Never Go Back by Lee Child

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Never Go Back by Lee Child

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: While it's rather similar to all of the other Jack Reacher books, there's a reason for that - Child has created one of the most entertaining series of recent times. Why change a winning formula?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448 Date: August 2013
Publisher: Bantam Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0593065747

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Jack Reacher is calling on a lady friend. He's never actually met her, they've just spoken on the phone, and he likes her voice. For a drifter like Reacher with nothing better to do, that's a good enough reason to head to Virginia and maybe buy her a coffee. Except when he arrives at his old unit's headquarters, the lady he wants to meet - new commanding officer Major Susan Turner - isn't there. Instead, he finds himself accused of homicide, and brought back into the army. Someone is going to be very sorry about this.

And does anyone really think it'll be Jack?

By now, anyone who picks up a Jack Reacher novel is surely pretty certain what they're going to get. You're guaranteed a thrilling read, some great dialogue, and lots of action scenes involving the 6 foot 5 hero taking apart bad people in imaginative ways.

If you are coming to Jack Reacher for the first time - where have you been? - this latest book isn't a bad place to start. In fact, none of the books are really bad places to start. I'd advise reading them in order, because I'm a bit obsessive about that, but they're pretty self-contained. Basically, the JR books are somewhere between a modern-day Western and a superhero story. Reacher doesn't have any superpowers - they're fiercely realistic - but he's in pretty much peak physical condition, is incredibly intelligent, and generally gets the job done by whatever means necessary (without harming innocents, at least.) In fact, Wolverine of the X-Men has a catchphrase that could have been made for our boy Jack - I'm the best there is at what I do. But what I do best isn't very nice. Reacher may not be nice, but he sure is effective.

Too effective, arguably. The two complaints you could have about this book are the two complaints you could have about pretty much any Reacher novel. They're formulaic - not necessarily a bad thing, to be fair, just something to be aware of - and it's relatively rare for there to be any real doubt that Jack will win through without any serious problems. Here, he points out to an enemy at one point that dealing with the people sent after him is like batting practice, and it's hard to disagree, so few of them seem to be in a position to give him any trouble.

As long as that's not an issue for readers, this is absolutely a recommendation. Child is one of the only two adult authors who is on my personal 'must buy' list - Daniel Abraham, the epic fantasy author, being the other - which gives you some idea of how consistently good he is. This is the 18th in the series, and Random House announced earlier today that he's signed a deal for another 3. I'm certainly on board for them all!

Anything else by Child is worth checking out - in addition to the Reacher series, short story collections Vengeance by Lee Child (Editor) and Killer Year by Lee Child (Editor), which he edited, are enjoyable. Here at the Bookbag, we're also big fans of his brother's debut novel, Even by Andrew Grant.

Buy Never Go Back by Lee Child at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Never Go Back by Lee Child at

Buy Never Go Back by Lee Child at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Never Go Back by Lee Child at


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