Review: Never Go Back – Lee Child

4 of 5 stars

Series: Jack Reacher 18

My version: Paperback
Fiction Thriller
Bantam Books

Drop-out military cop Jack Reacher has hitch-hiked his way to Virginia. His destination, the closest thing to a home he ever had: the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th Military police.

Reacher has no real reason to be here, except that he spoke to the new commanding officer on the phone. He liked Major Susan Turner’s voice. But now he’s arrived, she’s disappeared and things are getting weird.

Accused of a sixteen-year-old homicide and co-opted back into the army, Reacher says nothing.

But he’s sure as hell thinking of a way out.

Right, this is quite possibly the best of the lot so far. I can see why they chose to film it, there’s a very decent story and some good characters and action in here. However, I can also see why they changed so much. The film from the book. It’s a filler-fest. There is just so much of it. Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books have always had more than their fair share of filler, but here, it really crossed over into Get My Goat territory. As I say, it’s a good story, plenty of interesting angles being looked at – the parts with the lawyers and the problems there at the start, is really good and thought-provoking. But as it develops, it’s like Lee Child has maybe doubted he has enough material to make a house-brick, airport, summer holiday-size thriller, and decided to go round and add in ‘detail’ where it didn’t need it. Reading it here, in its published version, it really does make you wonder how long it was before the editor took their garden shears to the manuscript. What it also does, as I’ve mentioned perhaps a few times previously, is draw any if not all tension out of tense situations. Where brevity and pace, would have made it so much better.

All in all, a decent to very good story trying (and mostly succeeding) not to drown in an ocean of unnecessary.

You can buy Never Go Back from

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