Lee Child has inexorably pulled himself into the upper echelons of thriller writing with a series of tough, lean and perfectly crafted novels featuring ex-US military cop Jack Reacher. Without Fail
is the sixth outing for the resourceful Reacher, and far from showing any signs of incipient fatigue, the series just goes from strength to strength as Child hones his abilities.
As in such previous books as Die Trying and The Killing Floor, Jack Reacher is a maverick. He carries no ID, and any place he hangs his hat is home. And while he's more than capable of dealing out massive violence to the bad guys who take him on, he's a sucker for a plea for help--particularly from a woman. This time, he's asked by the persuasive Ms Froelich to help her protect the Vice-President of the United States from an assassination attempt that's on the cards. So Reacher, with only the clothes he stands up in, finds himself deep in the rarefied world of the United States Secret Service in Washington, where his problems come from the stiff-necked bureaucrats as much as from the utterly ruthless killer who soon has Reacher in his sights as much as the Vice-President.
If the plot here is a tad reminiscent of the Clint Eastwood movie In the Line of Fire, that's no coincidence--Child has his characters discuss the echoes of their situation with that film at length. But, boy, does Child ring some powerful variations of his own on the theme: this the most kinetic Reacher novel yet, full of the brilliantly orchestrated set-pieces that are a specialité de la maison with the author (the final climax in a snowy ravine is a pip). The action here is relentless, but never at the expense of character--Child is canny enough to keep dark shadows from Reacher's past a key part of his motivation. And the skill that the British-born Child is so proud of--his faultless evocation of the American landscape--is the final icing on a very tempting cake. --Barry Forshaw
A good, edge-of-the-seat thriller.' -- Punch
For most fans of Lee Child the greatest draw is his tough guy Jack Reacher, who cuts through nests of bad guys like a laser-guided Schwarzenegger. -- Peter Millar, The Times
From one of Britain's most successful writers, outstanding dialogue, a super-cool hero and enough twists to have you reading way past your bedtime -- Daily Record
Sixth in seriously good series featuring Jack Reacher
Exciting, absorbing and intriguing, with a hero big and bold enough to handle the percussive action.' -- Literary Review
You cannot help but enjoy the well-constructed plot of what is a good old-fashioned nailbiting, page-turning thriller.' -- Matt Taylor, Borders (in the Bookseller)