Last modified on 20 August 2012, at 04:04

Lee Child

Long experience had taught me that absolute silence is the best way. Say something, and it can be misheard. Misunderstood. Misinterpreted. It can get you convicted. It can get you killed. Silence upsets the arresting officer. He has to tell you silence is your right but he hates it if you exercise that right.

Lee Child (born 1954) is the pen name of British thriller writer Jim Grant, whose novels describe the adventures of an American former Military Policeman named Jack Reacher who is wandering the United States in search of redemption.

SourcedEdit

I have the 'thing' worked out — the trick or the surprise or the pivotal fact. Then I just start somewhere and let the story work itself out.
  • Long experience had taught me that absolute silence is the best way. Say something, and it can be misheard. Misunderstood. Misinterpreted. It can get you convicted. It can get you killed. Silence upsets the arresting officer. He has to tell you silence is your right but he hates it if you exercise that right. I was being arrested for murder. But I said nothing.
  • I thought: should I be worried? I was under arrest. In a town where I'd never been before. Apparently for murder. But I knew two things. First, they couldn't prove something had happened if it hadn't happened. And second, I hadn't killed anybody. Not in their town, and not for a long time, anyway.
    • Killing Floor, Ch. 1
  • So he died, because for a split second he got brave. But not then. He died much later, after the split second of bravery had faded into long hours of wretched gasping fear, and after the long hours of fear had exploded into long minutes of insane screaming panic.
  • Jack Reacher stayed alive, because he got cautious. He got cautious because he heard an echo from his past. He had a lot of past, and the echo was from the worst part of it.
    • Die Trying, Ch. 1
  • He was keeping track of time. It was nearly two hours since he had last looked at his watch, but he knew what time it was to within about twenty seconds. It was an old skill, born of many long wakeful nights on active service. When you're waiting for something to happen, you close your body down like a beach house in winter and you let your mind lock onto the steady pace of the passing seconds. It's like suspended animation. It saves energy and it lifts the responsibility for your heartbeat away from your unconscious brain and passes it on to some kind of a hidden clock. Makes a huge black space for thinking in. But it keeps you just awake enough to be reach for whatever you need to be ready for. And it means you always know what time it is.
  • The protection he relied on for nearly thirty years was based on just two things. The same two things anybody uses to protect against any danger. The same way a nation protects itself against an enemy missile, the same way an apartment dweller protects himself against a burglar, the same way a boxer guards against a knockout blow. Detection and response. Stage one, stage two. First you spot the threat coming in, and then you react to it.
  • He had no living relatives anywhere capable of leaving him a fortune in a will. He owed no money. He had never stolen anything, never cheated anybody. Never fathered any children. He was on as few pieces of paper as it was possible for a human being to get. He was just about invisible.
    • Tripwire, Ch. 1
  • Seven thirty-nine, more than three hundred miles to the north and east, Jack Reacher climbed out of his motel room window. One minute earlier, he had been in the bathroom, brushing his teeth. One minute before that, he had opened the door of his room to check the morning temperature. He had left it open, and the closet just inside the entrance passageway was faced with mirrored glass, and there was a shaving mirror in the bathroom on a cantilevered arm, and by a freak of optical chance he caught sight of four men getting out of a car and walking toward the motel office. Pure luck, but a guy as vigilant as Jack Reacher gets lucky more times than the average.
  • People have their reasons for giving rides, all of them different. Maybe they hitched a lot when they were younger and now they're settled and comfortable they want to put back what they took out. Like a circular thing. Maybe they have charitable natures. Or maybe they're just lonely and want a little conversation.
    • Echo Burning, Ch. 1
  • The two men walked on and stopped eight feet in front of him and faced him head-on. Reacher flexed his fingers by his side, to test how cold they were. Eight feet was an interesting choice of distance. It meant they were going to talk before they tangled. He flexed his toes and ran some muscle tension up through his calves, his thighs, his back, his shoulders. Moved his head side to side and then back a little, to loosen his neck. He breathed in through his nose. The wind was on his back. The guy on the left took his hands out of his pockets. No gloves. And either he had bad arthritis or he was holding rolls of quarters in both palms.
  • The cop climbed out of his car exactly four minutes before he got shot. He moved like he knew his fate in advance.
  • As serious as a heart attack. Maybe those were Ken Kramer's last words, like a final explosion of panic in his mind as he stopped breathing and dropped into the abyss. He was out of line, in every way there was, and he knew it. He was where he shouldn't have been, with someone he shouldn't have been with, carrying something he should have kept in a safer place. But he was getting away with it. He was playing and winning. He was on top of his game. He was probably smiling. Until the sudden thump deep inside his chest betrayed him. Then everything turned around. Success became instant catastrophe. He had no time to put anything right.
  • Friday. Five o'clock in the afternoon. Maybe the hardest time to move unobserved through a city. Or, maybe the easiest. Because at five o'clock on a Friday nobody pays attention to anything. Except the road ahead.
  • Jack Reacher ordered espresso, double, no peel, no cube, foam cup, no china, and before it arrived at his table he saw a man's life change forever. Not that the waiter was slow. Just that the move was slick. So slick, Reacher had no idea what he was watching. It was just an urban scene, repeated everywhere in the world a billion times a day: A guy unlocked a car and got in and drove away. That was all. But that was enough.
  • Reacher hated turning back. He liked to press on, dead ahead, whatever. Everyone's life needed an organizing principle, and relentless forward motion was Reacher's.
  • The guy that was standing said, "We don't want you here."
    Reacher said, "You're confusing me with someone who gives a shit what you want."
    "You won't get served in here."
    "Won't I?"
    "Not a hope."
    "You could order for me."
    "And then what?"
    "Then I could eat your lunch."
    • Nothing to Lose, Ch. 4 (2008)
  • "Best we can do. And we have to do something."
  • "I like to know things. I'm hungry for knowledge."
    • 61 Hours, (2010)
  • "Cold?" Reacher said. "This is nothing."
    • 61 Hours, (2010)
  • "Plan A is to hitch a ride out of here. But if they want a war, then plan B is to win it."
  • The driver wanted Reacher more than he wanted an undamaged front bumper.
    • Worth Dying For, (2010)
  • overwhelming force indiscriminately applied, not giving up on it well after he was sure no more was required.
    • Worth Dying For, (2010)

