in these pages (and he’s even called Reacher by his parents, not Jack, which was weird at first) isn’t far removed from the adult Reacher. Apparently he doesn’t yet have his folding toothbrush, but his attitudes about life and his observation skills and logic are all intact.
The plot revolves around family after they’ve received a new posting in Okinawa. Reacher’s older brother Joe is worried about the placement tests that are going to be given at school. His mother’s father is dying in France, though that doesn’t quite tie in with everything else that is going on. And his father has been placed in charge of ultra-secret ops that has changed since Gerald Ford took office as President of the United States.
The local color and dialogue is great. Joe’s responses to the local bully is fantastic and I looked forward to the inevitable fight that broke out at the end of the book. The buildup to the mystery and the overall plot complications was well done.
But I was a little dismayed by how easy Reacher made all the solutions seem. And this from a boy who was telling military intelligence how to do their jobs. It was weird in a way, but it was very much a Reacher solution. Just far-fetched.
I don’t know if Lee Child is planning any more young Reacher stories, but I bet there are a ton of things he could explore with the character if he decided to do that. I’d read them all.