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Why Jack Reacher author Lee Child says he doesn't care about literary critics

Lee Child has 100 million reasons to ignore the snobbery towards crime fiction writers. That's how many Jack Reacher novels he has sold worldwide.

"I don't listen to the critics," he says, "it's the opinion of the people who buy my books that matters".

Crime fiction has now taken over general fiction in terms of sales in the UK.

It is a genre buoyed by the literary creation Child came up with after losing his job at Granada TV in Manchester in the 1990s.

He'd been there as a presentation director for around 20 years, and he was angry about what had happened to him.

What if there was someone who could simply turn up, sort out everyone's problems and just leave, he mused?

And so, Jack Reacher, the former military policeman was born.

Child's first novel, Killing Floor, was an award winner and launched the new writer onto an astonishing international career.

With his Jack Reacher crime books translated into more than 40 languages, the former Brummie has become a permanent fixture on the bestsellers lists.

Child has his own theory as to why Reacher, who travels alone in the books and arrives at the scene of the crime to right the wrongs, no questions asked, is so appealing.

Real life is not so tidy he says, crimes don't necessarily get solved, victims don't get closure.

What his crime fiction supplies is all that.

If you haven't read the books, then you may well have encountered Reacher on the big screen courtesy of Tom Cruise, who although nothing like the description of the 6ft 5in fictional character, has portrayed Reacher in two hit films.

"My fans weren't pleased," he tells me, that Cruise who's around 5ft 7in tall, played a character who was all about towering physicality.

But Tom is such a nice man he says, he went along with it.

Now though, the character is about to be launched on TV, but it won't be Cruise taking the role.

Child doesn't know who will play Reacher and he is sending out an appeal to his readers and cinema audiences to suggest a name, and is genuinely interested to hear suggestions, but says he'd like it to be a relatively new actor.

We immediately began firing suggestions.

Richard Madden, I ventured? The man from Bodyguard? Too good looking, he replied.

All actors these days are too good looking and Reacher is not.

So there you go. A 6ft 5in, not very good looking man who has big hands. Any suggestions?

Watch his full interview on our Youtube channel.