Better Off Dead A Jack Reacher Novel - book cover
Action & Adventure
  • Publisher : Delacorte Press
  • Published : 26 Oct 2021
  • Pages : 336
  • ISBN-10 : 1984818503
  • ISBN-13 : 9781984818508
  • Language : English

Better Off Dead A Jack Reacher Novel

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Jack Reacher is back in a brand-new page-turning thriller from acclaimed #1 bestselling authors Lee Child and Andrew Child.

Digging graves had not been part of my plans when I woke up that morning. 

Reacher goes where he wants, when he wants. That morning he was heading west, walking under the merciless desert sun-until he comes upon a curious scene. A Jeep has crashed into the only tree for miles around. A woman is slumped over the wheel.
Dead? No, nothing is what it seems. 

The woman is Michaela Fenton, an army veteran turned FBI agent trying to find her twin brother, who might be mixed up with some dangerous people. Most of them would rather die than betray their terrifying leader, who has burrowed his influence deep into the nearby border town, a backwater that has seen better days. The mysterious Dendoncker rules from the shadows, out of sight and under the radar, keeping his dealings in the dark.
He would know the fate of Fenton's brother. 

Reacher is good at finding people who don't want to be found, so he offers to help, despite feeling that Fenton is keeping secrets of her own. But a life hangs in the balance. Maybe more than one. But to bring Dendoncker down will be the riskiest job of Reacher's life. Failure is not an option, because in this kind of game, the loser is always better off dead.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Better Off Dead
"The mixture of brute-force and intellectual problem-solving is just right."-Booklist

"Smart writing, vivid action scenes, and dramatic twists mark this seamless effort. Even those for whom this is their first Reacher novel will be clamoring for more."-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Lee Child and Andrew Child return for another jointly written Reacher adventure. . . . Andrew Child smoothly slips into the signature minimalist prose of the iconic series, picking up just where his brother leaves off, for a book that should please old stalwarts and new fans alike."-CrimeReads
Praise for the Jack Reacher series

"The truth about Reacher gets better and better. . . . This series [is] utterly addictive."-Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"Jack Reacher is today's James Bond, a thriller hero we can't get enough of. I read every one as soon as it appears."-Ken Follett

"Reacher is the stuff of myth. . . . One of this century's most original, tantalizing pop-fiction heroes."-The Washington Post

"I'm a fan."-James Patterson

"The Reacher novels are easily the best thriller series going."-NPR

"Reacher is a man for whom the phrase moral compass was invented: His code determines his direction. . . . You need Jack Reacher."-The Atlantic

"I pick up Jack Reacher when I'm in the mood for someone big to solve my problems."-Patricia Cornwell

"[A] feverishly thrilling series . . . You can always count on furious action."-Miami Herald

Readers Top Reviews

OddsocksRichard Clar
As another reviewer has stated this book has lots of other book story points reused and crammed into this tepid story. I have read all the other books in the series and loved them all - but this just doesn’t feel like a Lee Child book, it feels wrong. I’m not sure wether his brother is now the lead writer or they are out of ideas but this is (in my opinion) the worst Reacher book by a mile. I wish they were more books from when Reacher was still in the MP’s.

Short Excerpt Teaser

Chapter 1

The stranger got into position under the streetlight at 11:00 p.m., as agreed.

The light had been easy to find, just like he'd been told it would be. It was the only one in the compound that was still working, all the way at the far end, six feet shy of the jagged metal fence that separated the United States from Mexico.

He was alone. And unarmed.

As agreed.

The car showed up at 11:02. It kept to the center of the space between the parallel rows of lockup garages. They were made of metal, too. Roofs warped by the sun. Walls scoured by the sand. Five on the right. Four on the left. And the remains of one more lying torn and corroded ten feet to the side, like something had exploded inside it years ago.

The car's lights were on bright, making it hard to recognize the make and model. And impossible to see inside. It continued until it was fifteen feet away then braked to a stop, rocking on its worn springs and settling into a low cloud of sandy dust. Then its front doors opened. Both of them. And two men climbed out.

Not as agreed.

Both the car's back doors opened. Two more men climbed out.

Definitely not as agreed.

The four men paused and sized the stranger up. They'd been told to expect someone big and this guy sure fit the bill. He was six feet five. Two hundred and fifty pounds. Chest like a gun safe and hands like backhoe buckets. And scruffy. His hair was coarse and unkempt. He hadn't shaved for days. His clothes looked cheap and ill-­fitting, except for his shoes. Somewhere between a hobo and a Neanderthal. Not someone who was going to be missed.

The driver stepped forward. He was a couple of inches shorter than the stranger, and a good fifty pounds lighter. He was wearing black jeans and a black sleeveless T-­shirt. He had on black combat-­style boots. His head was shaved, but his face was hidden by a full beard. The other guys followed, lining up alongside him.

"The money?" the driver said.

The stranger patted the back pocket of his jeans.

"Good." The driver nodded toward the car. "Backseat. Get in."


"So I can take you to Michael."

"That wasn't the deal."

"Sure it was."

The stranger shook his head. "The deal was, you tell me where Michael is."

"Tell you. Show you. What's the difference?"

The stranger said nothing.

"Come on. What are you waiting for? Give me the money and get in the car."

"I make a deal, I stick to it. You want the money, tell me where Michael is."

The driver shrugged. "The deal's changed. Take it or leave it."

"I'll leave it."

"Enough of this." The driver reached behind his back and took a pistol from his waistband. "Cut the crap. Get in the car."

"You were never going to take me to Michael."

"No shit, Sherlock."

"You were going to take me to someone else. Someone who has questions for me."

"No more talking. Get in the car."

"Which means you can't shoot me."

"Which means I can't kill you. Yet. I can still shoot you."

The stranger said, "Can you?"

A witness would have said the stranger hardly moved at all but somehow in a split second he had closed the gap between them and had his hand on the driver's wrist. Which he pulled up, like a proud fisherman hauling something from the sea. He forced the guy's arm way above his head. He hoisted it so high the guy was raised up on his tiptoes. Then he drove his left fist into the guy's side. Hard. The kind of punch that would normally knock a man down. And keep him down. Only the driver didn't fall. He couldn't. He was suspended by his arm. His feet slid back. The gun fell from his fingers. His shoulder dislocated. Tendons stretched. Ribs shattered. It was a grotesque cascade of injuries. Each one debilitating in its own right. But in the moment he hardly noticed any of them. Because his entire upper body was convulsing in agony. Searing bolts of pain shot through him, all stemming from one place. A spot just below his armpit, where a dense tangle of nerves and lymph nodes nestled beneath the skin. The exact spot that had just been crushed by the stranger's massive knuckles.

The stranger retrieved the driver's fallen gun and carried him over to the hood of the car. He laid him back, squealing and gasping and writhing on the dull paintwork, then turned to the other three guys and said, "You should walk away. Now. While you have the chance."

The guy at the center of the trio stepped forward. He was about the same height as the driver. Maybe a little broader. He had hair, cropped short. No beard. Three chunky silver chains around his neck. And a nasty sneer on his face. "You got lucky once. That won't happen again. Now get i...