Two Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Book Review: “Without Fail” by Lee Child

“Without Fail” by Lee Child is the sixth installment in the Jack Reacher novels. In this one, Reacher is forced to deal with a lot of issues around his brother’s death, which (spoiler alert) occurred during the first Jack Reacher novel “Killing Floor.”

From the first time that we meet Jack Reacher he does not display a lot of emotion. He tends to focus on the logicality of every situation. He looks for solutions – he’s a problem solver – and he doesn’t waste a lot of time overanalyzing. So when he finds himself in the D.C. area Reacher brushes off the condolences that are given by those that worked with Reacher’s brother Joe. He doesn’t spend time dwelling on the past and he certainly does not have time to be in continual mourning for a brother that he wasn’t all that close with. It isn’t until he meets Joe’s ex that he is forced to talk about his brother’s death. “He just stopped being there, but the world carried on anyway. It should have changed, just a little bit.” (Without Fail, pg 35). I liked this quote because it is so true. People die every day, but when it is someone that you know and your world feels so empty, it is hard to understand that it is just a normal day to the rest of the world. Like your world didn’t just get a little bit darker because there was one person in it that mattered so much to you and they’re gone.

The more Reacher gets to know Joe’s ex, the more time he spends discussing and thinking about his brother’s death. I thought it was really interesting hearing from Reacher in such a straightforward way what happened with his brother’s death. “We were clones, physically, the two of us. But we had different brains. Deep down, he was a cerebral guy. Kind of pure. Naïve, even. He never thought dirty. Everything was a game of chess with him. He gets a call, he sets up a meet, he drives down there. Like he’s moving his knight or his bishop around. He just didn’t expect somebody to come along and blow the whole chessboard away.” (Without Fail, pg 134/135). I really feel like with every book Lee Child reveals just a little bit more about Jack Reacher as a character. Reacher’s evolution is gradual to a point where the readers appreciate that he is undergoing a certain amount of self-discovery.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the Jack Reacher series is amazingly good. Shout out to Brad Parks for turning me onto these books. It takes a tremendous amount of willpower to not devour the entire series and ignore everyone around me. The next book is already on my short to-read list and I cannot wait to continue learning more about Jack Reacher.

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