Saturday, February 10, 2024

Four of the best boundary pushing mysteries in beloved series

Nick Petrie received his MFA in fiction from the University of Washington, won a Hopwood Award for short fiction while an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, and his story “At the Laundromat” won the 2006 Short Story Contest in the The Seattle Review, a national literary journal. A husband and father, he runs a home-inspection business in Milwaukee. His novels in the Peter Ash series include The Drifter, winner of the ITW Thriller Award and the Barry Award for Best First Novel, Burning Bright, Light It Up, Tear It Down, The Wild One, The Breaker, and The Runaway. His latest novel in the series is The Price You Pay.

At CrimeReads Petrie tagged four novels that "were not only some of my favorites in each series, they’re also standouts in excellence that showcase how series writers can really shine by breaking their own rules." One title on the list:
Lee Child – The Enemy (Jack Reacher #8)

In Lee Child’s outstanding Jack Reacher series, the first seven books have Reacher, an ex-army loner, bulldozing his way through the present-day world as a civilian, although in several books Reacher does have a limited connection to law enforcement. In The Enemy, however, Child goes back to 1989 to show us Reacher’s life as the unit commander of the 110th Special Investigations Unit.

And Child reaps the rewards of this simple yet elegant choice. Although it is mentioned often in earlier books, readers had never really seen Reacher at work with the Special Investigators. Child also gives us Reacher’s real-time take on the Army, military life, and the chain of command. This combination deepens the reader’s understanding of the character and the series by showing the forces that shaped him and his choices later in life.

More than anything, though, this move into the past puts readers on notice that this series will go wherever Child wants to take us – and we’ll happily go along for the ride.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue