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Jack Reacher #22

The Midnight Line

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Jack Reacher takes an aimless stroll past a pawn shop in a small Midwestern town. In the window he sees a West Point class ring from 2005. It’s tiny. It’s a woman cadet’s graduation present to herself. Why would she give it up? Reacher’s a West Pointer too, and he knows what she went through to get it.

Reacher tracks the ring back to its owner, step by step, down a criminal trail leading west. Like Big Foot come out of the forest, he arrives in the deserted wilds of Wyoming. All he wants is to find the woman. If she’s OK, he’ll walk away. If she’s not … he’ll stop at nothing.

He’s still shaken by the recent horrors of Make Me, and now The Midnight Line sees him set on a raw and elemental quest for simple justice. Best advice: don’t get in his way.

391 pages, Paperback

First published November 7, 2017

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About the author

Lee Child

461 books28.5k followers
Lee Child was born October 29th, 1954 in Coventry, England, but spent his formative years in the nearby city of Birmingham. By coincidence he won a scholarship to the same high school that JRR Tolkien had attended. He went to law school in Sheffield, England, and after part-time work in the theater he joined Granada Television in Manchester for what turned out to be an eighteen-year career as a presentation director during British TV's "golden age." During his tenure his company made Brideshead Revisited, The Jewel in the Crown, Prime Suspect, and Cracker. But he was fired in 1995 at the age of 40 as a result of corporate restructuring. Always a voracious reader, he decided to see an opportunity where others might have seen a crisis and bought six dollars' worth of paper and pencils and sat down to write a book, Killing Floor, the first in the Jack Reacher series.

Killing Floor was an immediate success and launched the series which has grown in sales and impact with every new installment. The first Jack Reacher movie, based on the novel One Shot and starring Tom Cruise and Rosamund Pike, was released in December 2012.

Lee has three homes—an apartment in Manhattan, a country house in the south of France, and whatever airplane cabin he happens to be in while traveling between the two. In the US he drives a supercharged Jaguar, which was built in Jaguar's Browns Lane plant, thirty yards from the hospital in which he was born.

Lee spends his spare time reading, listening to music, and watching the Yankees, Aston Villa, or Marseilles soccer. He is married with a grown-up daughter. He is tall and slim, despite an appalling diet and a refusal to exercise.

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27,557 (37%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,004 reviews
Profile Image for Ace.
431 reviews23 followers
November 11, 2017
Jack Reacher. You could call him Bigfoot. You could call him The Hulk. But you could never call him Tom Cruise.
Profile Image for Tim.
2,110 reviews193 followers
January 9, 2021
There once was a character named Reacher
Who whupped on bad dudes like a creature
Now Reacher's a shell of his once former self
With writing so lame, so timid, so tame
Jack's damn near a pacifist preacher.

Child loves to bore us with lists
And gives Reacher chickens for fists
His glory days are done
Reacher's no longer fun
He should just amble off in the mist. (Teri Pre)

I read what you wrote it was good
Compact and concise, understood
Too bad Child cannot see
Jack stumble so miserably
He'd write better if only he could.

0 of 10 stars!
Profile Image for Matt.
3,671 reviews12.8k followers
November 29, 2017
Lee Child is back with the twenty-second high-impact Jack Reacher novel that pulls on various aspects of current affairs, while addressing some large tears in the military fabric of the United States. While strolling through a Wisconsin town, Reacher comes across a petite West Point ring from the graduating class of 2005. With little on his plate and nothing to lose, Reacher begins asking questions, in hopes of returning the ring to its rightful owner. Reacher discovers that there is a fencing operation going on that traces back to South Dakota and so a mid-length bus ride takes Reacher to the heart of the matter. In South Dakota, Reacher makes quite the impression with the local law enforcement community, but learns that there are larger fish to fry in the vast western expanse. Like the dedicated Army MP he was, Reacher follows the trail to Wyoming, where he begins a search for Serena Rose Sanderson, the rightful owner of the ring. It is there that Reacher discovers that the fencing was only a cover for a much-more lucrative trade, one in which people will get rid of whatever they can to procure something even more valuable, especially to a wounded veteran with little hope of a constructive future. A former FBI agent temporarily clashes with Reacher, sent by Sanderson’s twin sister to locate her, and the case takes a definite turn for the worse. After the dust settles, the additional news gives Reacher a chance to make some fundamental suppositions, which bring light to the larger issue at hand. Finding Sanderson is only the first step in a larger operation that was unveiled when Reacher started feeding his curiosity. Now that he’s hip-deep, he’ll have to see it through, before moseying on to his next personal port of call! Child is back, adding another chronologically-sound novel to the series and keeping Reacher fans pleased with the outcome. Perfect for dedicated series fans and those who like a slightly off-kilter thriller.

I have come to love seeing the announcement that a new Jack Reacher novel is coming off the presses. While Lee Child has had to struggle with some less than stellar novels, he redeems himself here. Reacher is that ever-loved vagabond who finds something to pique his interest in the oddest of places. Child’s constant evolution of the Reacher character is what makes the reader more drawn to the protagonist, pulling on an eclectic past and adding a significant amount of his unique style. Reacher wants nothing more than to let the world lead him, but when he’s found something of interest, nothing can dissuade him from wanting to get to the root of it. The cast of secondary characters are always complementary to Reacher and the story’s twists.The ever-changing group allows novels to remain unique and unpredictable. Turning to the story itself, what seemed like a simple ring return became quite the issue below the surface. Child is able to pull pieces from the news and integrate them into his novels, addressing concerns or perspectives that might force the reader to think a little more. Reacher is usually open-minded, so there is less a soapbox aspect to things than a synthesising of sentiments. Of course, when the US Military plays a role, Reacher has a strong opinion and does not hold back. This is an interesting aspect of the character and Child’s story presentation. Military veterans play a strong theme in many Reacher novels, particularly how they are treated. While I am not well-versed in this area, I can respect much of what Child, through Reacher, has to say about them and how the central plot of this book draws notice to the issue that has been exacerbated by post-tour abandonment of soldiers in some regards. Forcing the reader to think and process makes for a wonderful novel and creates much discussion, which I always enjoy.

Kudos, Mr. Child, for this lovely addition to the series. Jack Reacher lives on, strong and dedicated to the final sentence.

Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Profile Image for Susan.
1,062 reviews200 followers
September 12, 2017
This is one of the best Jack Reacher books ever. It's not even in comparison to the last two so-so books. It is simply one of the best and has everything in it that has made us fall in love with Reacher and follow the 6'5", 250 pound former military policeman who ambles across America with no real destination or goal in mind. He travels lightly with only a toothbrush and buys his clothes at thrift stores rather than launder him. He has that American wanderlust that has led to the settlement of our country.

Reacher wanders by a pawn shop in a small town in Wisconsin and notices a West Point Academy ring. What stands out is how small it is. It is a woman's ring. Reacher knows what has gone into getting that ring and wonders what hard times have befallen a veteran that they would pawn a ring paid for in blood, sweat and tears. So he decides to find her and see if he can help. It's as simple and complex as that.

He follows the ring through South Dakota and into the wilderness of Wyoming. He comes to a bump in the road called Mules Crossing that consists of a fireworks store and a flea market. Houses are 5-10 miles apart and people are isolated. They think nothing of driving an hour to get groceries. What really surprised me is that Child is an Englishman who now lives in NYC and yet he so perfectly captures that isolated life and geography of rural Wyoming that you would think he grew up there.

There are stories of veterans who return home from the Wars and how they are treated that would break your heart. Used and discarded to live a life of pain with little or no support, they struggle to maintain. They often feel like outsiders and end up in places so far off the map that it's hard to find them. As Reacher is a vet, he understands the struggle and sets off on his mission- to find the owner of that ring who was desperate as to pawn her West Point ring.

