Without Fail

Title:                      Without Fail

Author:                 Lee Child

Child, Lee (2002). Without Fail. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

LCCN:    2001048849

PS3553.H4838 W58 2002


Date Posted:      September 9, 2016

While this may seem to be mere suspense fiction, I consider it anti-terrorism fiction, and thus I think it should be included here.


When the newly elected Vice President’s life is threatened, the Secret Service runs to nomadic soldier-of-fortune Jack Reacher (Echo Burning[2], etc.) in this razor-sharp update of The Day of the Jackal[3] and In the Line of Fire[4] that’s begging to be filmed.

Why Reacher? Because M.E. Froelich, head of the VP’s protection team, was once a colleague and lover of his late brother Joe, who’d impressed her with tales of Jack’s derring-do as an Army MP. Now Froelich and her Brooks Brothers-tailored boss Stuyvesant have been receiving a series of anonymous messages threatening the life of North Dakota Senator/Vice President-elect Brook Armstrong. Since the threats may be coming from within the Secret Service’s own ranks—if they aren’t, it’s hard to see how they’ve been getting delivered—they can’t afford an internal investigation. Hence the call to Reacher, who wastes no time in hooking up with his old friend Frances Neagley, another Army vet turned private eye, first to see whether he can figure out a way to assassinate Armstrong, then to head off whoever else is trying. It’s Reacher’s matter-of-fact gift to think of everything, from the most likely position a sniper would assume at Armstrong’s Thanksgiving visit to a homeless shelter to the telltale punctuation of one of the threats, and to pluck helpers from the tiny cast who can fill the remaining gaps because they aren’t idiots or stooges. And it’s Child’s gift to keep tightening the screws, even when nothing’s happening except the arrival of a series of unsigned letters, and to convey a sense of the blank impossibility of guarding any public figure from danger day after highly exposed day, and the dedication and heroism of the agents who take on this daunting job.

Relentlessly suspenseful and unexpectedly timely: just the thing for Dick Cheney’s bedside reading wherever he’s keeping himself these days.

[1] Kirkus Review, https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/lee-child/without-fail/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=_cat%3Akirkusreviews.com&utm_campaign=DSA, downloaded September 9, 2016

[2] Child, Lee (2001). Echo Burning. New York : G.P Putnam’s Sons. [LCCN: 00045910]

[3] Forsyth, Frederick (1971). The Day of the Jackal. New York, Viking Press

[4] Griffin, W. E. B. (1992). In the Line of Fire. New York: Putmam [LCCN: 91029971]

War of Eagles

Title:                      War of Eagles

Author:                  Jeff Rovin

Rovin, Jeff (2005) created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik. Tom Clancy’s Op-center. War of Eagles. New York: Berkley Books

LCCN:    2005577014

PS3553.L245 T669 2005


  • When a mysterious cabal within the U.S. State Department causes tensions to erupt between Iran and Azerbaijan and plots to depose the President of the United States, Paul Hood and the Op-Center team must stop the conspiracy.

Date Posted:      September 7, 2016

Tom Clancy is, to me, to the right of Donald Trump. His ideology has been somewhat tempered by author Jeff Rovin in this #12 version of Tom Clancy’s Op Center: War of Eagles. In spite of Clancy, I am a fan of his books (I like big fat books) and of the Op-Center books. I like the action and suspense and the characterization is good. This book was badly hurt when Paul Hood is removed from Op-Center. He has been the central character throughout the series and to remove him is absolutely absurd. It might have been different if he retired, or quit on his own, but he was fired and a general took his place. This is Clancyesque, who believes that American Intelligence is in the trash bin. Throughout the book I hoped that Hood would regain his job, or that the tyrant general would get fired. Then there is the firing of main character, Bob Herbert. I don’t know what inspired this decimation of characters, other than to show how policymakers can never deal with the truth from good intelligence analysis.

The book begins with a bang (actually), and could be excellent. I’d love to know the motivation for the abrupt turn in the plot line.