In the fall of 2014, writer and Cambridge academic Andy Martin spent a year peering over the shoulder of Lee Child, one of the reigning lords of mass market crime (or “airport”) fiction, as he wrote his latest Jack Reacher novel Make Me (2015), chronicling the experience in Reacher Said Nothing (2015). It is, in many ways, the ultimate meta-book as it is devoted, almost solely, to the conception and gestation of another work, the fictionality and artifice of which is not only entirely inescapable, but the nerve stem of the project. Yet, while Reacher Said Nothing is an examination of craft, glimpsed as a dynamic, still-unfolding phenomena, With Child (2019) serves as both its pragmatic sequel and its postmortem. It charts Make Me's unveiling to the world—tracking the exhausting publicity tour and the response from fans—but also reflects on the creation of the novel, with Martin re-litigating language choices...

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