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416 pages

Berkley Trade (January 3, 2006)

Without Fail is another excellent offering from Lee Child. Anyone who has not had the good fortune to read a Jack Reacher novel could start here or at any other point in the Reacher series and have a good read but Without Fail is a superb example of everything Lee Child does right.

Jack Reacher is a tough guy's tough guy. He gets along well with those who are good at their jobs and don't put up with bullshit: In other words he likes people who are like him. As a character the success of Reacher is ensconced in his simple approach to the world. There are good guys and bad guys and you have to decide where you stand in relation to them. As a former MP with the rank of major Reacher is a consummate detective with high level security clearance and all the martial skills one would expect a police officer who has to investigate everyone from Rangers to grunts to have in their repertoire.

In Without Fail the reader gets a good run down of how a secret service detail works and how the Department of the Treasury goes about handling investigations into threats to one of their most high profile clients: The Vice-President of the U.S.A. The simple set up: The lead secret service agent, and Jack's brother's former lover, needs a favour she wants Jack to see if he can kill the Vice-President and he has ten days to let her know if it is possible.

This sixth book in the Jack Reacher series does not disappoint. There are no red herrings here the investigation is clear and straightforward and you do get to see the way in which different investigative bodies in the U.S. approach law enforcement, crime prevention and crime investigation. The really interesting idea at the center of all of this though is very clear – the secret service has an impossible job and just the fact that people of such talent put themselves into the line of fire as part of their contribution to the democratic process is a testament to that fact that idealism is alive and well.

It should come as no surprise that Jack Reacher helps out the secret service in doing their job but it should be noted that nothing about Reacher's efforts detract from the job of the Secret Service. This is just another superb thriller from Lee Child.