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by Lee Child, read by Dick Hill
Random House Audio, September 2013
Unabridged pages
ISBN: 0307749665

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Lee Child has written eighteen books following Jack Reacher around the country as he rights injustices wherever he goes. Readers have grown accustomed to Reacher's moral compass and his personality quirks and so, for fans of the series, a new Reacher book is truly like visiting an old friend. For the most part, NEVER GO BACK meets the expectations, though the set-up is a bit different. Usually, Reacher blows into town and finds a damsel in distress and spends the remainder of the book righting the wrong and then leaves to drift on the next stop. In NEVER GO BACK, Reacher is on a mission that is a continuation for the previous book. He had spoken to the current commander of his former unit several times while taking care of business in South Dakota and by the end of A WANTED MAN (2012), Reacher was headed to Virginia to meet Susan Turner, the voice on the other end of the phone.

As NEVER GO BACK opens, Reacher has arrived at his former unit's headquarters to visit Turner only to discover that she is being held on suspicion of accepting a bribe and furthermore he is wanted for questioning in two cases dating back to his days in the service. So Reacher being Reacher, he stops, breathes in, breathes out and sets about to investigate the cases against not only himself but the bribery case against Turner as well.

I listened to the unabridged version on CD. The running time is thirteen and a half hours spread over eleven CDs. There is no music or sound effects in this edition, nor is any part of the text repeated at the beginning of the next CD. The story flows seamlessly from disc to disc. Dick Hill is the reader and in my opinion, is an excellent choice for the voice of Jack Reacher. He reads in a steady voice without much variance in speed or volume. While he does alter is voice a bit for the other characters, the change is not significant enough to change the steady pacing of the book. For me, Hill is the voice of Reacher.

There are some things about this book that are different from what readers would expect. Generally the Reacher books take place completely in one community, but this time Reacher and Turner travel across the country to investigate. The book plods along a bit until the two are on the road and then the action picks up considerably. It is also unusual for Reacher to have a "costar" when it comes to getting information and solving the problem(s) at hand. In this case, Susan Turner is nearly equal to Reacher in resolving things. Mostly though, because they traveled together and also because of one of the cases Reacher is wanted for, readers see a glimmer of a warmer side to Reacher. There were some opportunities for Reacher's life to change, but I'll leave it to the readers to see how this all worked out. Overall, this is another great episode in the life of Jack Reacher.

Caryn St.Clair resides in University City, Missouri and is a former elementary school media specialist, President of the Parks Commission and a docent at the St.Louis Zoo.

Reviewed by Caryn St Clair, September 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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