Ex-military cop Jack Reacher is the perfect antihero--tough as nails, but with a brain and a conscience to match. He's able to see what most miss and is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Each book in Lee Child's smart, addictive series (The New York Times has referred to it as "pure escapist gold") follows the wandering warrior on a new adventure, making it easy to start with any book, including his latest gem, Bad Luck and Trouble. However, be forewarned...once you meet Jack Reacher, you'll be hooked, so be prepared to stock up on the series. --Daphne Durham
Who Is Jack Reacher? A Video from Lee Child
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A Note from Lee Child
Two years ago I was on a book tour, promoting that year's new Jack Reacher novel, One Shot. One particular night, the event was held in a small town outside of Chicago. The date was June 21st. As I was giving my talk and answering questions and signing books, that date was nagging away at the back of my mind. I knew it had some significance. I started panicking--had I forgotten my anniversary? No, that's in August. My wife's birthday? No, that's in January. My own birthday? No, that's in October.
Then suddenly I remembered--it was ten years to the day since I had been fired from my previous job. That was why and how I had become a writer. That night in Illinois was a ten-year anniversary of a different sort, somewhat bittersweet.
And ten is a nice round number. So I started thinking about my old colleagues. My workmates, my buddies. We had been through a lot together. I started to wonder where they all were now. What were they doing? Were they doing well, or struggling? Were they happy? What did they look like now? Pretty soon I was into full-on nostalgia mode. Ten-year anniversaries can do that to a person. I think we all share those kind of feelings, about high school, or college, or old jobs we've quit, or old towns we've moved away from.
So I decided to make this year's Jack Reacher book about a reunion. I decided to throw him back among a bunch of old colleagues that he hadn't seen for ten years, people that he loved fiercely and respected deeply. Regular Reacher readers will know that he's a pretty self-confident guy, but I wanted him to wobble just a little this time, to compare his choices with theirs, to measure himself against them.
The renewed get-together isn't Reacher's own choice, though. And it's not a standard-issue reunion, either. Something very bad has happened, and one of his old team-members from the army contacts him, by an ingenious method (it's hard to track Reacher down). She gives him the bad news, and asks him to do something about it. He says, "Of course I'll do something about it."
"No," his friend says. "I mean, I want you to put the old unit back together."
It's an irresistible invitation. Wouldn't we all like to do that, sometimes? --Lee Child
Secrets of the Series: A Q&A with Lee Child
Q: Why do you think readers keep coming back to your novels? A: Two words: Jack Reacher. Reacher is a drifter and a loner with a strong sense of justice. He shows up, he acts, he moves on. He's the type of hero who has a long literary history. Robin Hood, the Lone Ranger, Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings, Jack Reacher--they're all part of the same heroic family. Reacher just ratchets it up a notch. Maybe more than a notch. Why is he so appealing? Most often people say to me it's his sense of justice; he will do the right thing. Even though there is no reward in it for him, even though there is often a high cost to be paid by him, he will always try to do the right thing and people find that reassuring in today’s world when not too many people are doing the right thing.
Q: Jack Reacher gets compared to James Bond, Jack Bauer and Jason Bourne, each of whom now has a "face." In a movie, which actor do you think could fill Reacher's shoes? A: That's the toughest question. The thing about Reacher is he's huge; he’s 6'5" tall and about 250 pounds. There aren’t any actors that size--actors tend to be small. So we aren't going to find a physical facsimile for Reacher because there aren't any. We have to find someone who is capable of looking big on the screen. Many people have said to me a young Clint Eastwood would have been perfect--we need someone like that who has the vibe of a big intimidating man. Hopefully there will be somebody available like that. It's also a question of finding somebody ready to sign up for more than one movie. They want to make a franchise, minimum of three, and that makes it a little bit harder.
Q: What research is involved in writing one of your stories? A: My research is all kind of backwards. I don't go to the public library for three months and take notes in advance; instead my best research is by remembering and adapting. I read, travel, and talk to people just for the fun of it, filing away these interesting little snippets to the back of my mind and eventually they float to the surface and get used. The problem is, I approach writing the book with the same excitement and impatience that I hope the reader is going to feel about reading it. But even so, I need a certain measure of technical intrigue in the story. There is specific research I have to do as I go along, anything that's a small detail; a car, a gun, a type of bullet. I will check that out at the time. But, that's what I call the detail--the broad stuff is the stuff I already know.
Meet Jack Reacher
The Killing Floor
The Hard Way
From a helicopter high above the empty California desert, a man is sent free-falling into the night…. In Chicago, a woman learns that an elite team of ex–army investigators is being hunted down one by one.... And on the streets of Portland, Jack Reacher—soldier, cop, hero—is pulled out of his wandering life by a code that few other people could understand. From the first shocking scenes in Lee Child’s explosive new novel, Jack Reacher is plunged like a knife into the heart of a conspiracy that is killing old friends…and is on its way to something even worse.
A decade postmilitary, Reacher has an ATM card and the clothes on his back—no phone, no ties, and no address. But now a woman from his old unit has done the impossible. From Chicago, Frances Neagley finds Reacher, using a signal only the eight members of their elite team of army investigators would know. She tells him a terrifying story—about the brutal death of a man they both served with. Soon Reacher is reuniting with the survivors of his old team, scrambling to raise the living, bury the dead, and connect the dots in a mystery that is growing darker by the day. The deeper they dig, the more they don’t know: about two other comrades who have suddenly gone missing—and a trail that leads into the neon of Vegas and the darkness of international terrorism.
For now, Reacher can only react. To every sound. Every suspicion. Every scent and every moment. Then Reacher will trust the people he once trusted with his life—and take this thing all the way to the end. Because in a world of bad luck and trouble, when someone targets Jack Reacher and his team, they’d better be ready for what comes right back at them…
From the Hardcover edition.
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