Die Trying is the second novel in the Jack Reacher series composed by Lee Child. Putnam published in 1998.
Having run short on cash, Reacher has paused in his travels and is working as a doorman when he stumbles to the kidnapping of FBI agent Holly Johnson in Chicago. The pair are whisked over the United States in the back of a Ford Econoline van that was stolen, while back in the colleagues in Chicago Holly frantically piece together the puzzle of her abrupt disappearance.
Arriving in Yorke County, a (fictional) remote area of Montana, Reacher and Holly find themselves up against the Montana Militia, a group around 100 strong directed by Beau Borken, a majestic yet ruthless megalomaniac intent on a lot more than straightforward secession from the Union.
Holly is the daughter of a US Army general officer – the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She is defensive about her family connections, having had to work hard to dispel beliefs of nepotism, so it’s a while before she reveals to Reacher that she is also joined in a significant way with the President.
Further complications merely increase confusion and the chaos running rampant. The FBI has a mole named Jackson working inside the militia – but the militia itself has a mole infiltrated to the Chicago FBI teamgroup, who keeps Borken informed of every measure taken against him.
There are also political complications, set out at the White House in several scenes, since Holly is the President’s own beloved godchild. Consequently, Dexter – on behalf of the President – instructs the FBI and Army to go slow and avoid using their total force.
Adding even more to the confusion, the FBI believes that Reacher is the leader of the team that is kidnap. Major Reacher’s old commanding officer, General Leon Garber, arrives to convince them otherwise – and eventually, takes a significant part himself in the rescue efforts. Naturally, it is the redoubtable Reacher who has the principal function – with some help from your kidnapped Holly Johnson, herself a formidable fighter who takes a notable part in her own saving.
To the White House’s help, events involving dozens of casualties on both sides – amounting to small-scale war between the militia and Reacher’s juryrigged force of FBI agents and soldiers, in northwest Montana – remain unknown to the overall American public. Efforts by militia survivors to get media interest are discredited due to their resorting to obvious exaggerations and conspiracy theories. This makes the book a type of secret history.
In the course of the experience Holly and Reacher become deeply involved with each other as might have been expected. Still, Holly is in love using a fellow FBI agent – in saving her, who also took part, at great personal danger – and she still means to marry him. Reacher gallantly, though heartbrokenly, sets off on his wanderings, hitchhiking on an Idaho highway, and says good-bye with a last passionate kiss.