This was really a touching book that just reminded me why I got hooked on this series in the first place. I read it in two days as I couldn't put it down. This is a must read for fans and a book that can get you hooked if you haven't read him before.
Profile Image for Bibi.
1,282 reviews3,315 followers
February 27, 2018
The year is 1997, Heathrow terminal 4, and by some luck I bought, Killing Floor, the riveting and action-packed start to the JR series and now, 20 years and 22 books on with the latest being The Midnight Line, I mourn the loss of the real and enigmatic JR.

In all honesty, I think I've outgrown this character or perhaps the central premise of a nomad-like hero who lives free from any and all encumbrance seems implausible in this digital era amid a growing security and terrorism war.

The Midnight Line starts off with Reacher walking down a random street, window watching for nothing in particular until his eye caught on a West Point class ring-- in a pawn shop--that seems incongruous to the setting: How did it get there and to whom does it belong? Reacher automatically and rightly assumes something sinister is afoot and we are then taken on a journey for the discovery of the owner of this petite-sized ring.

You know the most infuriating thing isn't the deus ex machina plot premise, no. What I found tough to take was the blatant manipulation of the characters as well as the plot arc in order to fit the message into context. I won't go into details as not to spoil but I will acknowledge that yes, the underpinning message of this narrative is important and yes, increased awareness is vital, but the rather oblique manner of getting to it was flagrant and a bit manipulative. It didn't help that I kept envisioning Clint Eastwood as Reacher, seeing as how Reacher must be a 100 years old or something of such.

All in all, a book to never read again, unlike the other serials in this series some of which I've read often enough to render dog-eared (here's looking at you Bad Luck and Trouble)
Profile Image for Paula K (on hiatus).
414 reviews424 followers
January 28, 2018
The Midnight Line is all about honor. Jack Reacher comes upon a West Point ring in a pawn shop and wants to return it to it’s owner. The book is set in the wide open Midwest and Lee Child makes you feel as if you are there. The dialogue is smart and very entertaining. Terrific repertoire.

The series usually has one intelligent woman involved in Reacher’s story, but this time there are three: a wounded West Point grad, her sister, and a local detective.

I read all the Reacher books and love them all. I really enjoy how Reacher values intelligent women and treats them so well.

Highly recommend.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,161 reviews2,010 followers
December 25, 2017
I really enjoyed this twenty second outing with Jack Reacher. It started out smart and funny and developed into an excellent story.

Of course Jack's latest girlfriend from the last book disappeared instantly. Not surprising really since he doesn't own a suitcase let alone a house. Not good relationship material. Good story material though which of course is why we all keep reading him:)

Basically a brilliant way of passing a few hours without overtaxing the brain. One star off for a poor ending. A clothes dryer, seriously?

Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,543 reviews24.6k followers
October 19, 2020
I listened to this on audio, this is not a series I have read but I was looking for something light which I thought this might be. There was plenty of action and a story triggered by Reacher discovering a West Point ring in a pawn shop, which he decides to find the owner of and return. It was great but my interest sagged for a long time in the middle, but I loved the character of Sanderson, her plight, highlighted even more with the presence of her beautiful twin. The novel draws attention to the issue of drugs addiction among the injured military which I thought as important and necessary.
Profile Image for Dorie  - Cats&Books :) .
977 reviews2,662 followers
November 15, 2017
Before I get any fans upset about my review, a three star from me denotes a good book. So that stated I will say I know this series has millions of fans who would probably read a grocery list written by Mr. Child. My husband is a fan and we thought we’d have a little buddy read. He has read all of the Jack Reacher books so he filled me in on the background of the character as I didn’t think there would be much in this book describing Jack since it’s the 22nd book (that’s just crazy) in the series. I went into this just looking for a fun entertaining read.

