Friday, July 06, 2007

Reacher returns in "Bad Luck And Trouble" by Lee Child

If you haven't picked up a novel from this series before, you can start here. While it does refer to a couple of things in earlier books, it won't hurt those reads if you read this one first. If you haven't read him—why not?

Bad Luck And Trouble: A Jack Reacher Novel
By Lee Child
Delacorte Press
May 2007
ISBN #978-0-385-34055-9
377 Pages

"So, what's the plan, boss?" Dixon asked, and the question sent Reacher spinning nine years into the past, to the last time he had heard anyone ask it.
"Same as ever," he said. "We investigate, we prepare, we execute. We find them, we take them down, and then we piss on their ancestors' graves."(Page 110)

This has always summed up Reacher's attitude towards his enemies—foreign and domestic. That attitude isn't about to change in the eleventh novel of the series which does find him occasionally questioning some of the financial choices he has made since he left the service. Reacher is still a drifter with very little to his name and for the most part is content with his free floating lifestyle. Frances Neagley from his old CID team knows how he thinks and gets a message to him through his bank balance on his latest ATM receipt. Reacher makes his way to Los Angeles and knowing how she thinks, and knowing that she knows how he thinks, etc. quickly is able to find her and meet.

At least one of their old team has been brutally killed by being dumped from a helicopter at three thousand feet without a parachute and other members are not answering her messages. Frances and Reacher could be the only survivors as it appears that the entire team is being hunted and systematically eliminated. They don't know why or what they are up against and the clock is ticking against them. Their first stumbling forays into the investigation lead them into a maze of death and deceit, military weapons contracts, and plenty of action that always characterize a Jack Reacher novel.

With this being the eleventh novel in the series there is little new insight into the Jack Reacher character. Long time readers know most of the back story briefly covered in the novel and as such there are no real surprises just a couple of confirmations of previously implied events. Instead the focus is on the action as Reacher leads a mission that honors the old CID motto.

"You do not mess with the special investigators."

The result is a revenge and retaliation read that rockets along and focuses on action. Action becomes a secondary character always a page or two away and Reacher, never known for having patience or subtly, reacts hard at every turn. This isn't a deep thinking book as the brief moments that Reacher contemplates his financial situation are always short and resolved by him punching someone, driving cars through fences, or some other violent act that ultimately gets the job done. The job always gets done with Reacher on the case and one wouldn't want it any other way.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2007

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