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Bad Luck and Trouble (Jack Reacher) Paperback – 2008
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Ex-military cop Jack Reacher is the perfect antihero--tough as nails, but with a brain and a conscience to match. He's able to see what most miss and is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Each book in Lee Child's smart, addictive series (The New York Times has referred to it as "pure escapist gold") follows the wandering warrior on a new adventure, making it easy to start with any book, including his latest gem, Bad Luck and Trouble. However, be forewarned...once you meet Jack Reacher, you'll be hooked, so be prepared to stock up on the series. --Daphne Durham
Who Is Jack Reacher? A Video from Lee Child
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A Note from Lee Child
Two years ago I was on a book tour, promoting that year's new Jack Reacher novel, One Shot. One particular night, the event was held in a small town outside of Chicago. The date was June 21st. As I was giving my talk and answering questions and signing books, that date was nagging away at the back of my mind. I knew it had some significance. I started panicking--had I forgotten my anniversary? No, that's in August. My wife's birthday? No, that's in January. My own birthday? No, that's in October.
Then suddenly I remembered--it was ten years to the day since I had been fired from my previous job. That was why and how I had become a writer. That night in Illinois was a ten-year anniversary of a different sort, somewhat bittersweet.
And ten is a nice round number. So I started thinking about my old colleagues. My workmates, my buddies. We had been through a lot together. I started to wonder where they all were now. What were they doing? Were they doing well, or struggling? Were they happy? What did they look like now? Pretty soon I was into full-on nostalgia mode. Ten-year anniversaries can do that to a person. I think we all share those kind of feelings, about high school, or college, or old jobs we've quit, or old towns we've moved away from.
So I decided to make this year's Jack Reacher book about a reunion. I decided to throw him back among a bunch of old colleagues that he hadn't seen for ten years, people that he loved fiercely and respected deeply. Regular Reacher readers will know that he's a pretty self-confident guy, but I wanted him to wobble just a little this time, to compare his choices with theirs, to measure himself against them.
The renewed get-together isn't Reacher's own choice, though. And it's not a standard-issue reunion, either. Something very bad has happened, and one of his old team-members from the army contacts him, by an ingenious method (it's hard to track Reacher down). She gives him the bad news, and asks him to do something about it. He says, "Of course I'll do something about it."
"No," his friend says. "I mean, I want you to put the old unit back together."
It's an irresistible invitation. Wouldn't we all like to do that, sometimes? --Lee Child
Secrets of the Series: A Q&A with Lee Child
Q: Why do you think readers keep coming back to your novels?
A: Two words: Jack Reacher. Reacher is a drifter and a loner with a strong sense of justice. He shows up, he acts, he moves on. He's the type of hero who has a long literary history. Robin Hood, the Lone Ranger, Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings, Jack Reacher--they're all part of the same heroic family. Reacher just ratchets it up a notch. Maybe more than a notch. Why is he so appealing? Most often people say to me it's his sense of justice; he will do the right thing. Even though there is no reward in it for him, even though there is often a high cost to be paid by him, he will always try to do the right thing and people find that reassuring in todays world when not too many people are doing the right thing.
Q: Jack Reacher gets compared to James Bond, Jack Bauer and Jason Bourne, each of whom now has a "face." In a movie, which actor do you think could fill Reacher's shoes?
A: That's the toughest question. The thing about Reacher is he's huge; hes 6'5" tall and about 250 pounds. There arent any actors that size--actors tend to be small. So we aren't going to find a physical facsimile for Reacher because there aren't any. We have to find someone who is capable of looking big on the screen. Many people have said to me a young Clint Eastwood would have been perfect--we need someone like that who has the vibe of a big intimidating man. Hopefully there will be somebody available like that. It's also a question of finding somebody ready to sign up for more than one movie. They want to make a franchise, minimum of three, and that makes it a little bit harder.
Q: What research is involved in writing one of your stories?
A: My research is all kind of backwards. I don't go to the public library for three months and take notes in advance; instead my best research is by remembering and adapting. I read, travel, and talk to people just for the fun of it, filing away these interesting little snippets to the back of my mind and eventually they float to the surface and get used. The problem is, I approach writing the book with the same excitement and impatience that I hope the reader is going to feel about reading it. But even so, I need a certain measure of technical intrigue in the story. There is specific research I have to do as I go along, anything that's a small detail; a car, a gun, a type of bullet. I will check that out at the time. But, that's what I call the detail--the broad stuff is the stuff I already know.
Meet Jack Reacher
The Killing Floor
The Hard Way
From Publishers Weekly
At the start of bestseller Child's winning 11th Jack Reacher adventure (after The Hard Way), the bad guys unceremoniously dump Calvin Franz, a former MP, from a Bell 222 helicopter "[t]hree thousand feet above the [California] desert floor." Trouble is, Franz was a member of the army's special investigation unit headed by Reacher—a one-time military cop who left the service to become a solitary drifter par excellence. A former colleague sends Reacher a coded SOS; the two rendezvous in L.A. and the game's afoot. More members of the band get back together, only to discover that Franz isn't the group's only casualty. As usual in Reacher's capers, practically nothing is what it seems, and the meticulously detailed route to the truth proves especially engrossing thanks to the joint efforts of this band of brothers (and two sisters). The author carefully delineates Reacher's erstwhile colleagues, their smart-ass banter masking an unspoken affection. The villains' comeuppance, a riveting eye-for-an-eye battle scene (hint: helicopter), is one of Child's more satisfying finales. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
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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!