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...
At the start of bestseller Child's winning 11th Jack Reacher adventure (after The Hard Way), the bad guys unceremoniously dump Calvin Franz, a former MP, from a Bell 222 helicopter "[t]hree thousand feet above the [California] desert floor." Trouble is, Franz was a member of the army's special investigation unit headed by Reacher--a one-time military cop who left the service to become a solitary drifter par excellence. A former colleague sends Reacher a coded SOS; the two rendezvous in L.A. and the game's afoot. More members of the band get back together, only to discover that Franz isn't the group's only casualty. As usual in Reacher's capers, practically nothing is what it seems, and the meticulously detailed route to the truth proves especially engrossing thanks to the joint efforts of this band of brothers (and two sisters). The author carefully delineates Reacher's erstwhile colleagues, their smart-ass banter masking an unspoken affection. The villain's comeuppance, a riveting eye-for-an-eye battle scene (hint: helicopter), is one of Child's more satisfying finales. (May) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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May 14, 2007
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Excerpt from Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child
The man was called Calvin Franz and the helicopter was a Bell 222. Franz had two broken legs, so he had to be loaded on board strapped to a stretcher. Not a difficult maneuver. The Bell was a roomy aircraft, twin-engined, designed for corporate travel and police departments, with space for seven passengers. The rear doors were as big as a panel van's and they opened wide. The middle row of seats had been removed. There was plenty of room for Franz on the floor.
The helicopter was idling. Two men were carrying the stretcher. They ducked low under the rotor wash and hurried, one backward, one forward. When they reached the open door the guy who had been walking backward got one handle up on the sill and ducked away. The other guy stepped forward and shoved hard and slid the stretcher all the way inside. Franz was awake and hurting. He cried out and jerked around a little, but not much, because the straps across his chest and thighs were buckled tight. The two men climbed in after him and got in their seats behind the missing row and slammed the doors.
Then they waited.
The pilot waited.
A third man came out a gray door and walked across the concrete. He bent low under the rotor and held a hand flat on his chest to stop his necktie whipping in the wind. The gesture made him look like a guilty man proclaiming his innocence. He tracked around the Bell's long nose and got in the forward seat, next to the pilot.
"Go," he said, and then he bent his head to concentrate on his harness buckle.
The pilot goosed the turbines and the lazy whop-whop of the idling blade slid up the scale to an urgent centripetal whip-whip-whip and then disappeared behind the treble blast of the exhaust. The Bell lifted straight off the ground, drifted left a little, rotated slightly, and then retracted its wheels and climbed a thousand feet. Then it dipped its nose and hammered north, high and fast. Below it, roads and science parks and small factories and neat isolated suburban communities slid past. Brick walls and metal siding blazed red in the late sun. Tiny emerald lawns and turquoise swimming pools winked in the last of the light.
The man in the forward seat said, "You know where we're going?"
The pilot nodded and said nothing.
The Bell clattered onward, turning east of north, climbing a little higher, heading for darkness. It crossed a highway far below, a river of white lights crawling west and red lights crawling east. A minute north of the highway the last developed acres gave way to low hills, barren and scrubby and uninhabited. They glowed orange on the slopes that faced the setting sun and showed dull tan in the valleys and the shadows. Then the low hills gave way in turn to small rounded mountains. The Bell sped on, rising and falling, following the contours below. The man in the forward seat twisted around and looked down at Franz on the floor behind him. Smiled briefly and said, "Twenty more minutes, maybe."
Franz didn't reply. He was in too much pain.
The Bell was rated for a 161-mph cruise, so twenty more minutes took it almost fifty-four miles, beyond the mountains, well out over the empty desert. The pilot flared the nose and slowed a little. The man in the forward seat pressed his forehead against the window and stared down into the darkness.
"Where are we?" he asked.
The pilot said, "Where we were before."
"What's below us now?"
"Three thousand feet."
"What's the air like up here?"
"Still. A few thermals, but no wind."
"So let's do it."
The pilot slowed more and turned and came to a stationary hover, three thousand feet above the desert floor. The man in the forward seat twisted around again and signaled to the two guys way in back.