The author of the best-selling Jack Reacher novels is reportedly stepping aside and letting his brother take over.
In what is thought to be a literary first, Lee Child is handing over control of the acclaimed series of books to his younger brother, according to The Times.
Child – whose real name is James Grant – is said to have told his sibling Andrew Grant that the only condition for the handover is he writes under the name Child.
He told the newspaper he had thought of ways to kill off Reacher – a bruising 6ft 5ins vigilante hero – and originally considered having him go out in a hail of bullets.
“It would take an army to bring him down,” the 65-year-old Coventry-born writer said.
However, he eventually decided killing him off or retiring him would do his fans a disservice.
“Reacher had to have an afterlife after I was done,” Child said.
Grant, who will write under the pen name Andrew Child, is an established author in his own right.
The first rebooted Reacher novel, titled The Sentinel, will be released in October.
Although it will be written by the younger of the two brothers, the cover will read: “Lee Child with Andrew Child.”
Child worked for Grenada Television and only turned his hand to writing after being made redundant at the age of 40.
The first Reacher novel, Killing Floor, arrived in 1997. Child has since sold more than 100 million books, while Tom Cruise starred in film adaptions, despite being much shorter than the character.
This week Amazon announced it was adapting the series for TV.