I am about to type words that I never thought could be extracted from me. These words, to paraphrase President Roosevelt, will live in infamy, and I am sorry! I DIDN’T LIKE THIS BOOK! Please understand, I am a fan of Lee Child. He is my hero. He created and maintains Jack Reacher. I am like thousands of readers around the world, we all love Lee Child, but he bit the big one on this novel. Mr. Child has produced twenty-one Jack Reacher novels. A Vegas gambler would tell you that the odds are that there would be one that I didn’t like; a ratio of 21:1. But as a major Child fan, that isn’t a good enough reason why I didn’t like The Midnight Line.
The Midnight Line fell from favor because my most favorite author in the world spent most of the 368 pages getting to the story, which inhabited only about the last dozen pages. Child had Reacher go on endless sorties into towns, villages, and log cabins. He described in detail the act of climbing a stair, which did not step the story closer to the action. When he got to that, the event was also a bit flat and could have benefited from a lift, stairs or otherwise! It offends my sense of right and wrong and somewhat unfair to criticize a person’s work without stating the reasoning it was deemed inferior to his prior works. So, in fairness, let me identify those puny portions postulated on the populace.
The story begins with an interesting, albeit improbable, premise but let’s go with a suspension of disbelief for the moment. Walking down a street of the current town in which Reacher finds himself marooned, he passes a pawn shop window and spies a ring. But not just a ring, a West Point Class Ring. All Reacher fans understand that The United States Military Academy(USMA), is also known as West Point, the Army’s elite military academy located in West Point, New York. This ring is a woman’s ring, and Reacher is both surprised and a bit offended that it resides in a pawn shop. So what do you suppose he does? Of course, he pawns (read buys) the ring and decides to return it to the rightfully West Point graduate to whom it belongs. Now, you might reasonably imagine how difficult a search like that would be. And it is. Lee Child does an amazing job of taking Reacher from place to place; to town, village, hamlet, and burg, in the righteous quest to find the owner of the ring.