Never Go Back

One of the best things in literature is finding an author you can go back to again and again. They keep publishing new work, and every story is as compelling a read as what has come before it.

This week, I’m talking about Never Go Back, by Lee Child. This book is volume 18 in the Jack Reacher series. Yes, this is the same Jack Reacher that had a movie starring Tom Cruise, and yes, this is the 18th book. The movie was based on One Shot, which is volume 9, but enough about that.

Never Go Back

Jack Reacher grew up in the military, and eventually became the commander of an elite unit of the army’s military police (MP). After his term of service, he didn’t settle down, though. He has been spending life wandering from one town to another. During the events of 61 Hours, he finds himself in rural South Dakota, and eventually gains remote assistance from the woman currently in charge of the 110th. By the end, he’s decided to head back to Washington DC so he can meet her in person. However, when he gets there at the beginning of Never Go Back, it’s only to be brought back into service while various army lawyers are working to assemble obscure cold cases against him, that he was sure had either been resolved, or hadn’t existed in the first place.

To be honest, these books are vaguely formulaic. It would be difficult not to be, with such a long-running serial. Reacher arrives in a new town, is faced with a new problem (often, but not always, something he ends up sticking his nose into by accident), and then spends the rest of the time trying to resolve it in proper MP fashion, before moving on to the next leg of his journey. What keeps the reader coming back, though, is the specifics of how each case is handled, along with the occasional opportunities to see into Reacher’s past as it becomes relevant. Probably the best part is that Reacher is a wanderer, so it’s easy to drop into one challenging situation after another – allowing the series to continue as long as Mr Child is willing to revisit the character.

I came into this series by recommendation from a friend, with One Shot. Including that, I’ve read six of the later volumes so far, and really don’t feel like I’m out of the loop by not going back to the beginning (the first book is called Killing Floor). What I didn’t realize, though, was that even though it felt like I’d read several of them in chronological order, there had been other volumes released in between. That all being said, if you decide to pick this one up, you shouldn’t be afraid to make your selections based on which summaries appeal to you.

Rating: 4th Gear

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