four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
29-July-Aug-2007
By: 
Lee Child
user_rating: 
0

A Jack Reacher Novel

A-Bad Luck and TroubleIn the 11th Jack Reacher novel (after The Hard Way 4 of 5 Stars Sept/Oct 2006), the loner ex-military policeman discovers a mathematical SOS signal in his bank account, which he interprets as a cry for help from former colleague Frances Neagley. Her special investigators are being hunted down one by one—the most recent thrown from a helicopter above the California desert—and she needs Reacher’s help in solving the mystery of their deaths. Soon, Reacher is drawn into his old life—and a dark conspiracy that brings him to Las Vegas, reintroduces him to an old flame, and hints at a wide-ranging plot that could kill thousands of innocent people.
Delacorte. 377 pages. $26. ISBN: 0385340559

Daily Mirror [UK] 4 of 5 Stars
"Child is a great storyteller, building plots that, although complex, are as compelling as they are ultimately logical. … Is it any different to what he’s done before? No. Will anyone care? Probably not." Henry Sutton

Evening Standard [UK] 4 of 5 Stars
"The only thing wrong with this ruthless thriller is its clumsy title. Right from the heart-stopping opening, and all the way to its cheer-provoking climax, it compels you to read on like a cokehead greedy for line after line after line." Katie Law

Nelson Mail 4 of 5 Stars
"The title is lame, but Reacher fans should get their kicks from Mr. Invincible, who reveals that among his personal quirks is a fascination with prime numbers and a wizardry with mathematics. Ruthless, loyal and deadly as ever, Reacher proves again that in prime number terms he is the one not to tangle with, even if the story itself finishes on an anti-climactic note." David Manning

New York Times 4 of 5 Stars
"The effect of this [stylistic] streamlining is electrifying. Not for nothing has the cover art of his recent books depicted a bull’s-eye. Bad Luck and Trouble unfolds with the simple, immaculate logic that makes this series utterly addictive." Janet Maslin

Chicago Sun-Times 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Bad Luck and Trouble has a few curious quirks—for example, Reacher is now a ‘junior-idiot-savant’ when it comes to math—and it takes longer to rev up the pace than most of Child’s books. Once the plot hits its stride, however, readers are in for the action-packed thrill ride they’ve come to expect from this series." David J. Montgomery

Independent on Sunday 3.5 of 5 Stars
"The latest Lee Child is a big improvement on the last, and gets right back to basics, as Reacher and his buddies hit the road looking for the killers of the military companions who became closer than family. A bonker bestseller, even though I hated the title." Mark Timlin

Critical Summary

Nearly ever critic faulted the title of Lee Child’s newest Jack Reacher novel—but that minor complaint, lost in a sea of high praise—speaks volumes about the book’s great merits. Child brings to Bad Luck and Trouble the same heart-racing plots, intriguing characters, and minimalist writing for which he’s known; this time, reviewers note that Child has perfected his taut, no-nonsense dialogue. Reacher, the quirky antihero, also exhibits his mathematical talents: codes and probabilities add an intellectual dimension to the plot. Some readers may find the novel a little formulaic or anticlimactic, but critics agree that Child has produced one of his finest Reacher novels.