Night School (novel)

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Night School
Kindle edition cover
AuthorLee Child
CountryUnited Kingdom
SeriesJack Reacher
GenreThriller novel
PublisherBantam Press (UK)
Delacorte Press (US)
Publication date
7 November 2016[1][2]
Media typePrint (Hardcover, Paperback), Audio, eBook
Preceded byMake Me 
Followed byNo Middle Name 

Night School is a 2016 novel by Lee Child. This is the twenty-first book in the Jack Reacher series.[3][4][5] It is written in the third person.


In 1996, U.S. Army Major Jack Reacher is in Virginia to receive a medal for eliminating two militants in the Balkans when he receives orders from his superior officer and trusted friend, Leon Garber, to attend a special "inter-agency cooperation" school alongside Casey Watterman, an FBI agent, and John White, a CIA officer. Reacher quickly realizes that there is no school: the entire thing is an elaborate joint-agency operation overseen by Alfred Ratcliffe, the National Security Advisor, and his deputy, Dr. Marian Sinclair. Ratcliffe informs the three men that, through a CIA double agent, the government has learned that a sleeper cell in Hamburg controlled by a Middle Eastern terrorist group has cut a deal with an unidentified American soldier for $100 million. The three men are ordered to identify the soldier and whatever he's selling, and are given full access to anything they need, including bringing in their own staffs. Reacher chooses Frances Neagley, his former Sergeant.

Reacher and Neagley travel to Hamburg to begin their investigation, during which they get in a fight. Unbeknownst to Reacher, the men inform on him to their friends in the Neo-nazi movement. Summoned back to America, they are then informed that the CIA believes the intended merchandise to be a computer virus, which turns out to be a red herring. Reacher returns to Hamburg and meets the local chief of detectives, Griezman, who helps him find several more leads, including the murder of a prostitute and two black market dealers with ties to a local forger who provided the American with false documents. A witness, Helmut Klopp, then comes in and identifies the American, information that he also shares with Dremmler, a shoe seller who happens to be an influential Neo-nazi leader. In turn, Dremmler has Muller, Griezman's deputy chief, secretly shadow Reacher's investigation. The terrorists, meanwhile, arrange for the courier who had originally dealt with the American to be murdered in Kiev for their own protection, and send a new messenger, a woman, to complete the deal.

The team contacts the Army and learn that the American is Horace Wiley, an artilleryman who has been AWOL from his post for several months. Despite Griezman's attempts to intercept her, the messenger meets with Wiley and confirms the deal before leaving Germany. Reacher, through an extensive search of Wiley's past as well as meeting with both his "uncle" Arnold Mason and an aging commander who served alongside Mason during the Korean War, determines that the items being sold are "Davy Crocketts", miniature nuclear bombs developed during the Cold War; a stash of ten bombs was accidentally left behind by the Army in a German supply depot, and Wiley's entire service career was dedicated to finding those bombs and selling them so that he could purchase a ranch in Argentina. Wiley subsequently murders the forger in his apartment and rents a van to move the bombs, which both the team and Dremmler learn about.

After setting an explosion to distract the authorities and narrowly evading Reacher's team when they search his apartment, Wiley is stabbed dead by two of Dremmler's men, who steal the van and the codes required to detonate the bombs. The team arrives at the same time as the crew hired by the terrorists to transport the goods; Reacher kills the workers and captures the messenger. With Griezman's help, he figures out that the van is being kept at Dremmler's shoe warehouse and takes Neagley and two military cops, Hooper and Orozco, to retrieve it. He also finds Dremmler in his office and kills him to cover up the theft. The military covers up all other evidence and the bombs are returned to the United States. Reacher and Neagley are both awarded a Commendation Medal for their service.


Night School was generally well-received by critics. The Washington Post called it, "the best of the Reacher novels I’ve read," [6] while the Evening Standard called it "utterly gripping." [7]


  1. ^ "Night School". Goodreads. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  2. ^ "Night School A Jack Reacher Novel". Penguin Random House. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  3. ^ "Night School: (Jack Reacher 21)". Amazon. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Night School (Jack Reacher #21)". Goodreads. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  5. ^ Niasseri, Sassan (20 November 2015). "Bestseller-Autor Lee Child: Neuer Reacher-Roman „Night School" erscheint 2016 und spielt in Hamburg". Rolling Stone (in German). Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  6. ^ Patrick Anderson (2016-11-13). "Jack Reacher: Lee Child's giant hero battles to save America in 'Night School'". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-05-26.
  7. ^ Mark Sanderson (2016-11-10). "Night School by Lee Child - review". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 2018-05-26.

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