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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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It is the 11th of the Jack Reacher series. For those who have not read any of this series yet, Reacher is a former military police major who has Rambo like combat skills. Of course, it would have been much more realistic to have those capabilities if the hero were a former Navy Seal, Green Beret, or Marine Recon fighter, but a military policeman? Get real. That is a completely different skill set.
In this book, it seems even odder that all of the sudden, we find out that Reacher is a mathematical savant. That ability is never mentioned once in the previous ten books, but in this one it is featured prominently. Another strange thing is that all of the sudden, Reacher is very tight with his former MP investigative unit. It seems like the author is making big changes in the character to fit some silly storyline.
Sometimes I wonder why I continue reading this series. I have read the first eleven in order and most of them are average, at best. This author is certainly no Brad Thor or Vince Flynn.
It is ok, but do not expect great with this.
I also like how he follows the one main character, perhaps it's lacking finesse or perhaps overly simple, but I don't get that feeling at all. It's riveting. He switches to other characters for a few pages then it's back to Jack Reacher.
His choice of wording is what I think other people are trying to emulate in this genre but now that I've read this guy. Well he has talent.
Worth buying, and I'm going to read them all.
PLOT: I enjoyed the plot, a rogue militia intent on rekindling the American Revolution with a crazy man leading the way. At first I felt the way Jack Reacher became involved in the adventure was a little bit contrived, but I eventually moved past those thoughts as the story unfolded. I am sure a nitpicker would challenge the verisimilitude of the plot, but as with most political and/or military thrillers, a reader must be willing to suspend disbelief and except the story world as the author presents it. If you are willing and/or capable of suspending your disbelief, then I think you will enjoy the plot and the nuances the author brings to it.
PROTAGONIST: Jack Reacher is an enjoyable lead character. He borders on superhero capabilities, but the author never quite crosses into that totally unbelievable territory. Reacher is very capable — seemingly more capable than 99.99 percent of the population — but still given a modicum of human frailty… just enough to keep him from being an over the top super hero.
THE VILLAIN: I thought Beau Borden was an excellent villain. Smart, ruthless, and crazy. Just the right mix of personality traits that creates an excellent adversary.
SUPPORTING CAST: Some reviewers felt that there were too many other characters in the story, but I didn’t feel that way. The femme fatale, Holly Johnson, never quite materialized in my mind’s eye. For whatever reasons, I never felt she had much depth. Since I intuitively knew Jack Reacher would not be involved with her past the end of this story, I guess I just considered her a throw-away character from page one and never paid close attention to the nuances of her personality. Dissimilar to James Bond movies, where you also know the women are only temporary, in this book you don’t have the ability to ogle and appreciate the physical attraction of the femme fatale, or at least the author didn’t write the character in that manner. Holly Johnson would be a distant also-ran if compared to Honey Rider, Pussy Galore, Domino, Plenty O’Toole, Tiffany Case, or just about any other Bond woman.
THE WRITING: The writing is very good, easy to read, easy to follow. My only complaint would be too much detailed description. When it comes to describing characters, the author gives the reader a few traits and then lets the reader’s imagination take it from there… Which is what I tend to enjoy. However, when the author’s starts describing rooms or geography or something technical, he goes into long and laborious descriptions that stretch into multiple long paragraphs. I know that some readers would probably enjoy this type of in-depth description, but I found many of them to be tedious and I learned to skim past them.
SUMMARY: I enjoyed this story. I enjoyed Jack Reacher as the protagonist. I enjoyed Beau Borden as the villain. I found most of the supporting cast to be believable. And I enjoyed the plot and its resolution. As I said upfront, I will definitely be adding the third installment in the Jack Reacher series to my reading queue.