Die Trying Summary & Study Guide

Lee Child
This Study Guide consists of approximately 38 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Die Trying.
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Die Trying Summary & Study Guide Description

Die Trying Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Die Trying by Lee Child.

Die Trying is Lee Child's second in the Reacher series. This novel finds Jack Reacher kidnapped by coincidence when he stops to help a young woman regain her balance outside the dry cleaners. Reacher proves himself a hero when he refuses to leave this woman's side, despite the possibility of escape on his own. Once in the hands of the man who orchestrated this kidnapping, Reacher waits for the opportunity to exact revenge and to rescue the damsel in distress. Die Trying is a novel based on coincidences that proves that life is just a series of accidents.

Jack Reacher is walking down the street when he sees a young woman about to fall as she comes out of the dry cleaners. Reacher steadies the woman on her feet and takes her arm to help her to her intended destination. Before they can take more than a single step, Reacher and the young woman are forced into a car at gunpoint. Soon after, Reacher and the woman are transferred to a white panel truck in which they are driven for several hours. On the drive, Reacher learns this woman is Holly Johnson, an FBI agent. What Reacher does not know is that this woman is also the daughter of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

While Reacher and Holly spend a restless night in an old barn, Holly's fellow FBI agents are searching for clues to her disappearance. The director of the FBI is notified and placed in charge of the case. The Chicago office where Holly was assigned takes lead on the local aspects of the case, paring those in the know to just the agent in charge and two trusted agents. The investigation begins slowly.

The following morning, Reacher and Holly are once again transported in the white panel truck. Holly does not understand why Reacher did not take an opportunity the night before to escape, but feels responsible for his safety. That night, however, it becomes obvious they are responsible for each other's lives. Reacher is forced to murder one of the kidnappers when he comes into the barn and tries to rape Holly. Reacher is able to break free of his restraints, kill the man, and hide his body so that the other two kidnappers know nothing about the night's events.

As Holly and Reacher spend their third day in the white panel truck, the FBI finally gets some leads and are able to send out an APB on the truck. Unfortunately, their APB stops the wrong truck. Holly and Reacher arrive at their destination, which turns out to be the camp of a radical militia intent on creating their own country. Holly is placed in a room that was built specifically for her with a hollow between the walls that is stuffed with dynamite. Holly is approached by an undercover FBI agent who promises to get her out that night, but Holly refuses to go without Reacher.

At the same time, Reacher is being given a grand tour of the camp in order to go back to civilization and tell the world about the militia's grand plans. However, before Reacher can leave, news of the rapist's death reaches the camp and Reacher is put on trial for murder. When Holly learns that Reacher is to be executed, she escapes her room and insists they let Reacher go. Instead, the commandant commutes Reacher's sentence to time in the punishment cabin after he proves his identity in a rifle shooting contest.

As part of his punishment, Reacher and Holly are sent into the woods to bury the body of the undercover FBI agent. Reacher warns Holly that the militia is planning something big and it is to take place on the Fourth of July. At the same time, the FBI and Holly's father have set up a command post a few miles from the camp, despite the fact that the President has refused to allow them to take a rescue party into the camp. That night, Reacher escapes from the punishment cabin and begins to explore the camp. Reacher finds the abandoned mine where the militia keep their vehicles and discovers that they have stolen a military caravan transporting missiles.

The following morning, Reacher returns to the main part of the camp, where he is forced to rescue Holly's agent in charge who has gotten kidnapped after attempting to break into the camp and save Holly. The agent in charge has been working with two agents who are both working with the commandant of the militia in exchange for money. Reacher and the agent in charge stalk the camp, looking for a way to rescue Holly. Finally the commandant takes Holly out into the yard and attempts to execute her in view of spy cameras that her father is watching at the command post. Reacher is able to kill the commandant. However, in the rush of excitement afterwards, Holly is once again taken hostage by one of the rogue FBI agents. Reacher rescues her again.

Reacher, upon discovering that there is no dynamite surrounding Holly's room, realizes that the commandant sent a truck loaded with the explosives to San Francisco that morning with the intention of setting it off during the crowds celebrating the holiday. Reacher, the FBI, and Holly rush along the highway in a helicopter to find the truck. When they do, Reacher fires a single bullet into the cargo bay, detonating the explosives and killing the driver.

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