Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Never Go Back (Jack Reacher Book 18) Review

Writer: Lee Child

I really got into the Jack Reacher novels about eight months ago as I liked the look of the film, and was unable to see it in the cinemas. I have since read five of the novels, with this making six, having loved every single one of them.


Jack Reacher has finally made it to Virginia, but the person that he travelled to visit, Major Susan Turner isn't there, and Reacher is soon re-enlisted in the army, with two criminal charges/investigations against him.


This was a terrific book, and an amazing story. Lee Child has simply done something phenomenal with this series, and I have been extremely happy to have gotten into the series. Now this story wasn't one of the best the series has produced (at least from what I've read), but it was still extremely enjoyable, having all the traits that I loved about the other stories. I think it's the realism in Child's righting that I love the most, as although it's very gritty, and exciting, it's the realism that makes it that much more appealing, and in itself also makes it more exciting. Lee Child also does an extremely amazing job with the characters in his stories, and it was no different in this one, as there is so much depth to them, as well as individuality. Another thing that I really enjoyed about this book was the mystery, with the more mysterious Reacher novels seem to appeal more to me.

This story finally sees Reacher making it to Virginia, but as it always is with Reacher's life nothing is ever that simple. He arrives to find a Lieutenant Colonel named Morgan in Major Turner's office, and is soon re-enlisted into the army. I found this to be a shocking, and interesting twist to the story, and I was very happy with it. Child handled this part of the story perfectly, as following the quick paced start it was the perfect turning point to get the ball rolling. As a character Morgan was also a great person to antagonise Reacher, as given his superiority in rank it allows a person that Reacher would usually dismiss quickly to have some power over him. I was however also happy that at the same time Reacher wasn't out of character, not being too kind to Morgan, rather following orders like any good soldier would.

The reason Reacher was re-enlisted in the army was due to two investigations being made into him, one with the accusation that a beating he gave a man named Juan Rodriguez sixteen years prior caused him to die, and another from a woman named Candice Dayton who says that Reacher is the father of her fourteen year old daughter, wanting child support from him. I found this to be a very interesting, and unique development point for a Jack Reacher novel, as although it isn't something I'd ever expect to happen, it adds to the style of the series very well. I also loved the interaction between Reacher, and both his lawyers over this subject, which yet again was very realistic, and entertaining.

The last few Jack Reacher novels (bar Affair) have seen Reacher making his way to Virginia to met the person that has his old job, simply on the basis that he liked her voice. Finally this book introduces Major Susan Turner, as although she appeared on the phone numerous times during 61 Hours, being considered as a relatively main character, this time round she's much more involved, being the secondary character in the book. I was very happy about this, as although I enjoyed the recurring journey, showing Reacher's adventures on his way to meet this woman, it can only last so long before a reader feels cheated, and it was the right thing to have that part of Reacher's journey end here. Susan as a character is much more developed in this book, which I really enjoyed, and the way she acted, and interacted with certain characters was amazing, and I wouldn't complain if she ever appeared again in a Reacher novel.

The main antagonists of this story would be two men who are referred to as Romeo, and Juliet, and a group of four men who work for them. I found these characters to be extremely interesting, as I really enjoyed the mysterious nature of these characters. The way they operated throughout the story was also extremely well handled, adding great suspense, and drama to the story, as well as allowing the story to develop simple, but brilliant twists. I also loved the typical thuggish nature of the four men that worked for them, and I loved Reacher's reaction to them, and how he felt of the people ordering them. I also loved the way that Child would keep a standard way of introducing a sequence with Romeo, and Juliet, as it made it that much more formal, and unique, giving it's on unique tone to the story.

Another thing that I love about Jack Reacher novels is the action throughout them, and how Lee Child writes these sequences. The way Child breaks down the fight sequences, describing blow by blow how Reacher uses his specialist skills to defeat his foes is simply amazing, and very dramatic. I also loved the brilliant dialogue that he gives to Reacher during these sequences, and how Reacher is so confident on the outcome that he warns the person/people before hand. Another thing I loved about the action in this book was that it started straight away, helping draw the reader in with the excitement, as well as it's fast pace.

I will finish by talking a little about the ending, as without any spoilers I will say that I didn't really like it, as although it was realistic, and unique, it wasn't as impactful as I hoped it would be, leaving me slightly disappointed.

Final Verdict

This was a terrific story, and although not the best Jack Reacher novel yet, it was also not the worst, being an extremely enjoyable story. The realistic, and gritty tone of this book is simply outstanding, and the excitement, drama, and suspense added by Lee Child makes it a joy to read. It also had great character development, as well as a bit of mystery, and I for one can't wait for the next Reacher novel to come out. Due to all this I'd highly recommend this novel, as it's an amazing read, and is sure to turn you into a fan of Jack Reacher.

Rating: 4/5