I have loved all the Lee Child books I have read to-date and this one was no exception. Jack Reacher is a an exceptionally well-crafted character, with just the correct mix of machismo and vulnerability coupled with a romantic vagabond lifestyle to tug at the thickest of heart strings. Imagine a tall, dark, strong and silent, mysterious stranger swooping in to kill all the bad guys and then disappearing into the sunset. I also admire his quirk of being a mathematical aficionado, I suppose because I was always so terrible in maths at school. A man with so many epithets to his credit cannot help but be dashing and suave and an out and out heartthrob, which is probably why Tom Cruise chose to play this part. The movie, however, did not do justice to the book at all. For one thing, Jack Reacher is tall and Tom Cruise is not. Reacher’s physical appearance has always played a very important role in all his escapades, tending to intimidate most people before they choose to take a swing at him, and taking that away from him was just not fair. But then, that is what I suppose one would say ‘taking artistic license’ means and as they (the film people) did the same thing with Robert Downing Jr. in Sherlock Holmes, which worked very well, I think I should not complain overmuch.
‘Bad Luck and Trouble’ seems a very appropriate title for the book as Reacher reminisces about his experiences in and out of the army and pretty much covers all the shenanigans he falls into, voluntarily or involuntarily. The cover design is alright and looks very much like a still from the book.
In this book, Jack Reacher is contacted by an ex-army colleague when a member of their old elite team is found murdered. As the remaining members gather together with a bit of ‘all for one, one for all’ mojo working for them, it becomes increasingly clear that someone has taken the time to eliminate more than one member of their team. The conspiracy that the author unfolds is actually so simple, it is brilliant. And just as plausible. How do you think terrorists lay their hands on military grade weapons from all over the world? Lee Child’s theory may well be the truth, when you put your mind to it. The loyalty that the team feels toward one another is the driving force behind all their actions and seems to epitomize the American culture of refusing to give up one man for the benefit of many, an idea that is indeed honourable and brave and may at times be stupid at the same time. Jack Reacher though is intelligent enough to realize how much time he can dedicate to saving his comrade before he must rush to detonate a proverbial time bomb that could kill millions.Usually, in a large group of co-conspirators, the reader expects at least one who would have been ‘turned’ by the end and would stab his friends in the back and since that never happens it lends a quiet dignity to the antics of these aging veterans. Loyalty, honour and friendship are the foundations of this story and Lee Child delivers on all three.
I loved the book and would recommend it to all fans of the thriller genre.