As you all know from the blurb Jack finds a female sized West Point ring in a pawn shop window and is interested. He is a graduate and knows what anyone has to go through to be able to wear that ring. What could make this woman so desperate that she would pawn her ring? How and from whom does the owner of this pawn shop get his goods? He finally gives Reacher a name, Jimmy Rat and he starts his new quest.

The first third of the book was so slow moving I nearly gave up reading it, but I was becoming interested to find out who the owner of the ring was. There is so much dialogue devoted to an altercation with bikers in a small midwestern town that it actually made me laugh. I counted fifteen pages as he knocked all seven of them out, one by one, example “He waited until they were five feet away and then he launched hard and smashed through the line with a horizontal elbow in his first target’s face and then he turned immediately and launched again, no delay at all, stamping his foot to kill the old momentum and get some new, scything his elbow at the guy to the right of the sudden new gap, who turned straight into it, facing front with all kinds of urgency, meeting the blow like a head-on wreck on the highway. Two down.” I won’t go through the rest of the five.

Once Jack finds what he thinks is the beginning of the supply line for the pawn shop we are introduced to Gloria Nakamura, a detective in the Rapid City Crimes Against Property unit. She has been on the trail of Arthur Scorpio whom she believes is smuggling stolen narcotics, mainly Oxycodone and Fentanyl patches, pharmaceutical grade and usually hard to get as it is closely monitored. Reacher also finds Gloria and they strike up a friendship with a give and take decision on information found on Mr. Scorpio and the smuggling line of supply.

Jack’s quest will lead him finally to Mule Crossing Wyoming, a barely existent town where lots has been going on and not legally. We find the owner of the ring and her character is very interesting and extremely sad. Five tours of duty in Iraq, honorably discharged with a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. From the Purple Heart Jack is quite sure that she was seriously injured in the war. Her story is tragic and it is this part of the book that I found eye opening and pertinent to our times. I know that veterans in this country often don’t get a fair deal, they aren’t truly compensated for what they did and those that are emotionally and physically wounded often are left with little or no support. Many times left to turn to alcohol and drugs in an attempt to heal themselves.

There are some interesting characters in this book. Terrence Bramall a very likable PI who is very invested in finding his client’s missing twin sister. I would have liked to have known more about him. MacKenzie is Rose Sanderson’s (the owner of the ring) sister and hasn’t heard from Rose in about a year and is very concerned about her welfare. Further into the story she flies into town and joins the others in their search for the narcotics smugglers.

When my Kindle hit 73% the action started happening and I was in a happier place. By then I knew the plot, the characters and the plan. I enjoyed the last quarter of the book. Had the rest of the book been as interesting this could easily have been a 4 or 5 star read. There was just too much time wasted on all of the conversations while hitchhiking and all of the pages of descriptive fighting. I know now why people like the series because every “quest” is different and addresses different issues. Reacher is a kind of adult super hero traveling with just his toothbrush on the lookout for injustice.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher and NetGalley.
Profile Image for James Thane.
Author 8 books6,910 followers
March 26, 2022
This is another very good entry in the Jack Reacher series. By now the formula is fairly well set, and as this book opens, Reacher is strolling through a small town in Wisconsin. Looking into the window of a pawnshop, he happens to notice in the display a class ring from West Point. Such a ring is very hard to earn and Reacher wonders why someone might pawn one.

His curiosity aroused, Reacher buys the ring and attempts to trace it back to its original owner, a task that will be much easier said than done. It's a small ring, and Reacher concludes that the original owner was a woman. Engraved in the ring are the initials S.R.S., and the year 2005, suggesting that the woman graduated just in time to serve in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other such troubled and dangerous places.

The pawnshop owner initially refuses to tell Reacher where he got the ring, but when Jack Reacher is looking for information, it's generally a bad idea not to provide it. The guy ultimately tells Reacher that he bought the ring, with a bunch of other jewelry, from a biker.

