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Bad Luck and Trouble (Jack Reacher) Mass Market Paperback – May 19, 2009
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“Electrifying . . . This series [is] utterly addictive.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“[An] action-packed thrill ride.”—Chicago Tribune
“A slam-bang yarn filled with Child’s usual terse life-and-death lessons.”—Entertainment Weekly
“A breathless, ultra-cool novel with relentless pacing.”—The Plain Dealer
About the Author
Lee Child is the author of nineteen New York Times bestselling Jack Reacher thrillers, ten of which have reached the #1 position. All have been optioned for major motion pictures; the first, Jack Reacher, was based on One Shot. Foreign rights in the Reacher series have sold in almost a hundred territories. A native of England and a former television director, Lee Child lives in New York City.
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You know Jack Reacher isn't going to be killed because 'Die Trying' is the second story in a, so far, 21-book series. However, Mr. Child includes another protagonist named Holly Johnson who is a gorgeous (surprise, surprise) FBI agent and kidnapped along with Reacher. It's nice to see her portrayed as an intelligent capable woman instead of a useless damsel in distress. Poor, poor Jack, once again, happens to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time and is taken along for the ride. Little do the three kidnappers know that they've kidnapped a killing machine named Jack Reacher. The guy is not some big, moral, fuzzy Care Bear. That's for sure. Without giving away any of the key parts of the story, I will say it involves a charismatic nut job, mounting obstacles to Reacher's and Johnson's predicament, plenty of surprises, a few mysteries, suspense, and one episode that will likely give claustrophobics major flop sweat.
Yes, the characters are one-dimensional, the messy body count is cartoonish, and everything gets resolved in a neat little bow, but reading it was wonderful fun. It was just what the doctor ordered.
In “Die Trying” which is the second book in this long running series we pick up with Jack Reacher the highly decorated former army Military Police major who has voluntarily separated from the service and essentially has become a rootless drifter. He gets caught up in a kidnapping of a woman picking up her dry cleaning on a busy city street and is abducted as well.
Wrong place, wrong time Reacher now has to use his considerable skills to try to get them out alive. Who is the woman, why was she taken? More is revealed when they arrive at their destination in a remote Montana camp and they discover that they’re prisoners of a deranged militia leader and his devoted army of followers. It doesn’t sound very promising but in Child’s hands the 500+ pages fly by and the cliché “can’t put it down” definitely applies.
Some of the plot’s more than a bit farfetched but you really get sucked in. Child does make a few technical errors when describing firearms which are surprising given his detailed descriptions of ballistics and the physics of how ammunition works. For instance early on when the couple are kidnapped one of the bad guys points a Glock 17 pistol at him. We than learn Reacher is very familiar with the Glock since while on active duty he was supposedly part of the evaluation team for the Army in selecting a new handgun. First he repeatedly calls semi-automatic pistols “automatics” which is a common mistake authors make. Then he mentions the Glock having the safety off which is wrong as the Glock has no external safety mechanism to be switched off or on. Later on when describing a Barrett Model 90 sniper rifle Child says it is a “50-inch” when he means .50 caliber. A battleship has a 16 inch gun so a 50 inch gun would be really a handful, even for a stud like Reacher.
Nitpicking aside “Die Trying” is a great read; 4.5 stars and highly recommended. I just picked up another 5 more and will read the entire series.
Lee Child takes a tremendous leap forward from the first novel as this iteration enjoys a far smoother plot progression and Reacher's thoughts/dialogue feel far less scattered; much more appropriate for the ex-military lifer the character is intended to portray. The author still struggles in eliminating irrelevant/drawn out detail, feeling compelled to play out entire dialogues where ideas are already implied and physical descriptions that seem more an attempt at "flexing" knowledge rather than adding plot value.
Much like it's predecessor, this novel can stand to shave a good chunk of pages, but overall, it delivers fairly well as the thriller it is expected to be!
I don't mind admitting that I've read literally hundreds of books since I got a Kindle-mainly because living in the Czech Republic does limit the choice available in English language .I've got plenty of favourites and Lee Child's books are near the top of my ' to buy' list. Cost does come into the equation-sometimes one has to wait for the cost to subside. This was around eight dollars-ok by me. It's quite a lengthy read, so value for pleasure!