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Child, Lee - Without Fail
Hardcover: 398 pages (Apr. 2002) Publisher: Bantam Press ISBN: 0593046862

WITHOUT FAIL is a tense, absorbing thriller which makes for late nights and early mornings for its readers.

Jack Reacher, is an ex-Army man who has no home, no roots, not even a credit card. He's tracked down by Secret Service Agent M E Froelich, an ex-girlfriend of his brother. She needs someone she can trust, someone who's capable of assassinating the Vice President-elect.

Unknown to the Vice President-elect, Brook Armstrong, he's been receiving death threats. Froelich is his head of security and she tasks Reacher with auditing the Secret Service protection to see if he could kill Armstrong. Reacher does find some weaknesses in the security, so together with his fellow ex-Army friend, Frances Neagley, they join Froelich's team.

There isn't a lot of violence in this book, what there is a lot of, is nail-biting tension. As Armstrong goes between his town house and office in Washington DC or flies home to North Dakota, the team are watching and waiting for something to happen. Initially the would be assassins can do anything, get in anywhere without leaving a trace. But slowly, things fall into place until finally Reacher and Neagley can set a trap.

If you hadn't guessed, I loved this book. It's well written in a spare, informal style. Reacher is a great hero, both intelligent and a one man killing machine where necessary. Neagley is a superb character, extremely competent, reminiscent of Thomas Perry's Jane Whitefield. I hope she reappears in the next book. This was my first Reacher book but by having Froelich track down Reacher through all the Government databases, the author allows the reader to get a good picture of who and what Reacher is. Fans of the TV series '24' should enjoy this.

Karen Meek, England
June 2002

Karen blogs at
Euro Crime.

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 23/01/2015 20:19