Suspense

Lee Child’s ‘Never Go Back’ is tight and compelling

 

Associated Press

The quest begins with a phone call, and when Jack Reacher finally arrives in Washington to meet the woman behind the intriguing voice from 61 Hours, he discovers Maj. Susan Turner has been imprisoned. Welcome to the relentless world of Jack Reacher and his impressive tendency to be in the wrong place at the right time in Lee Child’s “new novel.

Child has created an iconic character that other thriller writers try to emulate but don’t come close to matching. He has a talent for taking material that in the hands of other authors would be stale and cliched and making it seem fresh and original. This time, he takes a spin on his formula by waving a carrot in front of Reacher’s face: a chance to settle down and stay in one place.

When Reacher asks about Turner, he finds himself accused of an assault from 16 years ago and slammed with news that he has a daughter from a relationship around the same time. Reacher has no memory of the woman who supposedly gave birth to his child, but he does know the man he’s accused of assaulting. He immediately knows that he’s being set up, but has no idea why. When Reacher demands to see Turner in prison, he’s told that she doesn’t want to see him under any circumstances.

Reacher has walked into a major conspiracy and the very powerful people behind it will not tolerate his meddling. How can he defeat an unseen enemy who anticipates his every move? For Reacher, the answer is to go into survival mode and fight back.

The novel is so tight and compelling that the abrupt and somewhat disappointing ending will jar readers. The payoff is great, but the aftermath would have been perfect if not for the apparent appearance of a reset button. Even so, Never Go Back is one of Child’s best novels.

Read more Books stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">THE BOOK OF LIFE.</span> Deborah Harkness. Viking. 559 pages. $28.95.

    Fantasy

    Deborah Harkness’ All Souls trilogy comes to a satisfying conclusion

    A witch in love with a vampire comes into her full powers in the final satisfying installment of the All Souls trilogy.

  •  
 <span class="bold">Courtney Maum</span>

    What are you reading now?

    “I’m reading Brando Skyhorse’s Take This Man. Several years ago, I applied for a scholarship at the Can Serrat residency program in Spain and got a letter back saying that the stipend had gone to a writer named Brando Skyhorse. I remember pacing around the house yelling, ‘Who the hell is this Brando Skyhorse?!’ I’ve calmed down in the years since and am glad that the scholarship went to a writer as fearless and funny as Skyhorse. The things his mother put him through as a child could have destroyed a man’s integrity, but Skyhorse saved himself through writing, and in that, he is a role model for me.”

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">A MOST IMPERFECT UNION: </span>A Contrarian History of the United States. Ilan Stavans. Illustrated by Lalo Alcaraz. Basic. 269 pages. $26.99.

    History

    Collaboration takes a more colorful look at U.S. history

    A New England college professor and a California cartoonist collaborate on a colorful look at our storied past.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category