The Midnight Line

The Midnight Line

Book - 2017
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Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate: Iraq, then Afghanistan.The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside. Reacher wonders what unlucky circumstance made her give up something she earned over four hard years. He decides to find out. And find the woman. And return her ring. Why not? So begins a harrowing journey that takes Reacher through the upper Midwest, from a lowlife bar on the sad side of small town to a dirt-blown crossroads in the middle of nowhere, encountering bikers, cops, crooks, muscle, and a missing persons PI who wears a suit and a tie in the Wyoming wilderness. The deeper Reacher digs, and the more he learns, the more dangerous the terrain becomes. Turns out the ring was just a small link in a far darker chain. Powerful forces are guarding a vast criminal enterprise. Some lines should never be crossed. But then, neither should Reacher.
Publisher: New York : Delacorte Press, ©2017
ISBN: 9780399593482
0399593489
9780399593505
9780525482895
Characteristics: 368 pages ;,24 cm.

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b
Blue_18
May 31, 2019

Many different people, with as many different reasons, approaching a common point of conflict from different directions.

m
MB_kcls
Apr 01, 2019

I've long been a fan of Jack Reacher, but less so since someone approved Tom Cruise to play him - what an absolute disaster he is as Reacher. You know who would have made a GREAT Reacher? Gary Sinise (Lt Dan, Forest Gump). He has the intense, piercing look of Reacher...

After Clancy sold the rights to Jack Ryan with Harrison Ford playing him, it felt like Clancy was writing more to fit Ford than to be true to Jack Ryan. I haven't seen that with Lee Child, YET, probably because the Cruise movies are a compilation from several books not just one. Still horrendous, although after the first mess on film I refuse to watch when my husband brings home the DVD.

That said, 'The Midnight Line' is typical Reacher (and I'm not sure that's a compliment to the writer) finding trouble or having it find him in this case by a lost West Point ring. The story of the ring went off in all directions and then, of course, at the end completed the circle that caught all the bad guys and put Reacher with his thumb out in some remote place looking for a ride.

Part of me suspects (maybe even hopes) Reacher is going to have a breakdown one of these days. He's too smart to be so simple and if he compartmentalizes as he is presented to do, eventually that compartment explodes.

Will I keep reading? You betcha! I've learned a lot from Reacher, not the least of which is situational awareness, and was entertained in the process!

4 stars, mid-B because the frame work for the stories are beginning to look formulaic: start with a bus... be confronted with a damsel in distress or an angry guy looking for trouble, take out a bunch of people using geometry and run it all through your head in the seconds before your fists hit a throat and/or your head butts someone across the nose (which, my husband tells me, is very effective) which leads to a police officer and curiosity about what the guy with the punched throat/bleeding and broken nose is trying to hide... How many times can one great, good guy end up in the wrong place? I would hope for a little introspection, but alas, that leads us back to compartmentalizing. And Lee Child squares the circle again.

b
beehlerr
Mar 12, 2019

34

s
storywizard
Mar 08, 2019

One of the best Reacher outings, highly recommended for rainy cold days by the fire, really! :-)

m
Mattou
Nov 26, 2018

I liked many of the positive comments below and felt this was a strong Reacher outing. Also enjoy the non-traditional / illegal aspect to this one and in particular the unexpected romance.

r
reader7176
Oct 27, 2018

This is a great book like the ones Child normally writes.

c
cambridgedon
Jul 26, 2018

After reading the short story collection, 'No Middle Name' this is the first Jack Reacher novel I tried. The setting is evocative and a simple premise (a little slow to develop) turns into a well-developed story. Child is a skilful writer who makes even an old-timer like me rethink the ethical issues raised. Additionally, Child does not shy away from ugliness and portrays it with brutal, jarring honesty. There is no formulaic approach which makes Child very skilful and original.

k
kmre_37
Jul 18, 2018

Having previously read most of his other books, this one was somewhat disappointing !

c
chilidog12
May 30, 2018

this is besides the first jack reacher you read... is by far the best

w
wildct2003
Apr 16, 2018

I think this is one of Reacher's worst adventures: an ok read, but the bad guys seem more like 2-bit hoods than anything else.

