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Without Fail [Mass Market Paperback]

Lee Child
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1 2003 Jack Reacher (Book 6)
Skilled, stealthy, and unknown, Jack Reacher is the perfect man to assassinate the Vice President of the United States. Theoretically. His job is to find holes in the VP's security system-before a group of assassins does.

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From Amazon

What better way to test the security surrounding a U.S. vice president-elect than to hire someone skilled in the killing arts to penetrate his protection? Assassination strategy, though, is only part of the assignment facing Jack Reacher in Without Fail. This restive, blunt-edged ex-military cop must also determine whether recent threats against VP-to-be Senator Brook Armstrong are legitimate or are primarily intended to embarrass the perfectionist head of Armstrong's new Secret Service detail, M.E. Froelich, who happens to have been a girlfriend of Reacher's late brother.

If Without Fail lacks the emotional urgency of Lee Child's previous novel, Echo Burning, it still barely lets the reader catch a decent breath between plot crests. Jack and his fetching yet formidable colleague, Frances Neagley, must figure out how warning letters to Armstrong are being delivered into the Secret Service sanctum, whether the senator is at risk because of something political or personal, and who staged the demonstration murders of two innocent men also named Armstrong, first initial B. Unfortunately, a few twists (including the source of a thumbprint applied to the threats against Armstrong) can be figured out in advance, and the story is light on character development. A tiny breach in Reacher's reclusive carapace opens as Froelich transfers the love she once felt for his brother toward him, and there are suggestions that Neagley may have depths of feeling just waiting to be plumbed. However, other players are mere ciphers--the sacrificial victims of an action-oriented yarn. --J. Kingston Pierce --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The sixth time's a charm for thriller meister Child, whose latest escapade starring ex-military cop Jack Reacher is handily his most accomplished and most compelling to date. The suspense-laden plot kicks off with U.S. Secret Service agent M.E. Froelich telling Reacher: "I want to hire you to assassinate the Vice President of the United States." V-p-elect Brook Armstrong has received a series of anonymous death threats, and Froelich needs to uncover their source and ascertain the effectiveness of Armstrong's security detail. Reacher agrees to masquerade as an assassin because he can't resist a challenge and because Froelich had loved his older brother, Joe, a Secret Service colleague killed in a botched operation. As Reacher pieces together an increasingly frustrating puzzle, Child ratchets up the excitement with several breathtaking set pieces, including a Thanksgiving dinner for D.C.'s homeless that turns deadly, a jaw-dropping coup de th‚ƒtre and a slam-bang finale in Wyoming's mountains. He even extracts tension from mundane events, as when Reacher searches for clues on a security video of an office cleaning crew. The novel's detailed insider's view of political skullduggery is certain to intrigue readers, and the various characters' relationships, handled with careful restraint, provide an added layer the growing attachment between Froelich and Reacher; both characters' recollections of Joe; Reacher's regard for Frances Neagley, a former colleague whom he calls in for help. And then there's Reacher himself, the stolid, flawed man's man who gives no quarter on any level. Indeed, the novel's final line serves as a pr‚cis of this quietly fascinating character: "He headed west for the Port Authority and a bus out of town." This Child's play will be a tough act to follow.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reacher Reaches the Insider's Place Dec 6 2008
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you have read any of the Jack Reacher novels you know he's the ultimate outsider, someone who was an insider and now enjoys his freedom. In Without Fail, old ties bring him into contact with the Secret Service to protect the Vice President. Reacher finds himself tied down a bit too as his brother's ex-lover becomes attracted to the resemblances between them.

The premise of this book is strong. Take someone who is tough and resourceful and have them probe for security weaknesses. Reacher is obviously perfect for that role.

While focused on that premise, the book works well.

But it turns out there's a real threat . . . and it's frightening! In the beginning, this premise also works well. But the premise eventually breaks down into a series of plot twists that left me feeling disappointed with who the baddies are and why they are after the Vice President.

The book's ending is clearly the weakest part of the story. It's too bad. The book starts off quite strong.

If you don't like to read books that end weakly, I suggest you read the next book in the series, Persuader, instead. It's a much more satisfying offering.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can't go wrong with Jack Reacher May 11 2014
By Clair
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
You really can't go wrong with a 'Jack Reacher' book. This is intriguing from page one as all of Lee Child's books are.
My very favorite character, an ex-military man is unique in many ways, someone you'd love to know. As the suspence grows your respect for Jack Reacher grows, and it's really hard to put the book down. He is not a 'superhero' with cape or mask but he is quiet and polite, caring and determined to right the wrongs without undue violence. He can handle 5 attackers at once, so no, he's not a 'talk only' rescuer, he's a strong, tall, capable crime solver, the one you want in your corner.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A good story but not edge of your seat. April 2 2014
By J Reader TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love Lee Child because his novels have the unique ability to keep me turning pages and not realizing where the time has gone. In Without Fail I found myself always wanting a little more. The story is interesting and the characters are equally interesting but it seems to lack the pace of other Reacher novels.

I think it's because the danger surrounds a minor character in the person of the Vice President he is more of a peripheral character while Reacher and the Secret Service are tracking down the threat. By not putting Reacher and the other major characters in danger Child striped the novel of a level of intensity that is typical of Child's novels.

This was still an enjoyable novel to read. The story was not predictable and it was overall a good Child mystery. However, Lee Child has created a very high bar for himself and this novel fell short for me. I wouldn't read it again but I would recommend it to anyone who's looking for quick easy read at the cottage this summer.
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4.0 out of 5 stars without fail Feb. 4 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
as usual a fairly realistic story but lots of suspense and drama.Good picks of characters and landscapes.Excellent read as usual.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've read all of his novels & anxiously awaiting his next one The whole Jack Reacher series is great, I'd recommend them all. The only problem is the movie. Jack Reacher is 6' 5" 230 lbs. Tom Cruise is 5' & maybe 150 lbs, Jack Reacher should be Dwayne Johnson instead,
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5.0 out of 5 stars reacher Jan. 2 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
the novels seem to finish to quickly, i can't seem to get enough of jack reacher. his mind is interesting to explore and look forward to reading more about him.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good book. July 6 2013
By daveo
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
again, in typical Jack Reacher fashion, the plot is one that keeps you guessing until the end. This is one of the better novels I have read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Reacher Gainfully Employed June 14 2013
By Brett H #1 REVIEWER #1 HALL OF FAME
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Without Fail is not going to disappoint fans of Jack Reacher. Lee Child comes up with a new setting for Reacher's persuasive combination of detailed analytical thinking and overwhelming violence. Actually the latter is fairly understated in this story, and our hero does not end up taking on two, four or six mindless heavies in a brawl, which seems to be the fairly normal scenario.

This time round there is a plot to assassinate the vice president elect, and Reacher and his female associate from the Army, Neagley are co-opted in by the Secret Service who are clearly struggling to bottom out the threat. As a novelty, and for the first time I can remember post his army days, Reacher is actually employed in gainful employment as opposed to drifting around, righting wrongs in his own inimitable fashion. Of course, we have the usual romantic attachment which surprisingly is not Neagley. This is fairly understated which I personally prefer to the rather physical and extended descriptions in other stories such as the more recent The Affair (Jack Reacher).

This is certainly a book which keeps you turning over the pages and whilst I normally end up rating Reacher stories at Four or Five Stars, this is, in my opinion, at the higher end. If I had a criticism of the plot it is only that I found the motivation of the would be assassins rather improbable, but maybe that's just me and in any case it does not detract from the tale which I thoroughly enjoyed.
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