Saturday, July 21, 2007

Bad Luck and Trouble -- Lee Child

Someone's killing the members of Jack Reacher's old army investigating team. Tossing them out of a helicopter. One of the living members manages to get in touch with Reacher, not an easy task, to let him know there's a problem. The team's motto: "You don't mess with the special investigators." Even if they haven't seen each other for ten years.

So the four remaining members of the team go into action.
Like any Lee Child novel about Jack Reacher, Bad Luck and Trouble is well-written and effective, but some stuff bothers me. I don't consider this a spoiler, but I'll leave some space just in case you don't want to look at it.

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Okay, Reacher and his group need to know the title of the 6th song on the 2nd Jimi Hendrix album (Reacher knows the name of the album). They're staying in a classy hotel, the Chateau Marmont, in Los Angeles. So naturally they troop downstairs and go to Tower Records to look at the CD. This takes a few pages. When they find the CD the barcode covers the title. They have to buy the CD, and then we read about Reacher's difficulty in opening it. Why does this bother me? Well, if you were in the Chateau Marmont, and you were a crack investigator, and you had a computer, what would you do? You'd hop on the free wireless access, and you'd have the song title in 30 seconds. Surely someone, Reacher or one of the others, would know this if I do. And yes, the Chateau Marmont does have free wireless access. I checked on the Internet. Took maybe 10 seconds.

And another thing. Reacher makes a fundamental blunder, one of the kind that makes me groan and say, "No, no, don't do that." But he does it anyway. This time it's a 50-page detour to Las Vegas, based or faulty reasoning that just seems dumb to me. There's another, much more obvious option to try first. This kind of thing has bothered me before in the Reacher novels.


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Aside from those quibbles, I thought this was more fun than The Hard Way, the previous book in the series. At least there's no 500-word description of Reacher's shoes. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the books, and I'll keep reading them, I'm sure. I just get a little irritated now and then. Probably it's just me.

14 comments:

Roddy Reta said...

I love Lee Child, but I've read a couple of Reacher books now where Reacher spends 50 or more pages pursuing a complete dead end. I understand that this is realistic, but it often leaves me feeling like I wasted my time.

Also, when did Lee Child turn into James Patterson? Short chapters galore.

Bill Crider said...

Everybody's on the short-chapter bandwagon these days. A scene becomes a chapter.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Yeah, it's you Bill. You geezers are just too picky.

I loved it.

Bill Crider said...

I knew it was me.

Craig Zablo said...

I'm reading it now. It's my third novel by Child [Persuader & The Hard Way being the other two] and it's good, but not as good... at least so far.

Dan said...

i totally agree with the CD thing. i was thinking the exact same thing: hello, amazon, google, anything. jeez.

as for the short chapters, lee child has been using them for as long as he's been writing books. though they do seem to be getting shorter.

Jess Nevins said...

Erm...it's the Marmont. All you'd have to do is call the concierge, and they'd find out for you. They've done a lot stranger things, and gotten a lot stranger things, for their rock-star and actor clientele. (The stories I've heard....)

Bill Crider said...

You move in a different circle from me, Jess. I've never heard those stories.

Glen said...

It's not just you Bill. While I like the books, sometimes they have parts that bother me.

Bill Crider said...

I like the books, too. But that bit about the CD really kind of puzzled me.

Jess Nevins said...

Bill--

Oh, I've never stayed in the Marmont.

My sister, on the other hand...she does move in those circles....

Bill Crider said...

Well, it's nice to know that someone does.

Anonymous said...

What brand of shoes was Reacher (Child) obsessed with in "The Hard Way"? Thanks.

MG

Bill Crider said...

Can't remember, but there's a whole long paragraph about those shoes.