Never Go Back
by Lee Child


The 21st Lee Child novel, Night School, is just around the corner, but I picked up the film tie-in of Jack Reacher’s 18th adventure, now on a silver screen near you. Never Go Back is a nice, if fate-tempting, title for a movie sequel. The source novel is also a sequel, of sorts. Having pursued Major Susan Turner for four books, Reacher is wanted by the army, the police (for a historical murder) and possibly by his daughter (if she is his daughter). The joy of Child rarely emanates from who Reacher is, though I guess Jack’s heroic quest for rootlessness in a rooted world is fascinating enough. It is what he does amid the clockwork precision of the plot that grips. This is mainly violent and Child’s spare-to-spartan prose is quite something: “But. He wasn’t sure. Not completely. Not yet.” Personally, I am addicted to the salivating descrip­tions of Reacher’s all-American physique: “a six-pack like a cobbled city street, and a chest like a suit of NFL armour, and biceps like basket­balls.” Perhaps Cruise thought reading doesn’t just make you smarter, but also makes you ripped.