One of my favorite things about Jack Reacher is his combination of intelligence and toughness. He has wits, training, and experience—as former Commander of the 110th Military Police Special Unit—combined with formidable size and strength. I’m especially partial to his propensity to make it count: if you end up in a fight with Jack Reacher, assuming you live, you’ll end up in the hospital. So many series’ characters back off or shoot to wound. Not Reacher.
In the last Reacher novel, he’d found himself intrigued by a voice on the telephone. The voice belonged to Major Susan Turner, current Commander of the 110th. There was a definite flirtation going on, and Reacher was curious. So–in “Never Go Back”–he’s hitchhiked from South Dakota to Metro DC, hoping to meet the woman with the sultry voice.
Almost as soon as he gets there, Reacher gets a good look at the 110th MP Unit, because he’s placed under arrest for not one, but two charges. One stemmed from an interview he’d done with a known L.A. thug dealing Desert Storm arms on the street. The other one was even more unexpected: a woman in California was suing Reacher for child support. She’d been living in Korea when he’d served there, and now—according to her—he has a fourteen-year-old daughter.
Worse still, he doesn’t get to meet Major Turner immediately, she of the sultry voice, because she’s locked in another cell in the 110th, charged with taking bribes. It doesn’t make sense to Reacher. After a few meetings with his lawyers, Reacher knows his only hope to clear his name—and Susan’s—is for them to get out, find the real criminals, and either bring them in or put ‘em in the ground.
“Never Go Back” is deliciously addictive, and terribly hard to put down. Nothing Reacher does is ever easy, it seems, but being on the lam with $30 in his pocket, and the MP’s, FBI, and D.C. Metro Police all on his trail, not to mention a very lovely officer by his side, he has a lot to juggle.
Once again, Lee Child has written a beautiful thriller. I liked that Reacher had to use both his intelligence and his brawn in equal measure.
I admit that Child’s “Reacher” series is one of my two or three favorite mystery/thriller series to read. As a character, Reacher offers so many possibilities. He’s always on the road, which creates new settings—we don’t get bogged down in one city’s issues. Also, Reacher ends up working in situations both within the military community and outside it. The options are endless, and Lee Child has done a wonderful job keeping the “Reacher” series fresh through eighteen novels.
If you’re a fan of Jack Reacher, gather your reading snacks and beverages, get in your most comfortable chair, and fasten your seatbelt. “Never Go Back” will take you on one hell of a ride.
Most Highly Recommended