Initially, the biker is no more cooperative than the guy in the pawnshop. (Will these people never learn?) But eventually, Reacher winds up tracing the ring from Wisconsin to Rapid City, South Dakota, and from there to the Middle of Nowhere in Wyoming. The further he gets into this quest, the more difficult and dark the mystery becomes.

As is often the case, Reacher finds himself touring through the underbelly of the country, and it's not a pretty picture. Mixed in and around a very good mystery, this book has some fairly sad things to say about the contemporary United States. As always, though, it's a very engaging and exciting story, populated by some interesting characters and some great settings, and it gives Reacher a lot of opportunities to be the Jack Reacher we all know and love.

As a side note, early in the book, one of the characters describes Reacher as "Bigfoot," and the name follows him through the story. It's not exactly the image one would conjure up thinking of Tom Cruise, and one wonders what, if anything, the author might be insinuating by doing this so deliberately.

I always look forward to the summer because it means that I will have a new Reacher novel to read and now I'm already looking forward to next year's book.
Profile Image for Paul Falk.
Author 9 books128 followers
November 15, 2017
For the 22nd time, Lee Child's creation of Jack Reacher, came rip-roaring back to life onto the streets, alleyways and bars. Right at home. Although getting a little played out, I'm still captivated by the life of the fifty-something year-old wandering nomad - American Hero. The main draw of this popular character-driven narrative. At the drop of a hat, he went whenever and wherever the wind blew. Sounds like retirement. Although I can't say much for his choice of lifestyle. No suitcase, a toothbrush. Every few days an exchange of new clothes for old. Stays in hotels if convenient. Must be rolling in dough. This well-written installment could pass muster as a stand-alone. Essentially, he's an open book. It's all spelled out as the storyline progresses. Having read all the previous editions - same old, same old. Hooked for life.

Another romance gone bust. The place - Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Another woman fell victim to the Reacher curse. Couldn't wrap her head around his aimless, rambling lifestyle. Nothing new there. So he resorted to his usual standby. Headed out on the first bus to anywhere, USA. So long Milwaukee.

Destiny was about to march in. At a rest stop along the way, he got off to stretch his legs. He stumbled upon a pawn shop whereupon he spied a 2005 West Point ring. His alma mater. Engraved with the initials S.R.S. it was tiny. Most likely belonged to a woman. He knew from past experience she would have had to endure hell to graduate from the academy. Figured the ring would be one of the last things she'd ever sell. Intrigued, he bought it for forty bucks. Reacher wanted to find her. Just talk to her. The elementary plot is born.

When questioned, the pawn shop owner said the ring had been purchased from Jimmy Rat. Gotta love the name. Member of a local motorcycle gang. Predictably, it was time to pay Jimmy a visit. He and his buddies were at a bar. As expected, Reacher was not welcomed with open arms. It didn't take the aging Bone Crusher long to find some heads to crack. Seven total. All at the same time. Actually one right after another. Like factory work. Reacher walked away without a scratch. Miraculous. Just another walk in the park. For someone never looking for trouble, it surely seemed to find him frequently. The bus pulled away.

What first started off as idle curiosity as to the provenance of a ring, turned into a manhunt throughout the Midwest. The storyline collided with many twists and turns. It was a whole new ballgame now. The stakes had been raised. What Reacher discovered was much more than what he had bargained for. A deadly one. Never one to back down. Hope for the best - plan for the worst.
Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,035 reviews569 followers
October 27, 2020
I’d taken a brief sojourn from the Reacher books. For a while they’d felt samey and contrived. The big man was also starting to feel way too predictable with his habits, his and his incessant coffee drinking and the like. And not only that, the stories were now clearly formulaic and, frankly, dull. But then a friend lent me this book and I was glad to have it, pleased to be meeting up with the modern day knight errant again.

