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Bad Luck and Trouble: A Jack Reacher Novel Paperback – August 7, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 1,702 customer reviews
Book 11 of 20 in the Jack Reacher Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

Watch the video

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 today’s 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; he’s 6'5" tall and about 250 pounds. There aren’t 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

Die Trying


Running Blind

Echo Burning

Without Fail


The Enemy

One Shot

The Hard Way

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Jack Reacher (Book 11)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044042335X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440423355
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,702 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
There are many reasons to admire Jack Reacher, the taciturn hero of Lee Child's "Bad Luck and Trouble." He is a low-maintenance individual who travels with just his passport, ATM card, and toothbrush. He is incredibly strong and an expert in weaponry and hand-to-hand combat, and will go out of his way to protect the people he likes and respects. Reacher is also intelligent, intuitive, and creative; by thinking out of the box, he usually finds the answers to whatever questions are puzzling him.

In "Bad Luck and Trouble," Reacher has a reunion of sorts with three of his buddies from the army, Frances Neagley, Karla Dixon, and David O'Donnell. They reunite because of a tragic event: Calvin Franz, who worked with them years ago in the military police, was thrown out of a helicopter in the California desert after suffering unspeakable torture. The victim left behind a wife and little boy. Three other MPs from the same special investigations unit, Jorge Sanchez, Tony Swan, and Manuel Orozco, have disappeared, as well. Reacher and his remaining ex-colleagues band together to find out what happened to these men and why. He is also plotting revenge: "There are dead men walking, as of right now. You don't throw my friends out of helicopters and live to tell the tale." The slogan that Reacher and the others live by is: "You do not mess with the special investigators."

Lee Child's Reacher is a modern day cowboy, who generally travels alone from town to town, minding his own business. Yet, somehow, "bad luck and trouble" always manage to find him. This time, in a refreshing variation on Child's usual formula, Reacher takes his place as the commanding officer of a tightly knit and focused team, each member making his or her own invaluable contribution to the investigation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In these days of "metrosexuals" and men getting facials at a spa, it is refreshing to count on Lee Child's annual installment of the ex-Army mayhem-man Jack Reacher, who'd have his fingernails pulled out with pliers before being manicured. And back he is, folding toothbrush in his pocket, ready as always to rid the world of another annoyance.

But this time around, the stoic loner Reacher has some company. Frances Neagley, essentially the female version of Reacher and former member of his US Army Special Investigations team, contacts our nomadic hero through an arcane bank transaction, the first in a string of mental deductions that would leave Holmes and Watson with jaws agape. Neagley tells of the brutal death of Calvin Frantz, another former member of their elite unit, sending Reacher, Neagley and their remaining colleagues to a southern California rendezvous solving the mystery and avenging the murder. The plot thickens and as other members of the team go missing, and Reacher and company find themselves embroiled in super-secret government operations and international terrorism.

As far as escapist thriller fiction, "Bad Luck and Trouble" is about as good as it gets. If you don't overanalyze or rationalize, you can kick back and savor Reacher's unique brand of Zen violence told in Child's no-nonsense, rapid-fire prose. But measured against Child's high standards, I found this one sub-par. Reacher's savant-like mathematical talents, while necessary to set the plot in motion, were strained at first and a burden before long. And I found myself liking Reacher less as a team leader as I have as the lone wolf maverick, and the group dynamics felt forced and frayed. But I quibble. "Bad Luck and Trouble" is a must-read, another hard-core action page-turner that will add "don't mess with special investigations" as another line in that thing about "spitting into the wind."
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Format: Hardcover
Advanced mathematics play a significant role in the latest Jack Reacher novel, a coded formula that holds the clues Reacher and his term use to backtrack the death of one of their friends, a part of the elite military cabal that performed successful missions for the government, but are now returned to civilian life. Years have passed since the eight have been in contact and now one of them is dead. Loyalty and shared expertise are key to the unit and when Calvin Franz meets a violent death, one by one the remaining few answer the call, their number seemingly reduced by four by the time they go into action. Reacher is the first to respond, locating Frances Neagley in LA. Later, Karla Dixon and Dave O'Donnell arrive to learn of the probable fate of the others. Unraveling this mystery requires all their considerable skills, the experienced team once believing themselves invincible. Dodging post-9/11 security, the four ex-soldiers come face to face with some hard truths about the directions their lives have taken since the old days.

No matter what elaborate scheme is behind the plot of a Reacher novel; Child makes sense of even the wildest tale. Reacher's appeal, and by extension that of his comrades, is their outside-the-law mentality and ability to out-maneuver and out-plan even the cleverest villain. Violence is endemic to Child's popular series, Jack Reacher strolling through circumstances that would fell a lesser man. That's his appeal: large, smart, ruthless. The formula works just as well here, if a little drier for the reliance on mathematical projections to uncover clues from LA to Las Vegas. But this novel is new, not vintage Reacher, a kinder, gentler, less frequently violent man than in the other titles (The Killing Floor, Die Trying). I don't find the Jack Reacher in Bad Luck and Trouble nearly as compelling and hope he hasn't lost his edge, returning next time to the macho style that so defines the series. Luan Gaines/2007.
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