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Never Go Back [Kindle Edition]

Robert Goddard
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.01 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

In the spellbinding new mystery by the master of “the clever twist,” a group of ex-RAF comrades journey to a Scottish castle for a reunion. But by the time they reach their destination, two of them are dead.

Harry Barnett is leading a contented life in Vancouver with his wife and daughter when he is brought back to England by the death of his mother. He intends to spend just a few days sorting out her affairs when a chance meeting he will regret for the rest of his life makes him change his plans. Two old acquaintances from his National Service days track Harry down to his mother’s house — the last address they had for him. A lavish reunion has been organized to mark the fiftieth anniversary of their RAF days. Harry decides to go.

During the war, Harry and his fellow RAF conscripts spent three months in a Scottish castle where they acted as guinea pigs in a psychological experiment. The reunion is to take place in the same castle. It will be a chance to see friends, settle old scores and lay a few ghosts to rest.

The party begins on the train up to Aberdeen, until the apparent suicide of one of their number shatters the holiday atmosphere. Their arrival in Scotland seems under a cloud, and when another comrade dies soon after their arrival, Harry is gripped by a sense of foreboding. As well, the recollections of the old comrades of their time in the castle are frighteningly different, and unexplained events from 1955 still haunt them. As Harry tries to solve the mystery of what really happened fifty years ago, he uncovers an extraordinary secret that convinces him he will never leave the castle alive.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of British author Goddard's well-crafted new thriller, Harry Barnett, the almost too unprepossessing hero of Into the Blue and Out of the Sun, returns to his hometown of Swindon, where he gets unexpectedly swept into a reunion of RAF servicemen with whom he had participated in a three-month research project 50 years earlier. Clever nicknames and brief characterizations help the reader keep track of the 14 members of the group, some of whom have died in the intervening years. After returning to the Scottish castle where the experiment took place, Harry's compatriots start (a bit predictably) dropping like flies, and suspicions grow about the true nature of the long-ago project, ostensibly only an exercise in gauging the effect of intensified academic pressure. Barnett, reunited with his dodgy pal Barry Fission Chipchase, is caught in the middle, and soon the two find themselves the primary suspects in the murders. Smooth prose and pitch-perfect pacing make this otherwise conventional story entertaining and absorbing. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In 1955, Harry Barnett and a group of fellow Royal Air Force servicemen participated in a teaching experiment in a castle on the outskirts of Aberdeen, Scotland. (Each agreed to be a guinea pig in lieu of punishment for bad behavior.) Now, 50 years later, surviving RAF alumni are invited to a reunion at the same royal locale. Though Barnett, now 70, is reluctant to be away from his wife and young daughter in Vancouver, British Columbia, he decides to go. Tragedy strikes when one of the retired servicemen jumps from the train en route from London (or was he pushed?). In the midst of the reunion, a suspicious automobile accident kills another, and suddenly this get-together doesn't seem like such a good plan. Police soon name Harry and former business partner Barry, whose shady financial dealings once landed him in prison, as prime suspects. Certain the violence is linked to the experiments carried out half a century ago, the two men launch an investigation of their own. Goddard's latest offering marks the return of unlikely hero Harry Barnett, star of Into the Blue (1990) and Out of the Sun (1997). It's a crackling good read, with clipped prose, complex characters, and a smart, sinuous plot. Block, Allison

Product Details

  • File Size: 365 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 038534063X
  • Publisher: Delta (August 28, 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000VSPVM8
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,556 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good, but not his best December 6, 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Robert Goddard's novels are very much like Ross Macdonald's fine

mysteries: elements of the dark past throw the present into turmoil.

Things that happened 20-30-40 years ago are brought to the surface,

and the novels twist and turn and unearth what was thought to be long

dead and buried, figuratively and often--in these novels--literally.

Not many writers can work this genre well. Du Maurier's Rebecca

is probably the classic example.

Never Go Back involves events that occurred 50 years previously

in a military experiment: Harry Barnett, to save himself, must

uncover memories and figure out what really occurred back then.

Very little of what he and the others in the experiment thought

happened are accurate. The novel is rather slow-starting, but

gathers momentum as it goes. The participants in the experiment

were given nicknames ("Fission", etc) and they are sometimes

referred to by their actual names and sometimes by their nicknames,

which gets a little confusing. The basic idea has been used before

in other books, so Goddard is not as original here as he usually is.

The ending is not as satisfying as it might have been.

Goddard's novels run from perhaps 2 1/2 stars to 5-plus stars.

Some I reread about every 5-6 years, but the best can be reread

every year or two with complete enjoyment--he's that kind of a

writer. For his best works--read Past Caring, Painting the Darkness,

and In Pale Battalions. All three are superb.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A master storyteller and weaver of suspense October 15, 2007
When Harry Barnett returns to his hometown in England to close his late mother's estate, he runs into two old mates from his days in the RAF. He is invited to the 50th reunion of a dozen comrades who served together at a castle in Aberdeen, Scotland, where they spent a tour of duty in 1955. A break from clearing closets and cupboards sounds like fun, so he joins them for what promises to be a nostalgic weekend. When one member of the group ends up dead and another goes missing before they reach their destination, a perilous search into a murky past begins.

An evening in the bar car renders the revelers unconscious in their train seats. During the night, Harry's seatmate gets up for fresh air and doesn't come back. By the time they reach Aberdeen, Harry finds himself under suspicion in his disappearance. When the man's body is found alongside the railway tracks, Harry is a prime murder suspect. As he tries to ferret out the truth behind the further accidents and disappearances of his old mates, Harry is drawn deeper into a half-century-old mystery.

None of Harry's companions seems to have memories of their tour of duty, which was a crash course in college-level basics. Yet, slowly, déjà vu creeps in. A tour of the castle triggers sudden flashes of hidden memories among some of the men, and the ones with the most vivid recall meet with accidents or even death. Harry and another of his old buddies remember nothing except parties and studying, yet as events unfold, they begin to realize that they too are in imminent danger.

Harry Barnett has a knack for finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Book May 5, 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book arrived quickly and in good condition. Robert Goddard has a way of taking a simple common occurrence and turning it into a mystery thriller. Very good book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Never Go Back February 13, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As always an interesting read by Goddard filled with intrigue and suspense throughout that keeps you glued to the page.....
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3.0 out of 5 stars not clearly resolved December 17, 2013
By JLVan
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There were too many characters with two names. The book kind of faded out toward the end. One murder was never explained.
Character development was weak.
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