This time he’s in Wyoming, a state bigger than the United Kingdom but with a population less than 1% of that in the UK. Yes, there are lots of wide open spaces and empty roads here. Reacher has found a class ring in a pawn shop window, it’s a West Point ring – an establishment he’d also attended. The ring has initials engraved on it and it’s dated: 2005. He now knows that his next mission will be to track down the original owner of the ring, for surely she (it’s a small ring, definitely a woman) must have fallen on hard times to have disposed of such an item.

The setting lends itself perfectly to the type of story Lee Child likes to tell. There are not many people about, so he can keep the cast small, and the geography is simple – the empty roads, a small town and not much else – and this means he can allow Reacher free rein with little interference into his movements or his actions.

The characters we are introduced to are a mixed and interesting bunch and the story does have the compelling draw that such a crusade can have on me (a bit like a reading a Dan Brown novel but without the hyperbole). Is it all wrapped up a little too neatly in the end? Perhaps. But I confess I enjoyed it and was a little sad when it ended. I’d missed Jack Reacher. It was good to have him back.
Profile Image for Lisa.
610 reviews232 followers
June 23, 2018
The Midnight Line
Jack Reacher #22
Lee Child

An immensely satisfying and emotional journey with America’s giant hero, Jack Reacher and his tooth brush.


Reacher is off to another unknown destination when sees a 2005 West Point class ring in the window of a pawnshop in a small town in Wisconsin. It’s a small ring, made for a woman and has a black stone in the middle. Some initials are engraved inside the ring. Reacher ponders what circumstances could possible make a West Pointer give up a ring they had worked so hard for. The year 2005 was a tough one for graduates: Iraq and then Afghanistan. Reacher wants to know the story and decides to find the woman and return her ring. Reacher’s journey takes him through the upper Midwest where he encounters bikers, cops, crooks, muscle and a private investigator. The further Reacher digs and the more he learns, the more dangerous the journey becomes.

“We have to make decisions fast here. We can’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.”

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

I have been a huge Jack no middle name Reacher fan since he got off the bus and walked into Margrave, Georgia. The thing I like most about Reacher is his uncanny strategic capability, always thinking of all possible options and outcomes. He is three steps ahead of everyone. It must be his West Point training. His adventures are always entertaining and intense and THE MIDNIGHT LINE is no different. It is another first rate journey with Big Foot, er, I mean Reacher. LEE CHILD’s writing is wonderfully descriptive and the dialog is amusing. And of course six-foot-five Reacher, gets into a fight or two...he has to do something with those “chicken-sized” fists. What is different about this book is the emotional pull of finding the woman who gave up her ring. Reacher’s journey takes us from Wisconsin to a laundromat in South Dakota to the remote corner of Wyoming. It’s a good place to be if you don’t want any neighbors close by. Overall, it’s a perfect blend of characters, setting and story. I listened to the Audible version, and it’s good, but I am not a huge fan of Dick Hill’s voice for Jack Reacher. It’s like the Tom Cruise thing, I just don’t hear him like that.
Publisher Random House Audio
Publication November 7, 2017
Narrator Dick Hill

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

Profile Image for Bibi.
1,282 reviews3,315 followers
February 24, 2018
The year is 1997, Heathrow terminal 4, and by some luck I bought, Killing Floor, the riveting and action-packed start to the JR series and now, 20 years and 22 books on with the latest being The Midnight Line, I mourn the loss of the real and enigmatic JR.

In all honesty, I think I've outgrown this character or perhaps the central premise of a nomad-like hero who lives free from any and all encumbrance seems implausible in this digital era amid a growing security and terrorism war.

The Midnight Line starts off with Reacher walking down a random street, window watching for nothing in particular until his eye caught on a West Point class ring-- in a pawn shop--that seems incongruous to the setting: How did it get there and to whom does it belong? Reacher automatically and rightly assumes something sinister is afoot and we are then taken on a journey for the discovery of the owner of this petite-sized ring.

