Never Go Back by Lee Child

Never Go Back (Jack Reacher, #18)Never Go Back

by Lee Child
Series: Jack Reacher, #18

Hardcover, 400 pg.
Delacorte Press, 2013
Read: July 23 – 24, 2014

The journey that Reacher started following 61 Hours is at an end — he’s back at the 110th MP, his old unit to meet the person the goes with the voice at the other end of the phone line — the new CO, Maj. Susan Turner. He’s planning on asking her to dinner, and to see what happens from there. Sure, walking from South Dakota to get a date seems extreme — but other than bringing justice to various locations between South Dakota and Virginia, what else does Reacher have in his day planner?

Sure, since this is Jack Reacher — it won’t go all that easily for him. He arrives at the gate, hoping to get a date — instead he gets a global conspiracy, a cross-country trip, a chance to visit life-changing mistakes he may have made over a decade ago, and a return to active duty. On the whole, this is a lot less violent than most Reacher novels — with a comparatively very small body count (but it is violent, and there is a body count — never fear).

This story alone is fun — Reacher being Reacher. This time he’s got a version of himself along for the ride. Turner has the job he used to have, has a lot of the same opinions, skills, background — but Turner’s made some different choices in her life, has different attitudes, making her a mirror image in many ways (not just being small and female). She’s willing to do a lot to take down the criminals behind the conspiracy, but not as far as Reacher will. She’s far more interested in the courts and the Army having a crack at the conspirators, while Reacher’s just focused on stopping them and breaking as many eggs as he has to go get his omelet made.

Turner’s own appraisal of Reacher and the reader’s own look at her in contrast to Reacher tells us a lot more about the ex-MP than what we’ve seen before (at least adding depth and color to our impression of him, if not actual new information). In many ways Susan Turner is the most objective look we’ve ever gotten of Reacher (our typical omniscient third-person narrator isn’t terribly objective when it comes to Jack Reacher). She likes him — a lot — but is very critical. I like her and think there’s probably a lot her appraisal.

This was a very satisfying read — Lee Child and his hero, firing on all cylinders, doing what they do best. Told in a pretty fresh way, with added insight into the character. Just what the doctor ordered.

—–

4 1/2 Stars

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