Friday, 20 September 2013

Never Go Back by Lee Child

Eventually they put Reacher in a car and drove him to a motel a mile away, where the night clerk gave him a room, which had all the features Reacher expected, because he had seen such rooms a thousand times before.

What follows, in case you were wondering, is a paragraph that describes a dismal room. Could the writer have just said it was dismal? Yep, he could have, because he did. After describing dismal, he labels dismal.

But still dismal.

Cars pull up, people appear, all accumulating in the first words spoken in a novel that seems annoyed it has to start and actually entertain its reader.

"Are you Jack Reacher?"
"Who's asking?"
"We are"
"And who are you?"

Where have we heard this kind of conversation before? This conversation is so hackneyed, done to death a million times over that I wouldn't be surprised if this chat can be traced back to that ancient first conversation God had with the first human just out of the proverbial spiritual diapers.

All in all, this opening is a victim of the "series syndrome" some writers nurse, thinking that hooking a new readership with each book in a series is a waste of time. For readers of this series, I'm sure it's like slipping into an old slipper. For me, knowing nothing about anything in this series, it just smells like a wet, old slipper.

Verdict: Fail.

Theodore Moracht

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