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Quotes

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j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

She had written, “You’re like New York City. I love to visit, but I could never live there.”
===

There had been Iraq, and there had been Afghanistan:2005 had been a tough year to graduate.
===

People donate things and take the deduction. Mostly old cars and boats. But other things too. The guy gives them an inflated receipt for their tax returns, and then he sells the things he gets wherever he can, for whatever he can, and then he cuts a check to the charity.
===

Reacher put his left fist on the table. The size of a supermarket chicken. Long thick fingers with knuckles like walnuts.
===

He had seen elbows and feet, and he improvised a kind of all-purpose defensive posture against either, but Reacher ignored both and took the last unexpected stride at full speed, and seamlessly head-butted the guy full on the bridge of the nose. Moving mass and momentum. You bet your ass. Game over, right there. A second and a half.

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

Being dumb wasn’t a capital crime. Wasn’t a crime at all, in fact. Merely a handicap.
===

Bigfoot. She got the gist. A mythic ape-man, hairy, seven feet tall, from the Northwest woods.
===

There was a dog on the back seat. Like a German Shepherd, but bigger. About the size of a pony. Maybe a freak mutation. It had teeth the size of rifle ammunition.
===

“Who or what is Bigfoot?” She said, “He’s a giant ape-man who lives in the woods. On the slopes in the Northwest. About seven feet tall and covered in hair. Eats bears and cattle. One rancher lost a thousand head, over the years.” “Where was this?” “Nowhere,” the secretary said. “It’s imaginary. Like a fairytale.”

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

There’s something out there. The oldest fear in human history.
===

Reacher walked the length of the motel to an area near the fuel pumps, where a kind of unofficial hitchhiking market was being run, by a homeless-looking guy wearing a coat tied up with rope. He would collect the desired destination from each new arriving hitchhiker, and then he would walk around shouting it out to the drivers in line for the pumps, and sooner or later one or another would wave and agree to some particular destination, and the lucky hitchhiker would tip the shouting guy a dollar and climb up in the cab.
===

This door must remain unlocked during business hours. To act as a fire escape for the cook. Another necessary amenity. Greasy spoon kitchens burned like napalm.

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

Reacher saw a petite Asian woman, wearing a black skirt suit like a uniform. Five feet nothing, maybe ninety-five pounds soaking wet.
===

… reckless. There’s a clue in the word. Reck comes from reckon, and I felt I did more reckoning than most folks. Not less.
===

Privately Nakamura felt his brush with death had produced an epiphany. He was afraid of being forgotten.
===

Reacher. He found a West Point class ring in a pawn shop and he’s tracing its provenance.” “Like a hobby?” “No, like a matter of military honor. Like a moral obligation. Verging on the sentimental, in my opinion.
===

“I saw him, boss. You could put him in a zoo.”
===

Reacher stood still. He had choices. Life was full of them.

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

He was tall and thin. Maybe six feet two. Maybe a hundred sixty pounds. But only if he had a dollar’s worth of pennies in his pocket. All skin and bone, and awkward as a stepladder.
===

I could rip your arm off and beat you to death with it, and they wouldn’t stop me. They’d sell tickets instead.
===

From time to time trucks would pass the bus, slowly, sometimes spending a whole minute alongside, edging ahead imperceptibly. Reacher was eye to eye with their drivers, across their empty cabs. Old men, all of them.
===

“The Incredible Hulk? I thought I was Bigfoot. These guys need to make up their minds.”
===

About sixty miles from here. Maybe seventy. That’s about two blocks away, by Wyoming standards.

