Match Up edited by Lee Child

Review by Kylie Thompson

Rating: 4 and a half stars

Genre: short stories, thriller, crime

Publisher: Sphere/ Hachette


If you’ve ever read any crossover fanfiction, you’ll know that the question ‘what if two characters from different universes meet?’ is a hell of a compelling premise. It’s the basis of some amazing, and let’s be honest some woeful, fiction. We all have our favourite characters, and seeing them thrown out of their depths by a character well outside their usual frame of reference is a lot of fun.

It’s also the basis for ‘Match Up’.

‘Match Up’, clearly, is an anthology with a difference. This isn’t fanfiction in the traditional sense, of course- this isn’t a fan’s interpretation of the characters they love. Instead, the writers of famous crime and thriller franchises have joined forces- and universes- to answer that ever-present ‘what if’.

Would, say, Temperance Brennan survive an encounter with Jack Reacher? Could Joe Pickett irritate Lee Coburn into a shoot-out?

To call it a fun read seems a gross understatement. How could it not be? These are stories about the collisions of two universes, and characters that should definitely spend more time working together.

Surely, I shouldn’t have to say more than ‘Temperance Brennan and Jack Reacher’ though, right?

If you’re a fan of crossover fanfiction, you’re going to love this book. This is crossover fiction at its absolute best, with worlds and characters colliding so seamlessly it’s hard to remember that these characters don’t typically play together, and likely never will again.

Clearly, the writers had a lot of fun with this project.

Nobody wants spoilers, of course, but this is the sort of story collection to leave you flailing and making mortifyingly high pitched noises of glee at the pages. Consider not being around other people when you read it if you’re a noisy reader*.

For the word nerds, ‘Match Up’ comes with a bonus treat in the form of editor Lee Child’s introductions. Here, we’re given some tantalising glimpses into the writing processes that went into each story, and if you’ve ever contemplated collaborating with another writer, you’re probably going to love the look at how others have managed it. It’s fascinating in its own right to see how each pair of writers approached the challenge, and you just know there’s some hilarious stories we’re never going to hear about how they managed it.

‘Match Up’ is what happens when 22 kick ass writers collaborate on one hell of a read. It’s a fast paced powerhouse filled to overflowing with iconic characters and edge-of-your-seat adventures. If you’re looking for some new adventures from some old- and not so old- favourites, this is a must-read.

‘Match Up’ is published by Sphere/ Hachette, and is available at leading retailers.


* This is a thing I wish I knew in advance. It’s amazing the sort of weird looks you get when you’re making pterodactyl noises and flailing a book around on a train.


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