Bad Luck and Trouble (2007)
Author: Lee Child
Genre: Adventure/Suspense (Hard-edged)
Lee Child's Reacher is a modern loner, who generally travels alone from town to town, minding his own business. But, somehow, "bad luck and trouble" always manage to find him. In a different way from Child's usual formula, Reacher in this book serves as the commanding officer of a tightly knit and focused team, each member making his or her own invaluable contribution to the investigation. Neagley is smart and tough, and she has a lot of money to finance their operation. Dixon is a forensic accountant with a sharp mathematical mind, equal to Reacher's. O'Donnell is fast, powerful, and fearless. This formidable foursome struggles against a group of ruthless adversaries who always seem to be one step ahead of them. SPOILER: Reacher and his old comrades find that a group of gun manufacturers have developed new air missiles and are trying to secretly sell the prototypes to Syrian terrorists. At last, they cruelly avenge their friends' deaths and abscond with a lot of money from the villains.
Geographical Setting: vicinity of Los Angeles, California
Time Period: Present (2000s)
Series: Jack Reacher Novels, 11
This book is one of Lee Child's best Jack Reacher novels. Bad Luck and Trouble has everything that a great action/suspense novel should have: a great plot, realistic characters, suspense and lots of twist and turns. Its story line grabs readers from the beginning, and it's one of those "can't put it down" books. As with many good characters and good stories, this book gives much pleasure to its readers from the first incident up until the adventure ends. Readers learn more about Reacher's past in Bad Luck and Trouble. In this story, readers come to understand a little more about the ex-military loner who brings his own brand of justice to set things right. It really is a neat action book.
Read-alikes: Among Suspense novels similar to Child's Jack Reacher series, Invisible Prey by John Sandford is an elaborative piece of crime fiction. This title is very suspenseful and filled with rich characterization and exciting drama. The overlook by Michael Connelly is a typical Michael Connelly mystery. The plot is not so complicated, and the story reads so fast and easily that it is perfect reading for those trying to pass the time during long flights or vacations. Also, Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter is a typical techno-thriller. On the positive side, this book moves quickly, with lots of twists and turns to the plot, the action is fairly relentless, and the view into the technical side of the sniper profession is very interesting. In The Watchman by Robert Crais, readers follow Elvis Cole's associate Joe Pike as he tries to protect a young woman who is witness to a crime committed by cartel killers and corrupt Feds. This book is a standard crime story, but it also has literary value because the author fleshes out Joe Pike and makes him more than the strong, silent stereotype that we often get in these types of stories. This is an excellent novel that attracts readers immediately with its use of language and the well built characters that Crais presents. Lastly, in Cross Country by James Patterson, series character Alex Cross is both a police detective and a psychologist, which makes him even more interesting, and his perspective as an investigator offers both criminological and psychological insights into crime and the mind of the criminal. In Patterson's stories, there are good guys and bad guys, and the distinction is clear. As classic examples of the Suspense genre, these books offer the points of view of both the killer and the detective. Readers know what the killer has in mind, and they experience extreme tension and anxiety, waiting to see if the good characters will escape.
Red Flags: strong language and violence.