Bad Luck and Trouble is your typical Jack Reacher novel from author Lee Child. Once again Reacher, our hard as nails, itinerant former Military Policeman hero, gets caught up in a twisting plot involving murderous and iredeemabe bad guys, a hidden conspiracy (this time with links to the global war on terrorism) and a mounting body count. This time the twist is that events require Reacher to reunite and work with former colleagues from his army days; colleagues almost as hard nosed & capable as he is. Apart from that it is the standard mix of hard edged, punchy prose, bone jarring action and twisted plotting, all leading up to to the usual final, bloody reckoning. Its also as entertaining and fast moving as always; a great example of the book that is impossible to put down.
So why only four stars? Well quite simply as good as Bad Luck and Trouble is it also has the undeniable hint of staleness about it. This is the eleventh Reacher novel and without any real exceptions they all follow the same standard template. This has produced some highly entertaining books, but reading this latest one there was a feeling of 'been there, read that' about it. There was no real sense of suprise in how events played out, and as always minimal character development or emotional depth. Reacher isn't exactly a one dimensional character, but nor is he someone with much room for personal development. With such a fixed central character the only way for Child to do something new with the series is by coming up with varied and interesting plots, something he seems reluctant to do. He does normally chuck in some unique twist, such as including Reacher's former colleagues this time around, but otherwise the plots tend to follow an increasingly predictable path. Unless that changes however, there is a real danger of familiarity breeding contempt and the series becoming boringly and predictably repetitive.
Its not quite at that stage yet, but nor is Bad Luck and Trouble in any way a departure from Lee Child's highly successful template. It will therefore please fans and is worth picking up, but its not going suprise anyone and the overly familiar plot quickly fades from the memory. It can only be hoped that Reacher's next adventure tries to break some wholly new ground.