Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child

I began reading Lee Child in late 2010, with Echo Burning, and loved him. In 2011, I ran through almost the entire Jack Reacher series. I’m glad I saved this one for 2012, because it’s the last one I hadn’t read yet (not the last in the series, you realize, but the last that I got to). It was a treat, and now I’m left waiting for him to write more books. I’m concerned that it may be a little while because maybe he’ll be busy helping make the One Shot movie. I don’t know, are authors involved, or is his work done?

That’s right, they’re making a movie out of One Shot, and so the controversy begins. Like many Reacher fans, I would love to see film versions of the whole series, but: the Hollywood folks have gone in the wrong direction picking a Reacher. For those who don’t know, Reacher is a charismatic, handsome, intelligent, super-strong post-military man, 6’5″ and about 250 pounds, and blonde. And they’ve chosen Tom Cruise to play him. Sigh.

The interwebs are in uproar over this choice; not surprisingly, followers of Reacher don’t feel that the short, skinny-ish, dark-haired Cruise can play Reacher appropriately. Apparently Lee Child has come to terms with this choice, which is something that I, personally, have not come to terms with yet. I will not be able to bring myself to see this movie. I think the movie – and if it goes that far, the film franchise of Reacher movies – will end up having a different fan base than the books. I fear that no one who has come to know and love the written Reacher will be able to love Cruise in that role.

But! Reacher-in-media updates aside, I was writing a book review. Sorry! Back on track.

Bad Luck and Trouble opens with a gruesome death, and then checks in with Reacher. The former military policeman has been roaming the country with a folding toothbrush in his pocket and is not looking for any trouble, but his past catches up with him. Specifically, Frances Neagley (whom we met in Without Fail) makes contact, requesting his help. A member of their one-time elite and closer-than-blood special investigations unit has been thrown out of a helicopter and, as Reacher will repeat, you don’t throw his friends out of helicopters and get away with it. A small group of Reacher-esque badasses thus reunite to avenge their friend’s death and save the world.

This is the 16th Reacher novel I’ve read, and I confess there are a number of predictable elements. For example: Reacher’s side will win. Sorry if this spoils the ending, but he always does. For another, the hot chick will insist on sleeping with him. And finally, he’ll fade out into the sunset rather than settle down at the end, after winning, and sleeping with the hot chick.

But you know what? Predictability in these areas doesn’t lessen my enjoyment. Reacher’s cleverness and the fast-paced action and ass-kicking have never gotten old. And the action itself is not predictable; I was trying right up to the end to figure out whodunit and how we were going to get out of this pickle. Knowing Reacher will get out of the pickle is not the same as knowing how he’ll do it. I continue to eat these books up, and will continue to do so. Child, more please!

Item of interest: Bad Luck and Trouble included a much more math-heavy side of Reacher than I can remember having seen before. We know he’s good with numbers, does complicated arithmetic problems in his head for fun and all that, but this special skill (I believe he calls it a “junior idiot savant” ability) plays a larger role here than usual, which is fun if you’re into that sort of thing.

2 Responses

  1. […] My best friends are: Bad Luck and Trouble […]

  2. […] they need; so Reacher gets Sergeant Frances Neagley, who we know from books like Without Fail and Bad Luck and Trouble (among others). I like […]

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