Book Review: “Bad Luck and Trouble,” Lee Child

Never mess with Special Investigators.”


In the Army, MP’s have to watch their backs, and the back of the people they are teamed with. MP learn never to take anything for granted. With a population as numerous as some countries, the U.S. Army has its fair share of crime. And criminals of any sort do not like to be caught.

Jack Reacher and his contemporaries served many years in the U.S. Army, working as that military’s version of Homicide detectives. Working cases of fraud, murder, drugs, and deceit, but with a military twist. Reacher, for 13 years, acquired a vast of array of tools and behaviors that makes him good at what he does. What he does is even the score, and mete out justice in very concrete ways.

Bad Luck and Trouble” finds Reacher in southern California. Upon receiving a strange deposit of money in his bank account, he flies to Los Angeles to meet up with a partner from his Army days. Jack quickly learns that others from his old investigative unit are being singled-out, hunted down, and murdered.

Jack wants to know why, but that is his secondary mission. “No one messes with Special Investigators,” and someone has, and Jack intends on making them pay.

At this point, I have about three more books of Child’s to read, and then I don’t know what I will do. I will have read the entire Jack Reacher series, about 17 books, in about 7 months. Lee has a great way of developing characters, writing dialogue, keeping the action moving. He has a history of writing for television. This style comes out in his novels as he gives you all you need to know about your characters. No page after page of boring exposition. Lee’s characters act, they do things, they say things, they are engaged and are engaging. Lee writes as if he is right there with the characters. He does not write as if he is some dispassionate observer following from above. He is the invisible ally of Jack Reacher. As an avid reader, I find that immensely gratifying.

His plots are great, intricate to keep my attention. Violent; no pansy-assed stuff here, no negotiating, no “shucks, I guess you can live.” Jack is a combination of Spencer-For-Hire (Robert B Parker), or perhaps, “Magnum, P.I.” and the Terminator.

Child’s books are a good anytime read, whether on the beach, in a hospital room, at home on a rainy day, or, like myself, waiting for hard drives to format or software to install/update/patch, his novels are a great break.

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