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Customer Review

327 of 374 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is author Child burning out?, August 6, 2013
This review is from: Never Go Back: A Jack Reacher Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For the last couple of books, Jack Reacher has been trying to make it back to the East Coast to meet the woman who has, up to this point, simply been a voice on the phone helping him out on his adventures.

Well, he finally makes it, and when he shows up at the headquarters of the MP unit she now commands, he's mousetrapped. She's been arrested and relieved of command, and he's been accused of crimes he'd allegedly committed back when he was an MP himself; he's recalled back into active duty - making him subject to military discipline and judicial punishment - and placed under arrest.

He manages to break her and himself out of jail, and the rest of the story is about how he tries to clear both their names by getting to the truth at the bottom of these events.

I've long been a Reacher fan, having read the entire body of work, and thoroughly enjoyed them until the last few offerings. I thought the last two were particularly weak. There are elements of this book that I thought were pretty well done... somewhat reminiscent of the classic Reacher of yore.

Unfortunately, when I got to the end of the story and it was revealed what was actually driving this entire plot against Reacher and his girlfriend, I had to wonder what author Child had been smoking. I can't say more because it would be a huge spoiler. I will say this: I thought it was absolutely ridiculous.

Further, there wasn't much "payoff" to the reader in the way the story ended. Certainly not in the sense of the "classic" Reacher books of old. In many ways, Reacher's somewhat of a bystander or observer in the resolution of this story.

Overall, I found the book to be somewhat shallow and rushed. Not nearly as emotionally engaging as the earlier Reacher books. I have to wonder if, after having written so many of them, Child is getting tired of flogging a dying horse; if the well's going dry.

Anyway, 3 stars. Not as bad as the last two books, but not nearly as good as the early works.
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Showing 1-10 of 125 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 6, 2013 10:43:05 PM PDT
geoff b. says:
I don't have a jaundiced view of Lee Child, simply because, having faithfully read his entire series in correct order, I could not fault any of his books - they were all really excellent reading. In point of fact, I've awaited faithfully for each of his new publications and have never been disappointed (and, truth to tell, I'm very hard to please. It has to be good if I'm going to read it and finish it.) I'm pretty sure this latest publication will be good too. Lee Child is a consistently good writer. It's Human Nature to nit-pick and that needs to be discounted. Read him and enjoy..! GeeBee.

Posted on Aug 6, 2013 11:03:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 6, 2013 11:05:49 PM PDT
Brian Baker says:
Well, Geoff, I've also read all of his books in chronological order. So I'm pretty hard-pressed to see where you've earned your sense of superiority and condescension.

"Nit-pick"?... Really?

I'VE actually read the book. Have you?

Why... no you haven't, by your own admission.

But thank you for your vastly uninformed opinion.

Just a fanboy attack, which I fully expected to see a lot of when I posted the first neg review on this book.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 8, 2013 7:00:44 AM PDT
Locksley says:
The Jack Reacher series is getting old. I think Child is writing for the money now. Time to put Jack away and come up with something new.
Amazing that such a simplistic character has attracted so many fans as it is.

Posted on Aug 8, 2013 11:29:19 AM PDT
johnverp says:
Excellent and helpful review, Brian - and the one which caused me to hold on my pre-order for the time being. I'll be interested to see how many reviewers after you will go 3 star or less because you are on your own as I write. I too have been a long-standing Reacher/Child fan, but have previously expressed a view about probable burn-out too (I review on the UK site though - no reviews of this one at all there yet). Your comments seemed thoughtful and fair to me, given the backdrop.

Posted on Aug 8, 2013 5:02:40 PM PDT
Brian Baker says:
Locksley, Johnverp, thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts. I appreciate that.

Locksley, when you mention Child being in it just for the money, the thought occurred to me that the casting of Tom Cruise as Reacher seems to illustrate that point. Now, I have nothing against people doing things "for the money". I strongly believe in capitalism. But I also believe in artistic integrity, and the casting of Cruise does go to your point. That was probably the most egregious case of miscasting in history, and Child was personally involved in that he knew when he sold the book rights that Cruise playing the part was definitely part of the plan.

Johnverp, thanks for those kind words. I'm also interested to see if there will be other "not-rave" reviews show up. So far I'm still alone in the rowboat.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 9, 2013 2:54:25 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 9, 2013 3:07:12 AM PDT
Locksley says:
Let's not even talk about the Tom Cruise fiasco. That was a money making deal and nothing but, for sure.
A lot of people think you can never have enough money, Child must be one of them.
When I said he's in it for the money now I was referring to the fact that the Reacher books are now just being written to continue the cash-cow's progress.

I couldn't read another Reacher book if you paid me. For me the character has become too much like a cross between Conan of Cimmeria and Sherlock Holmes.

Do you know about this?...Don't Know Jack (The Hunt For Reacher Series #1) Paperback by Diane Capri

Apparently Child has given permission for this lady to write a new series of short stories that are in some way connected to his Reacher novels.

When I say short I mean short...

I've read some of the reviews...44 one star reviews cannot be a good omen.

I don't know if Child gets a percentage of this woman's tie-in books or not. They are both members of the International Thrillers Writers club...and anyone can join if they pay a fee upfront...another money maker for the likes of Cussler, Child, Morrel and other well known thriller writers who are part of it.

If I was Child I'd certainly be looking at writing something different by now...Reach out and try something new. LOL.

Posted on Aug 9, 2013 9:30:40 AM PDT
Brian Baker says:
LOL, Locksley!

I just read the reviews on the Capri books(?). Oh, man... What's next? Books about Moneypenny's love life when James Bond's not around? Or the guy who mines the silver for the Lone Ranger's bullets? The possibilities are endless.

I have to agree with you; if Child's tired of writing these books -- and his last few efforts would lead to me think that's true -- maybe it's time to move on to something new, or just retire. Just recycling the same old stuff -- SSDD -- is a disservice to his fans, at the least. "REACH for something new", as you said.

I've noted a phenomenon over the last decade or so that's new and disappointing: authors who aren't interested in writing anymore simply franchising out their names. James Patterson, Tom Clancy, others. They create book mills, licensing other writers to use their names and/or characters, usually to disappointing results. Patterson's the worst offender. He -- or his minions, more accurately -- seems to come out with a "new book" just about every week. I go to the local Barnes + Noble and it seems like he's got a whole section in the "New Releases" dedicated just to his books (or more accurately, books using his name).


Posted on Aug 10, 2013 2:21:30 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 22, 2013 9:21:49 PM PDT
bobbewig says:
Good review as usual. I just started this book and hope I like it more than you did. I don't know what your problem is with casting Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. Except for a foot or so and about 100 lbs Reacher is the spitting image of Tom "Where's the Rest of My Legs?" Cruise!

Posted on Aug 10, 2013 10:08:21 PM PDT
Brian Baker says:
Bobbe, thank for the kind words. I, too, hope you like it more than I did.

As to the Cruise casting: yeah, call me crazy.

Posted on Aug 11, 2013 10:29:52 AM PDT
J. Norburn says:
Unlike almost everyone else in the world it seems, I'm not a big fan of Child and the Reacher series. I do sometimes think I should give these books another shot but if and when that day ever comes, I'll turn to the earlier novels, rather than a recent release like this one. It's hard for any series, or even any genre author, to keep from growing stale over time.
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