Without Fail a Jack Reacher Novel, by Lee Child


“Without Fail”, Lee Child’s sixth book, takes place after a Presidential election with threats being made against Vice President-elect Brook Armstrong, the junior senator from North Dakota.

M.E.Froehlich  is in charge of the secret service team assigned to protect Armstrong. She wants to make sure he is safe and she wants to find someone with the real life skill to test that. It doesn’t take her long to think of Jack Reacher because she had been the girlfriend of his brother Joe (see Killing Floor book one) and she had a clear idea of how effective he would be.

Jack has no home address, travels without identification, luggage or credit cards, and Froelich’s efforts to find him required her government connections. When she first meets him, she says: "I want to hire you to assassinate the Vice President of the United States." When he learns that she just wants the VP’s defenses tested, he agrees. A few days later he returns reporting and showing pictures of how many ways he found to have penetrated Armstrong’s security.

With the test behind him Reacher is drawn into an active criminal plot where he needs to find someone who really is after the Vice President. It becomes clear that whoever is behind this has put a lot of time and work into a plan, intent on killing. Reacher is confident in his ability to solve the mystery but the Secret Service has drawn different conclusions and then with problems they have to pass the lead to the FBI.   Reacher sees what they don’t and sets off on his own.

The criminal plot and the serious threat it presents is clear long before a motive is. Reacher is the one that finds the motive.  The weakness of the story is really that the motive and some of the focus of the threat are not realistic perhaps not believable. Even with that weakness in the plot the Reacher character’s approach is to respond breaking down in every changing detail, down to a second by second accounting of the progress. This pulls us into the story, raises the tension and holds our interest to the end.


“A good coat is like a good lawyer. it covers your ass.” 

“problem shared is a problem halved.” 

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