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What I Did when I was Netless
Bad Luck and Trouble - Lee Child
Member Name: ryanando
Bad Luck and Trouble - Lee Child
Advantages: Amazing, addictive writing, brill series that you can pick up at any point
Disadvantages: You will disappear till you have finished.
Things that have bugged the crap out of me this week:
Work. Lack of internet (which I'm told will now be for about another month). My bank talking to me like I am an idiot.
Things that have made me a happy person this week:
Pay day. Halloween. Bleached hair and crazy colours coming in the post. My fabulously comfortable new house coat and giant ape head slippers (thank you Debenhams blue cross sale). Boxers baggy enough to allow me to be wearing the aforementioned slippers while I put them on. Kisses from a cute guy. Books.
You may have noticed, there are considerably more things under the happy column! Lets see how long THAT lasts.
Due to lack of internet, I've been forced to pursue less Hi-tech distractions. Since I've just been paid and my bank have been playing funny buggers with me, I decided to give them a giant "screw you" and went on a bit of a shopping spree. Amongst the many and miscellaneous items were four new books. Yay for me!
The ones I chose were from a series by Lee Child, a man who looks like Richard O'Brian but with hair. The series focuses on Jack Reacher, an ex-military loner with a talent for attracting trouble wherever he goes. I've found myself describing the books as "a sort of spy type thriller thing but not really since he's not a spy, he's just really cool...er.... Its good honest!!" Personally, I thought it sounded crap when I picked up the series first of all. Then I read one. Ooft.
The one I have chosen to read on this particular occasion is called "Bad Luck and Trouble" and is the latest "Jack Reacher" novel.
Reacher himself is a brilliant creation. He lives by his own rules and doesn't take anything unpleasant from anyone. Get on the wrong side of him and he will make you wish you were never born. Child has included a rather strange CV in the front of the novels to help you get to know his creation a bit better. Reacher is, to steal a phrase my mother uses constantly, built like a brick shit house (I figure if my mum can swear, so can I) which means he's bloody huge. He is stupidly rugged, incredibly strong and has a pretty spot on moral compass and won't let anything as simple as the law get in the way of dishing out karma where it's needed. Essentially, he is extremely shagable. This, right here, is what the lack of internet does to me.
So far, there are twelve books in this series (soon to be 13). So far, I have read three. Pathetic, I know, but hey, I'm trying! The thing that initially attracted me to the series as a whole was the fact that as much as they are all about the same character, they don't need to be read in any particular order to make sense. Each book takes time to re-build Reacher into an almost superhuman but incredibly believable character without being boring for the people who already know him. The plot lines aren't connected with each other, which only serves to enhance Reachers identity as a loner, cut off from everything and everyone. Child seems to have picked up on the lack of order himself and even jumps back into Reachers past in the 8th book of the series. It also means you can pick them up at any book you want.
---Cup of tea?---
Telling you about the story is quite difficult. Child is a misleading writer in the most fantastic way. The book is full of suspense and intrigue from the get go. The problem is that the book is full of little surprising twists so telling you the slightest little thing will ruin those precious moments. So just bear with me while I skirt around the issues.
Reacher gets a call for help from an old friend. Which is odd considering he has chosen to be one of the most untraceable souls in America. One of his old army unit has turned up dead surrounded by circumstances that are far more than suspicious and Reacher and his old friend want retribution. And now I shall bite my tongue.
---I know something you don't know---
I may not be able to tell you much about the story without spoiling the living crap out of it, but I can tell you about Childs writing abilities. Basically, he rocks. His attention to detail is amazing and he easily captures the slightly paranoid, highly intelligent Reacher. Given that this is his 11th Reacher novel, it's hardly a surprise that he knows his character inside out. Child uses this attention to detail to great effect, feeding you information and leaving you to make your own conclusions for a little while then showing you exactly how wrong you were.
On the flip side, something that makes this novel brilliant is the complete lack of detail given about some aspects, namely the bad guys. We are regularly updated as to what they look like, what they are doing and their many alias's but not until the last few chapters are we actually let into their motives and their connections with Reachers old friends.
---Are you talking to me?---
Like any good book, this one will have you hooked from the start. Seriously, read the first chapter and you won't be able to put it down. Something that I think makes this book in particular so incredibly readable is the abundance of very short chapters. It's like a trick of the mind to keep you reading. In the two days it took me to power through this book, I looked at the length of the next chapter and decided to just read one more (then another and another and another) at least five times. Sneaky, but effective. The other books in the series tend to go for the longer chapters so, as brilliant as they are, they can be put down a bit easier.
I am told by the book that men want to be Jack Reacher and women want to be with him. Already concluding myself that I would indeed "hit that" I thought I'd put the theory to the test and forced my book on two of my unsuspecting colleagues. This made for much fun. The first one was Ewan, a typical heterosexual bloke, beard, mid 20's, geekery personified. He powered through it, constantly updating me on where Reacher was, what he was doing and how amazing the guy is. He was like a kid at Christmas and I was the mean brother who knew what you were getting but wasn't going to tell. Needless to say, Reacher has the heterosexual male vote. Well done sir!
Next colleague was Fiona; decidedly female, rather girly at times, rather scary at others, but overall firmly in the heterosexual woman camp. The day after the book was handed to her, she tumbled in to work firmly addicted. Between stories of music festivals in Germany and having to hide some rather bloodied knuckle dusters she informed me that her poor boyfriend was not allowed to sleep the night previous due to not being allowed to turn the light off. She was 250 odd pages into it and was clock watching for her next break. I am yet to ask her if she would gyrate in Reachers direction, but I suspect the answer would be a resounding yes.
So, now that I have ran out of things to say due to a refusal to ruin the story for you, I shall mention the covers. They be pretty! They satisfy my need for my books to match, all being printed in the same style with ten of the twelve having an eerie but incredibly lovely picture of a road (not the same one) printed on the front. I won't even begin to ask why. Just nod and agree.
As for the price, paperback wise, nearly each novel will set you back a penny less than seven of your best British pounds (£6.99 if you really are that lazy) and will take up a good inch and a half on your book shelf! Occasionally they will creep up to £7.99, but it's still worth it. I've never seen them printed in hardback, but that might just be due to my lack of looking for it. Who knows. Not me. I don't have the net to check it out!
---Here we go!---
If you are interested, the series is easily accessible, with most, if not all, still in circulation in any decent corporate whore of a book store and if you have £83.88 to throw around you can get them all at the same time. Or you can just be a normal person and buy a few at a time. Here, for your viewing pleasure, is a list of the books in the order they were written:
1: Killing Floor
2: Die Trying
3: Trip Wire
4: The Visitor
5: Without Fail
6: Echo Burning
8: The Enemy
9: One Shot
10: The Hard Way
11: Bad Luck and Trouble
12: Nothing to loose
We have come to the end of the line. Did I mention the book rocks? You should go and buy it. Or you can go and buy the first one first... but where would be the fun in that? Get Thee to a book store! In the meantime, I'm off to throw the ones I have in the air and randomly pick the next one I'm going to read! Wish me luck!
Summary: Oooft in book form.