Jack Reacher is back in Lee Child’s new novel, The Midnight Line. In this book, Reacher is out to locate a woman who pawned her West Point class ring. What starts as a chance find in a Wisconsin pawn shop, ends in tracking down a crew of fentanyl dealers.
If you have not read any Jack Reacher novels this is a stand-alone story. Author, Lee Child sprinkles in enough details about Reacher’s past to make sure a new reader understands the character.
Reacher is a lone wolf, wandering the US after retiring from the Army. Being a former Military Police officer, Reacher can’t help but help people he encounters in his travels. While he might travel alone he typically teams up with local police or federal agents to accomplish missions.
In this story, Reacher finds himself alone in a Milwaukee WI hotel bed. With nothing else to do, he jumps the first bus out of town. During a rest stop in some no-name small Wisconsin town, Reacher looks in the window of a pawn shop. There he sees a West Point class ring.
Being a West Point graduate he knows few people would willingly pawn their class ring. Seeing the ring as a new challenge he buys it and sets out to find the owner.
To find the owner he will travel across the Dakotas and into Wyoming. Along the way, he meets a police detective, a private investigator and a cadre of drug dealers. The private investigator is a former FBI agent who is seeking a missing woman. Given there are some parallels to Reacher’s mission and the missing woman the investigator looking for, they team up.
Like many of the Jack Reacher books, this one has an excellent pace. The point of view flips between Jack Reacher and some of the other main characters. Particularly many of the villains have parts of the narrative from their POV. As a reader, I enjoy reading the descriptions of a trap being laid and then finding out how Reacher will avoid it, or sometimes fall for it.
One thing I liked was how flushed out the villains were. These were not one-dimensional bad guys out for pure evil. They had some smarts and backstory. There were reasons for why they did what they did and nuance to their next steps. For instance, one character spends his free time reading business magazines. He might be a drug dealer but he is looking for ways to improve his return on investment.
The ending is satisfying even if the outcomes of a few subplots are left a little ambiguous. Then again, given Reacher’s nomadic lifestyle he can’t always know what happens to everyone he meets. So as readers maybe we can’t expect to get all the answers also.
The Midnight Line will release on November 7, 2017. You can pre-order it here.
A free Advance Review copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for this unbiased reply.