The Midnight Line is not a typical Jack Reacher story. Instead, Reacher, a former Army MP major, puts on his Military Police cap and does some serious sleuthing from the opening scene where he finds a West Point class ring in a pawn shot in Rapid City South Dakota to his search to find the rightful owner of the ring in Wyoming. Reacher is a West Point grad himself and knows that few graduates of the Point would give up their ring unless something bad had happened to them. He decides that maybe he can help the owner of the ring and immediately starts gathering clues to identify this fellow West Pointer. Of course, as the story develops, a simple lost and found case becomes dangerous as Reacher creates enemies in the oxycodone and fentanyl drug trafficking business. Reacher must use all his skills to protect life and limb.
It doesn’t take Reacher long to get to Wyoming, where he thinks he may find the owner of the West Point ring. I was much impressed by Lee Child’s ability to paint impressive word pictures of the places Reacher visits in Wyoming. I never thought of Lee Child as a fine writer – I do now. Wyoming came to life for me in the pages of this novel thanks to Lee Child's writing skills. Additionally, Reacher teams up with a former FBI agent who is also searching for a missing person and the dialogue between Reacher, the agent, and other characters in the story is crisp, clear, believable, and often entertaining.
The Midnight Line is a police procedural, something like a Harry Bosch novel by Michael Connelly. I am guessing some readers are going to be unhappy that there is less violent action in The Midnight Line than in a typical Reacher story. For me, I liked this change of pace and direction and was impressed with the new more cerebral Reacher, a man well educated and thoughtful. Don’t get me wrong, when mayhem is needed, Reacher is up to the task! When we finally get to the end of the story, Lee Child ties up all the details nicely and leaves us with a feeling of satisfaction that all loose ends are resolved as Reacher heads off for some new adventure.
I may be in the minority, but I like this new Reacher and I think that Lee Child has used all his talents as a writer and story teller to best advantage. Unfortunately, Reacher fans are going to have to wait; the novel will not be released until November 7, 2017. The Midnight Line looks like a best seller to me and I recommend it without reservation to Reacher fans. 4.5 stars.
Update: The more I think about it, the better I like this new Reacher novel. My wife is reading it now and she thinks it is excellent; she is a serious mystery story buff. Five stars.
Update 2: I wrote this review two months ago and predicted this new Reacher novel would go right to the top of the best seller list, which is where it stands on this first day of publication. If you read this book, leave me a comment and tell me if you agree that this is one of the best books in the Reacher series. Thanks. Russell