Official Thrillerfix Review by R.E. Mcdermott
1 August 2018
With 22 Reacher novels on the shelf, Lee Child is still going strong. A masterful writer, Child manages the difficult task of keeping his character interesting with subtle changes; in each new Reacher book we learn more about his strangely appealing hero, who wanders the earth with only his toothbrush in his pocket and the clothes on his back. The Midnight Line is no different.
In what is more a cross between a straight mystery and a police procedural than his previous work, Child treats us to a somewhat more introspective Reacher, who leans a bit more heavily on the skills learned as a military policeman. While still willing and able to use preemptive violence when necessary, we see a somewhat more restrained Reacher inclined to talk first – on several occasions to his detriment.
The story begins in typical Reacher fashion, with a chance event. Reacher notices a West Point ring in a pawn shop, and flashes back to his own days at West Point. From there he speculates as to the circumstances under which the ring’s former owner might have parted with such a hard-earned prize. When a closer look at the ring size reveals its former owner to be female, Reacher’s speculations take a darker turn, and he knows he won’t be able to let it go. The search is on.
And quite a search it is, taking us into the world of prescription opioid trafficking, along with official corruption and a government cover-up. Child tells a fascinating tale while shining a bright light on the very real problems of the opioid crisis and our nation’s treatment of our wounded veterans. It is a tale well told that will resonate with both Reacher addicts and those new to the series.
As an aside, Mr. Child also seems to have added some assurances to those many fans dismayed by the casting of Tom Cruise as the movie version of Jack Reacher. The book is peppered with references to Reacher as ‘Bigfoot’ or ‘The Incredible Hulk’ and other such references to his size. If anything, Mr. Child may be working a bit too hard at recovering from that casting misstep, but that doesn’t really detract from the overall story.
Finally, Mr. Child ends the book on a very positive note, with a dedication to the combat, wounded veterans of our armed forces who received the Purple Heart. It’s a class ending to what is arguably the best Reacher novel to date.