Friday, August 14, 2015

Without Fail

Over the last several months I have essentially slogged my way through the first five books in Lee Child's Jack Reacher series. If you recall I have had a very low opinion of these books. The common descriptors would be far-fetched, contrived, implausible, inane, frustrating. Given that I purchased the first six books, I was determined to read every last word even if it led to diminished brain capacity on my part. Well you know what, I actually enjoyed the sixth book in the series, Without Fail. It definitely was a cut above the others. At least I think it was. Perhaps after five previous books, I am just worn down.

In this outing, Jack Reacher is sought out by a lady who was a girlfriend of his brother. Mary Ellen "M.E." Froelich is a CIA agent who is in charge of the security detail for the VP-elect. She is a qualified agent, but is worried that her male colleagues might be trying to unseat her from her role. She seeks out Reacher as a consultant to search for security gaps in the VPs protection. Reacher takes on the challenge, but he can tell from the start that Froelich is nervous about a concrete threat, that this consulting effort is more than just an exercise. Ultimately we learn that there has been a clear threat to the VP. Initially it is not clear if this threat is some CIA malcontent trying to embarrass Froelich, and the FBI is brought in work on the case. The FBI is convinced based on the evidence that the threats are indeed from the inside. However, Reacher is not convinced and follows his own nose.

In this episode, Reacher teams up with a partner, an ex-army friend called Neagley. Even though they have never hooked up on anything other than work, it is clear that they have feelings for each other. However, even beyond the surface tension this dynamic creates, they serve to well complement each other. Together they are more than they are as individuals. In the end, Reacher figures things out, gets the bad guys, and rides off alone into the sunset as he does at the end of all of his novels. The next book in the series is entitled, Persuader.