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Without Fail: A Jack Reacher Novel Mass Market Paperback – February 26, 2008

1,898 customer reviews
Book 6 of 20 in the Jack Reacher Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

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.

Product Details

  • Series: Jack Reacher (Book 6)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Jove; Reprint edition (February 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0515144312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0515144314
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,898 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Katz on May 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Some people want Vice President-elect, Brook Armstrong dead. They tried to kill him in September. They had the silencer on the gun and the perfect location but the bullet missed. No one in the crowd heard the gun shot. Armstrong's hair stirred as the bullet moved past him but he thought it was nothing more than the wind. The attempt was a failure and no one noticed. They would try again. Soon. ...
So begins Lee Child's newest and best book to date, WITHOUT FAIL. ...This is the sixth in the series.
WITHOUT FAIL takes the readers behind the scenes of the Secret Service and shows us how they react to situations, why they do what they do to protect the people they're hired to protect, and we also get to see the measures they go through to do their job successfully.
Lee Child's books get better and better with each addition to the series. WITHOUT FAIL is a real page-turner with plenty of excitement all through it. Child has not only made a detailed study of his character, but he has delved into the workings of the military and government. Yes, on occasion Reacher and Neagley sometimes seem to have superhuman powers, but the readers will willingly forgive those moments to cheer on the heroes of this story.
This new fast paced novel not only keeps you on your toes trying to figure out who wants to kill the Vice President-elect but also keeps you wondering why. Child gives us the answers to the questions as the book progresses. We start to understand how personal childhood experiences control our actions as adults.
In WITHOUT FAIL, Child has written a wonderfully thrilling story. I highly recommend this well written book.
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74 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Joe TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 29, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm attracted to Lee Child's novels because of the hardboiled and self-contained nature of his hero, Jack Reacher. After almost two decades as a military cop in the U.S. Army, Jack now wanders the U.S. with only the clothes on his back - no car, no charge cards - and a penchant for crossing paths with assorted villains. Very soon, the reader begins to feel sorry for the Bad Guys.

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!
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Gary Griffiths VINE VOICE on September 11, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
While Frederick Forsyth's "The Day of the Jackal" is the classic assassination thriller, Lee Child hits another home run with "Without Fail", a page turner with all the technical accuracy of `Jackal" and the extra dose of adrenaline one would expect from Lee Child. Child's hulking loner Jack Reacher certainly has the mind of an assassin, and in "Without Fail", he is contracted by Secret Service agent M.E. Froelich to audit the security for the Vice President of the United States, the target of a threatened assassination. Froelich happens to be the former lover of Reacher's older brother, Joe, the former Treasury Department agent killed in action years before. What follows is an extremely credible portrayal of the US Secret Service and the challenges they face in protecting the holders of our highest public offices. As with all Child/Reacher novels, this one is well researched rich in detail. But just as the detail begins to hint at tedium, Child metes out another measure of plot twist, keeping the reader anxiously waiting for the next installment. Lee Child is a true student of pace, understanding the fine balance between plot development and action. Reacher's no-nonsense perspective on justice, crime and punishment is faithfully intact, but in "Without Fail", we meet Reacher's female equivalent, the formidable and lethal Frances Neagley, an ex-Army buddy of Reacher's. Like Child's hero, this is an austere, blunt, and powerful novel, ultimately predictable but never disappointing along the way. Entertainment in print simply does not get much better than this.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte Vale-Allen VINE VOICE on July 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So far, author Child has yet to deliver anything less than a riveting book. Without Fail gives us Reacher in the ultimate urban setting: the heart of the Secret Service in DC. What would, in less capable hands, have been a deadly dull tale of a highly experienced outsider brought in to help the woman in charge of the detail protecting the vice president-elect is, in Child's hands, a fascinating study of how seemingly innocuous pieces of evidence lead from point to point until the reason behind the threats and assassination attempts is revealed.
Writing in the spare, tight prose that has become synonymous with Reacher's character--this man who owns almost nothing, lives anywhere, but is not emotionally unencumbered--the plot builds in pitch until it hits a crescendo, literally in the middle of nowhere. Reacher and his associate, Frances Neagley, (former military associate he has called upon for assistance on this job) work together like the proverbial well-oiled machine, and it is pure pleasure to witness how they think, how they deduce, how they calculate odds, risks, plans of action.
The author allows the behavior of the primary characters to reveal their inner lives, rather than wasting precious narrative time (and flow) on attempts to explain them from the outside-in. Final words, a half-written letter, the touch of one hand on another all have great import as a result.
This is a fine book. Most highly recommended.
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