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Home » Books & writing

Book Review: NEVER GO BACK by Lee Child

Submitted by on September 17, 2013 – 11:59 pm8 Comments

This review appeared last week in Shelf Awareness for Readers, and is reprinted here with permission.

never go backAfter trying for several books to get to Virginia, Jack Reacher finally makes it there in Lee Child’s Never Go Back, the 18th installment in the popular series. Reacher had long conversations with Major Susan Turner back in 61 Hours, and, liking her voice, decided to hitch his way to the DC area to meet her. Major Turner now runs the army’s 110th MP, a position he once held.

When he gets there, however, Turner is missing, with a shifty colonel in her place. The colonel gives Reacher a surprising order, along with news about two serious charges against him that could get Reacher arrested. The cases involve people supposedly from his military past but Reacher can’t remember them. Someone powerful is out to get him, but who, why, and what does Turner have to do with it?

But does the plot really matter if Jack Reacher is in it? Child is a reliable storyteller, and Reacher’s latest adventure contains the elements fans like best: the bone-crushing fights; Reacher going up against corrupt, powerful people; and the hot, smart female protagonist who’s very good at her job.

There’s a small downside to being reliable, though. One subplot suggests Reacher’s life might change drastically, but longtime fans will probably guess the outcome. And the coincidence of that subplot is too farfetched. But this is the beloved tough guy doing what he does best, and fans will probably go anywhere with him.

Nerd verdict: Go there

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8 Comments »

  • techeditor says:

    I read this too. I was disappointed. I’ve read only one other Jack Reacher novel, ONE SHOT, and I liked that book. That’s why I wanted to read another. But this one was way too farfetched. Here’s my review.

    Jack Reacher fans will be glad to see NEVER GO BACK, the next book in Lee Child’s series, and they will probably love it. I didn’t.

    This story is corny, even cartoonish. Jack Reacher is an all-knowing superman with supersenses and an ability to predict the future. Almost everything that happens is either impossible or unlikely.

    By comparison, Child’s ONE SHOT is less corny and even enjoyable. Perhaps that is because Child could write anything he wanted about the fictional places and circumstances in ONE SHOT. Whereas, in NEVER GO BACK, Reacher goes back to the U.S. army, where his actions are questionable; no one could get away with what he gets away with in NEVER GO BACK.

    • Eirego says:

      I don’t think you’ve read enough Reacher to comment, Techeditor. Try The Killing Floor and then work your way up to this one. Like PCN says, Lee Child is a reliable writer. He is one of the few writers whose books are under the category of automatic buys for me.

    • Naomi Johnson says:

      ONE SHOT is absolutely my favorite Reacher book, and I’ve read them all. I didn’t hate this one (as I did PERSUADER) but it’s not in my top 10 list of Reacher adventures. Jack is never-a-hair-out-of-place perfect in NEVER GO BACK, and that left me a little sad. Lee Child is good enough to convince me of the impossible. except when it comes to perfection.

  • Eirego says:

    Already started reading this one and while I do agree there are a few plot issues for me so far, I will keep reading because Lee Child knows what he’s doing with the character.

  • Kyle says:

    Thank you for the discussion and the fair review. Being new to Reacher, only having been introduced through an interview with Child (which was a fairly blanketed interview) on the book report radio show (archived interview on their site) I thought; “jeesh where’ve I been? I must get this!” After having read the discussion one thing is clear – Reacher is real good, but only from the start. Which makes me ask; are all his books stand alone – or do I source the very first one?

    • Pop Culture Nerd says:

      Welcome, Kyle. You should start with the first, Killing Floor, because it’s very good, but you don’t have to because the books are standalones. Among my favorites are Persuader, One Shot, Worth Dying For, and Without Fail. Hope you enjoy getting to know Jack Reacher!

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