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The Midnight Line: A Jack Reacher Novel

Review

The Midnight Line: A Jack Reacher Novel

The Jack Reacher novels are usually formed around one of three major plotlines: 1) trouble finds Reacher, 2) Reacher interjects himself into a troubling situation, or 3) a combination of the two. The newly published THE MIDNIGHT LINE does something just a bit different, and with excellent effect.

Author Lee Child (whose name on the cover now eclipses that of his creation and, indeed, the book’s title) opens THE MIDNIGHT LINE with Reacher ending one vignette of his life in a motel room and beginning another on a Greyhound bus to an end-of-the-line destination. The catalyst that sets up the plot is brilliant in its simplicity. During a comfort break, Reacher wanders past a pawn shop and sees a West Point class ring in the window. As is explained in the narrative, a West Point class ring is not something that, having been earned, bought and paid for, is the subject of a pawn for filthy lucre, at least under ordinary circumstances. Reacher, being a graduate of that august institution himself, feels an obligation to return the ring to its rightful owner. So he purchases it and begins the process of determining that person’s identity and locating him or her. All he has is the year of graduation, some initials, and another tiny piece of information.

"THE MIDNIGHT LINE keeps Child’s string of successes intact, even at this late date. He presents some of his best writing thus far in this tale of good intentions moving a noble man to action."

Reacher begins working his way backward, following a thread here and a crumb there while utilizing a resource or two that he has retained from the past. He is not a cell phone or an internet guy, but one of the book’s subtle lessons is that even with all of those modern tools, someone who does not wish to be found can hide quite effectively with a little effort in a big enough space. Another is that occasionally old-fashioned tools, such as physical books concerning a specific subject, observation, experience and data pattern recognition, can beat a google application every time. Reacher acquires an ally or two along the way as it is revealed that the owner of the ring is in dire straits. But his efforts to find that individual put him on a collision course with some bad folks with a huge profit motive.

Child presents a couple of intriguing mysteries here, one of which is the ultimate location of the ring’s rightful owner and the other being how the bad guys do what they do, and so well. The book also contains a treasure trove of practical information on such subjects as self-defense, skip-tracing, and...well, just how big the state of Wyoming is, to name just a few. There are some surprises as well, the biggest and best of which comes at the story’s conclusion.

THE MIDNIGHT LINE keeps Child’s string of successes intact, even at this late date. He presents some of his best writing thus far in this tale of good intentions moving a noble man to action. If you have reading friends who for whatever reason are not fans of this long-running series, this is the perfect book to bring them into --- or back into --- the fold.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on November 9, 2017

The Midnight Line: A Jack Reacher Novel
by Lee Child

  • Publication Date: November 7, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press
  • ISBN-10: 0399593489
  • ISBN-13: 9780399593482