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

“You took a risk coming here.” “Getting up in the morning is a risk. Anything could happen.”
===

Aspen groves blazed like flares on the slopes. Whole copses of hundreds of separate trees, but all joined together underground by a single root. An aspen wood was all one organism. The largest living thing on earth.
===

“What would be the army approach? Set the place on fire?” “No, that would be the Marine Corps approach. The army would conduct a careful survey of the exterior, and by great good fortune would discover a pane of glass previously broken by persons unknown, at a previous time, maybe long ago, or even just recently, which if true would reasonably suggest an ongoing emergency inside, which in turn would justify a good look around. I don’t think the Supreme Court could argue with that.”

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

“This is Wyoming. They drive epic distances for a loaf of bread. For a girlfriend, two hours, maybe. A hundred miles.”
===

Everyone lives twenty miles from everyone else.
===

Bramall told a joke about about a lawyer who died and got to the pearly gates. Not fair, he said. I’m only forty-five. Saint Pete said no, we got a new system. Now we do it by billable hours. According to our records you’re 153.
===

The corporations took eighty years to get back in the heroin business. They came in the side door. By that time in history heroin itself had negative PR. Nothing more than underworld squalor and a bunch of dead rock singers. Kind of sordid. So they made a synthetic version. A chemical copy.

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

Addicts are other people, with a dirty needle in a toilet stall. What they have is a pharmaceutical product, made in a lab, by pretty girls in masks who hold test tubes up to the light, with wondrous concern radiating from their clear blue eyes. They’ve seen it on the television, in the breaks between innings. But in fact they’re running worse risks. Those patches ain’t made for licking. Fifty thousand people died last year. Regular folk. Four times as many as got killed in gun crimes.
===

“Do you know what an accessory is?” “Something you put on your truck.” “Also a legal word,” Reacher said. “It means if you know a secret, and you don’t tell, then you go to jail too. …”
===

I couldn’t get in. They’re sealed tighter than a duck’s butt on a choppy day. I
===
“Sometimes,” Reacher said. “How often?” “More than never. Less than always.”

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

The café was a new-age place, with all kinds of healing juices, and sandwiches Reacher figured had been put together by a blind man. All kinds of random ingredients. Huge seeds in the bread. Like sawdust mixed with ball bearings.
===

“You think virtue is its own reward?” “I don’t know much about virtue. I just want to find out what happened. I can’t charge money for a private satisfaction.”
===

“Who are they?” “Cowboys,” Reacher said. “Weaned on beef jerky and fried rattlesnake.”
===

“Cowboys are the worst,” Reacher said. “Not much I can do to them, that a horse already hasn’t.”
===

Sometimes you woke up, and you knew for sure, from history and experience and weary intuition, that the brand new day would bring nothing good at all.

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

High overhead ravens circled, and looked, and thought not yet, and soared away.
===

“You wanted to know the story.” “I got most of it,” Reacher said. “I got to the part where it ends about twenty miles before the road runs out.”
===

That’s the hall of fame right there. You could put that on your tombstone. She led her soldiers well. An infantry officer couldn’t hear finer words than those.
===

They’re shrinks. You said so yourself. They overcomplicate things. If you hear hoof beats, you look for horses, not zebras.
===

He took scissors from his glove box, and he cut a quarter-inch strip off the patch, and he slipped it under his tongue. Sublingual, it was called. Another magazine in the same salon said it was the best method of all.

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t
teamfreak16
Jun 04, 2019

Having himself graduated from West Point, Jack Reacher understands just what it takes to earn the right to buy a class ring there. It's not something that you part with on a whim. So when he sees one in a Wisconsin pawn shop window, small, female, he buys it and sets out to locate the original owner.

A former military policeman turned drifter, Reacher uses his investigative skills and resourcefulness, soon finding himself in Wyoming, working alongside not only a highly priced private investigator who specializes in missing persons, but also the woman paying the PI. A competent Sioux Falls detective and a Denver-based DEA agent also have a vested interest in Reacher's search.

While I would have enjoyed a little more violence - Reacher does dish out a bit of his personal brand of persuasion, but it seemed like less than normal - I found the "detective " aspect fun as Reacher works his way towards a woman who really doesn't want to be found.

Personally, I really liked this one.

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