The character's name first came to Child in a supermarket when an old lady, noting the span of Child's arms, asked for his help in reaching out to a can of pears. On seeing this, Child's wife commented that if his writing career did not work out he could "always get a job as a reacher in a supermarket". Reacher's ex-military background was a specific and tactical choice on his behalf. Child has explained, "I thought that I would do a book that's not the same as everybody else's. Everybody else had their guy working: a private guy in Boston or a police lieutenant in L. A. , or wherever. I thought, 'Well, he won't be working, and he won't live anywhere, and let's just take it from there. '" Child also felt that this origin would lend itself to the character's personality and nomadic lifestyle: "This idea of the rootless alienation has got to come from somewhere, and I noticed that the most alienated people are always ex-military, because it's like going from one solar system to the other, it's so different. So that was an easy choice: Make him ex-military. Then make him ex-military police because, broadly speaking, these would be crime novels, and he had to have some investigative experience, and he had to understand procedures and forensics and so on. So that part was all set in stone".
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