>> Monday, March 8, 2010
Without Fail by Lee Child
Series: #6 in the Jack Reacher series
Publication Date: 2002
Source: Purchased Used
The Short Version:
Jack Reacher doing what Jack Reacher does best which is being smarter than the government and law enforcement agencies.
Why I Read It:
Because I love me some Jack Reacher. It was next in a series that I thoroughly enjoy.
Loner and ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is contacted by a high level Secret Service agent. It turns out that she is the former girlfriend of Jack’s late brother and she asks Jack to assassinate the Vice President-elect (the very man she’s in charge of protecting). She doesn't really want him assassinated, but she wants to test her teams ability to prevent an assassination attempt and says Jack is the man to test them by letting her know if it's possible.
What starts out as a test turns into a reality when Jack learns that the real reason for her request is that there is a very real threat against the Vice President-elect and of course Jack gets involved in the investigation as well as the ongoing protection of the man while the investigation proceeds.
As I said, I love me some Jack Reacher. He’s a smart, wisecracking loner who really just wants to be left alone to live his life without really becoming involved in society. He keeps getting involved in solving mysteries and saving people because despite his desires, he can’t seem keep himself from helping out an underdog or old friend. This time around it’s the connection to his brother that draws him in. He still blames himself for his brother’s death and of course it’s no surprise when he starts getting involved with his brother’s ex. Her own unresolved feelings about the breakup (which took place long before the brother’s death) make that an obvious plot element about five minutes into the book.
Unlike most of the other books in this series, the bad guys are not well developed at all. The reader doesn’t really know anything about the people behind the plot ahead of Jack and the rest of the Secret Service and FBI learning about them. It puts the reader in the same place as Jack in terms of knowledge, but it also makes it hard for the reader to really have a ‘bad guy’ in the story beyond the unknown assassination threats.
Maybe I do better with a thoroughly developed bad guy who I can really despise as in an earlier book in this series, Tripwire. That book had one of the most evil and vile bad guys ever written. This time around it’s more of Jack vs. the authorities in how to proceed with both protecting the Vice President-elect and solving the case of who is trying to kill him. Of course, we all know Jack is smarter than they are anyway.