Without Fail Mass Market Paperback – Apr 1 2003
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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 thtre 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 prcis 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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Reacher is so unpolished that one sometimes wonders how he reached officer grade O-4 (Major), which would imply managing a wardrobe, knotting a tie, and displaying minimal social skills in the officers' mess and at the CO's annual Christmas party. It's not that Jack is a Neanderthal; he just doesn't care to run with the rest of the lemmings anymore.
In WITHOUT FAIL, M.E. Froelich, who heads the Secret Service protection detail for the newly elected Vice President, Brook Armstrong, hires Reacher to audit the security of the new Veep's protective screen. Froelich is also the ex-girlfriend of Jack's dead brother. After finding holes through which a potential assassin could drive a monster SUV, Reacher learns why the Service really wants his help. The VP is receiving credible death threats. And it may be an inside job.
I would've awarded WITHOUT FAIL at least one more star had it not been a Jack Reacher adventure. But it is, and here our prickly protagonist has to play well with others: Froelich, her boss Stuyvesant, FBI guy Bannon, and a colleague from Reacher's old Army days, ex-Sergeant Frances Neagley. Reacher's talent for punitive violence is severely curtailed compared to past episodes, revealing itself only at the very beginning and the very end. In between, Jack is reduced to being a consultant, even to the point of wearing a suit. Say it ain't so, Lee!Read more ›
Froelich, remembering Joe's boast and now being in a position to authorize this type of audit was seeking out Reacher. She ultimately convinces Reacher to secretly stalk the V.P. and try to uncover opportunities to broach security and do him harm. Reacher recruits ex-Army master sergeant and lethal and capable colleague Frances Neagley to work with him.
During their mission Reacher and Neagley discover that the audit was a charade. The Secret Service has apparently been infiltrated and there actually have been threats made on the life of V.P. elect Armstrong. At the urging of Froelich's boss, Agent Stuyvesant they join with the Secret Service to help eradicate this dangerous threat to security. Reacher fans can imagine what happens next!
Suffice to say that Lee Child is an extraordinary entertaining writer.
Most recent customer reviews
It was a good book. Jack Reacher is at it again, taking out the bad guys. Really good story and wants you to keep on reading!Published 1 month ago by Chris Bourassa
Classic Jack Reacher. A good read as always. Not one of the better books but not bad.Published 2 months ago by Kate Percy
Good read. I am a fan of Lee Childs and all of the Jack Reacher books. Keep em coming please.Published 4 months ago
Captivating serie. I bought all the books and can not keep my nose out of a book until it is completely read. Usually 2 days.Published 7 months ago by Pierre Archambault