Lee Child Just Did What?

Lee Child is the author of the immensely popular Jack Reacher series. You probably know Tom Cruise was cast as Reacher in two movies, but I hope you also know he doesn’t fit the description of the character.

The series has been ongoing for more than 20 years. It’s high quality writing, but I’ve only read the first two in the series. Reacher never pulled me in like others in the genre.

But the author has jumped ship. He claims he’s done writing. Now Reacher will continue on, but written by the author’s younger brother.

This seems, well, odd. No one says Lee Child hasn’t earned the opportunity to stop writing. Other authors who have written long, popular series typically don’t just stop writing them. There are several recent examples of authors who continued writing until their death. But let’s say Lee Child is the exception. He’s done. Okay.

In mentioning the previous authors it goes without saying that if the series is still being written at the time of their death, then there is no conclusion to it. That’s what I find most annoying about this. If he no longer wants to write the series, why not finish it over a final book or two. Wrap things up nice and tight for the millions of readers he’s amassed? Oh, right. Money.

The other issue I have with this is that the mystery genre seems to be the worst at this very thing. Authors will write a series for decades and never actually finish it. Sometimes they die and sometimes it gets passed along to someone else forever and ever. Young adult series, though often much more popular than mysteries, are always finished. Literary fiction, same. But mystery, nah, let’s keep this thing going for eternity.

I hate when series or characters are continued after the author’s death. It’s never about anything other than money. I imagine the publisher fought tooth and nail to continue the series once it learned of Child’s desire to retire. I know the counter is that the series continues for those readers I mentioned, but it isn’t the same. It’s never the same.

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