The professor on Lee Child’s shoulder – New York Times

The professor on Lee Child’s shoulder – New York Times

Lee Child, left, and Andy Martin.

NOVEMBER 20, 2015

THE tough-guy hero Jack Reacher first appeared 18 years ago in Lee Child’s novel “Killing Floor.” On Sept. 1, 2014, Mr. Child started writing “Make Me,” the 20th in his best-selling Reacher series. But for once he was not alone in his office in Manhattan. He was being observed by Andy Martin, a longtime Reacher fan and University of Cambridge lecturer, sitting a few feet behind him and shadowing the creative process all the way from the first word (“Moving”) to the last (“needle”).

While Mr. Child was writing, Mr. Martin was simultaneously writing about him writing, typically for several hours a day.

The bare-bones plot of “Make Me”: A big guy called Keever is buried using a backhoe; Reacher gets off a train in the town of Mother’s Rest; a mysterious woman is waiting for him (or is she?) at the station; the town is visited by death and destruction.
In a recent conversation, the authors reflected on their cheek-by-jowl arrangement, beginning with a progress report on Mr. Child’s current novel.
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