Monday, October 28, 2013
Review of "Never Go Back" by Lee Child (a Jack Reacher Novel - 2013)
There are some things that Child does better than anyone else writing today. One of those things is keeping the reader turning the pages. For me, no one is better today at ending a chapter with a hint or clue that makes me anxious to answer a many mystery.
But ultimately, his Reacher character is not as deep a guy as Child seems to think he is and he can't ever really change. So when this story opens with some intriguing possible changes in Reacher's life... (mini-spoiler) Will he rejoin the army? Find true love? Be a dad? Of course not, because he must continue as a wanderer who rights wrongs. And there is a certain satisfaction in the formula. But most of the novels are like very well made episodes of "Have Gun Will Travel". Like going to In and Out Burger, a good, filling meal, but never very different from the last time you went.
And I small complaint about how Child continues to deal with the hospitality industry. In books before, he has portrayed night auditors as crooked fellows who gladly sell empty rooms off the books to take all the money for themselves. Not happening with me, Reacher. This time, he goes to a motel in West Virginia and pays three twenty dollar bills for two $30 motel rooms. The clerk doesn't ever ask for a credit card or for a deposit or I.D. which leaves the guest free to steal the TVs. And even in a hotel, they only take a $50 deposit? No protection from theft or room damage. Oh well, most readers, rightly, don't care. They probably shouldn't, the important thing is keeping the plot moving, which Child does well.