Running Blind (2000)Edit

  • People say that knowledge is power. The more knowledge, the more power. Suppose you knew the winning numbers for the lottery? All of them? Not guessed them, not dreamed them, but really knew them? What would you do? You would run to the store. You would mark those numbers on the play card. And you would win...Same for killing people.
    • Ch. 1
  • Suppose you wanted to kill people. You would need to know ahead of time how to do it. That part is not too difficult. There are many ways. Some of them are better than others. Most of them have drawbacks. So you use what knowledge you've got, and you invent a new way. You think, and you think, and you think, and you come up with the perfect method. You pay a lot of attention to the setup. Because the perfect method is not an easy method, and careful preparation is very important. But that stuff is meat and potatoes to you. You have no problem with careful preparation. No problem at all. How could you, with your intelligence? After all your training? You know the big problems will come afterward. How do you make sure you get away with it? You use your knowledge. You know more than most people about how the cops work. You've seen them on duty many times, sometimes close-up. You know what they look for. So you don't leave anything for them to find. You go through it all in your head, very precisely and very exactly and very carefully. Just as carefully as you would mark the play card you knew for sure was going to win you a fortune.
    • Ch. 1
  • People say that knowledge is power. The more knowledge, the more power. Which makes you just about the most powerful person on earth. When it comes to killing people. And then getting away with it.
    • Ch. 1
  • Life is full of decisions and judgments and guesses, and it gets to the point where you're so accustomed to making them you keep right on making them even when you don't strictly need to. You get into a what if thing, and you start speculating about what you would do if some problem was yours instead of somebody else's. It gets to be a habit. It was a habit Jack Reacher had in spades.
    • Ch. 1
  • The dynamics of the city. His mother had been scared of cities. It had been part of his education. She had told him cities are dangerous places. They're full of tough, scary guys. He was a tough boy himself but he had walked around as a teenager ready and willing to believe her. And he had seen that she was right. People on city streets were fearful and furtive and defensive. They kept their distance and crossed to the opposite sidewalk to avoid coming near him. They made it so obvious he became convinced the scary guys were always right behind him, at his shoulder. Then he suddenly realized no, I'm the scary guy. They're scared of me. It was a revelation. He saw himself reflected in store windows and understood how it could happen. He had stopped growing at fifteen when he was already six feet five and two hundred and twenty pounds. A giant. Like most teenagers in those days he was dressed like a bum. The caution his mother had drummed into him was showing up in his face as a blank-eyed, impassive stare. They're scared of me. It amused him and he smiled and then people stayed even farther away. From that point onward he knew cities were just the same as every other place, and for every city person he needed to be scared of there were nine hundred and ninety-nine others a lot more scared of him. He used the knowledge like a tactic, and the calm confidence it put in his walk and his gaze redoubled the effect he had on people. The dynamics of the city.
    • Ch. 1

Gone Tomorrow (2009)Edit

  • Suicide bombers are easy to spot. They give out all kinds of telltale signs. Mostly because they're nervous. By definition they're all first-timers.
    • Ch. 1
  • The world is the same jungle all over, but New York is its purest distillation. What is useful elsewhere is vital in the big city. You see four guys bunched on a corner waiting for you, you either run like hell in the opposite direction without hesitation, or you keep on walking without slowing down or speeding up or breaking stride. You look ahead with studied neutrality, you check their faces, you look away , like you're saying, Is that all you got?
    Truth is, it's smarter to run. The best fight is the one you don't have. But I have never claimed to be smart. Just obstinate, and occasionally bad-tempered. Some guys kick cats. I keep walking.
    • Ch. 10
  • You have to ration your opponents' victories. You have to mete them out, slowly and meanly. You have to make your opponents subliminally grateful for every little bit of compliance. That way you get away with giving up ten small losses a day, rather than ten big ones.
    • Ch. 43
  • "Why not go live on the beach?"
    "These things are a way of keeping score. I'm sure you have your own way of keeping score."
    I nodded. "I compare the numbers of answers I get to the number of questions I ask."
    "And how are you doing with that?"
    "Lifetime average is close to a hundred per cent."
    • Ch. 65

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