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Summary and book reviews of Without Fail by Lee Child

Without Fail

A Jack Reacher Novel

by Lee Child

Without Fail
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  • First Published:
    May 2002, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2003, 416 pages

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Book Summary

The suspense becomes nearly unbearable as Reacher closes in on his prey, leading to a brutal conclusion. Mix in a touching romance and one has a thriller of unequaled emotional depth.

With each new book, more and more join the chorus of praise for "one of the most original and daring heroes in suspense fiction" (The Providence Journal-Bulletin), Lee Child's ex-military cop Jack Reacher.

In Without Fail, Reacher is approached by a Secret Service agent who needs a favor. "I want to hire you to assassinate the Vice President of the United States," she asks. She is the newly appointed head of the VP's security detail and wants Reacher to try to penetrate her team's shield. He has the skills and the stealth, and no one knows him. How else can she be sure her protection is truly effective?

What she doesn't tell Reacher--but what he soon discovers--is that a very determined and deadly team of assassins has just put the VP in its sights. These men have planned well, but they haven't planned on Reacher. For only Reacher has the head and the heart to corner his prey and bring them to justice--without fail.

Chapter 1

They found out about him in July and stayed angry all through August. They tried to kill him in September. It was way too soon. They weren't ready. The attempt was a failure. It could have been a disaster, but it was actually a miracle. Because nobody noticed.

They used their usual method to get past security and set up a hundred feet from where he was speaking. They used a silencer and missed him by an inch. The bullet must have passed right over his head. Maybe even through his hair, because he immediately raised his hand and patted it back into place as if a gust of wind had disturbed it. They saw it over and over again, afterward, on television. He raised his hand and patted his hair. He did nothing else. He just kept on with his speech, unaware, because by definition a silenced bullet is too fast to see and too quiet to hear. So it missed him and flew on. It missed everybody standing behind him. It struck no obstacles, hit no buildings. It flew on straight...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

Relentlessly suspenseful and unexpectedly timely just the thing for Dick Cheney's bedside reading wherever he's keeping himself these days.

Publishers Weekly

... his most accomplished and most compelling to date....This Child's play will be a tough act to follow.

Library Journal - Michele Leber

The political scene adds interest to Child's trademark intricate plotting, and, in his sixth adventure, Reacher becomes an even more rounded character, revealing some of his background as his intelligence, intuition, and physical prowess all shine. Child's Jack Reacher thrillers get better every time, and this is a knockout.

Booklist - Wes Lukowsky

The suspense becomes nearly unbearable as Reacher closes in on his prey, leading to a brutal conclusion. Mix in a touching romance .... and one has a thriller of unequaled emotional depth.

Reader Reviews
Pat Delaney

The premise of the story is a little hard to believe. Child's fans will like the detail, characters and authenticity included, but I felt the first two-thirds kind of bogged down.

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