Lee Child on SPIDER’S WEB,
Maslin on Lee Child

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 11.33.47 AMspiders-webThere is plenty of Lee Child in this week’s New York Times 

For the cover of the Sunday Book Review, he offers his opinion of The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz (RH/Knopf; RH Audio) and today, in the daily NYT, reviewer Janet Maslin offers her take on Child’s newest Reacher novel Make Me (RH/Delacorte Press; BOT).

First, Child on Lagercrantz.

While he admires some of what Lagercrantz has done with the story itself, which he deems “a fine plot,” in the end he decides the task of bringing back Lisbeth Salander was impossible:

And what of Lisbeth Salander? Given that Lagercrantz knows she’s what ­readers want, her long and suspenseful introduction is masterful. It’s a striptease. She’s mentioned in the prologue (“One Year Earlier”), and then she’s not in the story at all, and then she is, maybe, purely by inference, and then we get a brief glimpse of her, and then another, and then some longer scenes. But it’s not until Page 216 that she actually speaks to Blomkvist. “Lisbeth,” he asks, answering her phone call, “is that you?”  “Shut up and listen,” she replies, and he does. And we’re off to the races. Or are we? Does she spark to life and get up off the slab?

No decides Child, she does not, “The sublime madness of Larsson’s original isn’t quite there.”

It is another story for Maslin’s reaction to Make Me.

She likes it, a lot, calling it “a hot one” and going on to say “Lee Child’s Reacher series has hit Book No. 20 with a resounding peal of wisecracking glee… Everything about it, starting with Reacher’s nose for bad news, is as strong as ever.”

Without spoilers, she hints to readers that the book marks a turning point in the series while giving a sense of its gritty core:

… this book’s spectrum of good and evil is so wide, and its depths of horror so extreme, that it seems impossible for even Jack Reacher to come away from it unchanged. Usually he walks away from one novel and into the next without even getting his hair mussed. Maybe not this time…[the book] takes Reacher from the kind of cracking wise his fans love and the violence that he understands into the eerie realities of 2015, not the ones Reacher learned in the last century as part of his military training.

News also just arrived that the second Jack Reacher movie will arrive next fall, again starring Tom Cruise.

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