THE MIDNIGHT LINE by Lee Child
Some authors work so hard at creating plots you can almost see the veins popping out on their foreheads. Others are so slap happy about it that they just let it wander off in a thousand different directions and never get them connected at all. But Lee Child is the master of plotting. He fixes on an item or situation at the very start and lets it take the reader where it leads, but he always stays in control. This is shown perfectly in his new novel THE MIDNIGHT LINE.
In this book Child’s main character Jack Reacher hops a bus, picked just because it is the next one leaving. He arrives at a town and passes by a pawn shop. In the window he spots a 2005 West Point ring. He purchases the ring with the intent of giving it back to its rightful owner. A West Point graduate himself he knows how much it would take to make someone give up such a ring.
From this seemingly innocuous purchase a whole book full of action and adventure ensues. It all flows naturally and nothing is forced or added as filler. It is a completely intact novel that tells its story completely and in the proper time and manner. At the center of it all is Reacher, a “bigfoot” of a man who thinks out most of his actions in advance and then puts them into motion. However he does make errors, and that just makes him more human.
In this book Reacher has more developed relationships of the casual kind than in previous novels. Or maybe it is just that the people he meets in this story tap into varying parts of his personality. He stumbles upon a private investigator looking for a missing person. His employer is a woman who has lost contact with her identical twin. Reacher joins with them to hunt for the woman who has a record of heroism, but might be facing more danger than she can handle.
This is Child’s most emotional book to date. There are issues concerning family loyalty, wounded veterans, disfigurement, the opioid explosion, and the habits of drug dealers. This is also a violent book. People fight, people are harmed, and people die. Sometimes it is the good guys and sometimes the bad. Most of the time Reacher is at the center of the turbulence.
Lee Child has always been a good, solid writer but in this book he explores his talents with a lot more depth. This is not just a good story; it is a story wth a purpose and a message. When all of the salient points have been made and all mysteries have been solved, it ends. And as he ends his story you end your reading experience with satisfaction.
THE MIDNIGHT LINE is published by Delacourte Press. It contains 3284 pages and sells for $28.99.
Jackie K Cooper