Review: The Midnight Line – Lee Child

The Midnight Line Lee ChildSeries: Jack Reacher 22

My version: Paperback
Genre: Fiction Action
Transworld (Penguin Random House)
First published: 2017

From the cover:

Jack Reacher is having a bad day. It would be a dumb idea to make it worse.

Reacher sees a West Point class ring in a pawn shop window. It’s tiny. It’s a woman cadet’s graduation present to herself. Why would she give it up? Reacher was a West Pointer too, and he knows what she went through to get it.

All he wants is to find the woman.

He’ll have to go through bikers, cops, crooks and low-life muscle. If she’s ok, he’ll walk away. If she’s not…he’ll stop at nothing.

Best advice: Stay out of his way.

I suppose, if you’ve got nothing better to do, nothing at all to do, then getting yourself all hot and bothered by seeing a ring in a Pawn shop window and deciding what the hell, I’ll try and find the person it belonged to…may seem like a good idea. That’s what Lee Child is hoping to do here, papering over a very, very thin starting off plot line.

From there on, it’s pretty formulaic. The formula Lee Child originated for Jack Reacher books and one, his readers and especially his publishers I imagine, have no qualms with him continuing with as long as possible. As long as it isn’t broken, it’s not needing fixing. I don’t suppose you buy a Lee Child – he is synonymous with Jack Reacher, it’s not as if he writes other types of books, even under a pen name – then you know what you’re getting and you buy it to get what you know is coming. It’s wrong to criticise these books on any other level than – do they deliver the Reacher we know and love, in the way we’ve become accustomed? It does. There could be a few less small towns clearly beyond the normal, country wide, rule of law and order the ‘we do things different down here, boy’ kind of place. This is basically a bigger, more metropolitan version of the small town, out of the way, run by an evil millionaire and a crooked Sherif that have featured so often in Reacher books.

One Shot Lee Child Tom CruiseThere are weak points, but in a way, the weakest – why does Reacher set off on his search – is recognised by Child and whilst not played upon, at least made obvious that there is no real reason. Just that he did. Fair enough. What he does play on, and clearly is/was linked to his recent comments about ‘taking back’ control of the the film/TV franchise aspect, is Reacher’s size. Obviously, that’s due to the dissatisfaction, amongst Reacher fans, anyone who has read a Reacher book, and it seems, Lee Child himself, over Tom Cruise’s height, or lack thereof. Here, Reacher is described, physically, many times, large hands, well over 6 foot, huge in build. He dominates opponents and other characters physically, looks down on them, looks over them, etc. He is described, by those he comes up against, as like Big Foot come down from the mountain, and other descriptions playing on his size and height. So Child is getting us softened up for someone a little taller playing Reacher in any future incarnations. I can’t tell if Child is suggesting he had reservations about Tom Cruise being cast, he perhaps can’t without also suggesting that he was cast, for the money he perhaps offered to play Reacher and the obvious large amounts of money a film with Tom Cruise as Reacher would bring in.

All in all, it’s another decent Jack Reacher, not astoundingly good, but delivers all you want a Jack Reacher book should deliver to tide you over the rest of the year before a new one comes out.

You can buy The Midnight Line from The Book Depository

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