Sunday, February 9, 2014

Book Review: Never Go Back

Never Go Back (Jack Reacher, #18)Never Go Back by Lee Child

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In "Never Go Back," Jack Reacher repeatedly offers adversaries the chance to run without contest or to come clean with what they know. Every time, Reacher beats them with physical strength and mental toughness. And every battle won figures into the war against him.

After Reacher refuses to leave D.C. and never come back, he finds himself in military custody with two criminal charges pending. He cleverly escapes and teams up with Turner, a female officer also facing false charges. Together they venture out to Los Angeles to uncover the truth about their allegations while proving their innocence and ruining their forceful foes. Along the way, Reacher confronts a team of chasers and with Turner solves the case that binds them.

On the whole, Lee Child weaves together fairly sophisticated story lines in a remarkably plain prose. I enjoyed following the dialog of Reacher/Turner competing with Romeo/Juliet. The "coin tosses" of logic engaged me as well as Reacher's redeeming kindness to those on "the right side of history." Lee Child also has fun with David Baldacci. Child's novel entertains with considerable wit and reasoning.

To be critical, Jack Reacher clearly outmatches everyone against him. Overtly serious situations end in seconds with broken arms, noses or fingers. And the places of conflict are always without consequences - a dark alley, a vacant parking lot, an airplane where the violence is hush-hush, and another side street at two a.m. His most formidable opponents, Romeo and Juliet, won't even face him. Reacher is like an intelligent and violent Gulliver against all Lilliputians. When you're certain the giant will win, witnessing the conflict is less rewarding.

With that being said, I hope to see a reasonable showdown between Jack Reacher and Nick Heller in "Good and Valuable Consideration" by Lee Child and Joseph Finder in the June 2014 thriller compilation, "FaceOff."

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