You know the most infuriating thing isn't the deus ex machina plot premise, no. What I found tough to take was the blatant manipulation of the characters as well as the plot arc in order to fit the message into context. I won't go into details as not to spoil but I will acknowledge that yes, the underpinning message of this narrative is important and yes, increased awareness is vital, but, the rather oblique manner of getting to it was flagrant and a bit manipulative. It didn't help that I kept envisioning Clint Eastwood as Reacher, seeing as how Reacher must be a 100 years old or something of such.

All in all, a book to never read again, unlike the other serials in this series some of which I've read often enough to render dog-eared (here's looking at you Bad Luck and Trouble)
Profile Image for Bharath.
569 reviews433 followers
September 13, 2018
Jack Reacher novels are always great to relax with. He is a character who keeps the book going quickly – however implausible some of the stuff he does is. This book follows the trend, though I personally found the story to be somewhat weak in comparison to many other Jack Reacher novels.

Jack Reacher is wandering around the country – with nothing except a toothbrush, as he always does. He comes across a West Point ring with the initials S.R.S engraved in a pawn shop. A ring obtained after much effort and achievement – why would anyone give it up. Reacher aborts his journey and decides he will follow the trail – if the owner is ok, the search ends.

He follows the trail which leads him to suspected drug dealers. He runs into Arthur Scorpio who is already under observation by the local cops – particularly one Gloria Nakamura. The trail then leads him to Mule Crossing, Wyoming – a place very sparsely populated. He discovers that the owner of the ring is one of twin sisters. Her twin is worried as well and has engaged a private investigator – Terrence Bramall, and all of them meet in Wyoming.

The story then moves to Reacher searching for the twin sister Rose Sanderson and finding out what has happened to her.

While I am a Jack Reacher fan, have to say that the story had far greater potential. It is still a good read - as all Jack Reacher novels are.

My rating: 3.5 / 5
Profile Image for Brenda.
725 reviews150 followers
December 12, 2017
As a long time Reacher Creature, I went into this book blind. My only expectation was that Reacher would get himself into a situation, and he did. This is a good one. Very enjoyable.
Profile Image for Jim.
551 reviews83 followers
January 13, 2018
I would like to start off by indicating that 3 stars means that I liked the book. I have read all of the books in this series so when I saw there was a new Jack Reacher book being released I wanted to read it. I am not sure how old Reacher is supposed to be but he is still hitchhiking and taking the bus carrying only a toothbrush. I cannot remember the last time I saw a hitchhiker. Where Lee Child really gets ridiculous is in describing Reacher as having hands the size of a supermarket chicken and like Bigfoot or The Incredible Hulk. Of course he still gets into fights and can beat up six guys without anybody laying a hand on him. About the only thing more ridiculous would be casting Tom Cruise to play the part of Jack Reacher.

What I found compelling and what set this apart was it was a story of the servicemen and women who have come home with life changing wounds. Too often they do not get the support they need and develop dependency on drugs or alcohol. I am sure the Veterans Administration does the best it can and that it does help many veterans but there are too many walking wounded. In this story veteran Reacher tracks down a missing servicewoman who served five tours.

When the latest women in his life, Michelle Chang, leaves him Reacher does what he always does. Climbs on the first bus leaving. It doesn't matter where it is going. His rule is it is the first bus leaving. In this case the bus is heading to Wisconsin. At a rest stop Reacher is taking a walk when he comes to a pawn shop and pauses to look in the window. There he sees a class ring. A West Point 2005 class ring. A woman's ring. He wonders how and why this ring was pawned. The owner would have worked hard for four years to earn that ring. What circumstances would make her give it up. He decides to find out.

His investigation leads him from Wisconsin to South Dakota to Wyoming. And he discovers a multi state criminal enterprise that feeds on desperate people with a dependency so deep that they will give up anything and everything. At times depressing and full of despair. Thankfully Reacher comes to the rescue.

Lee Child may be turning Jack Reacher into a comic book character but there is an important message in this story. Overall a good thriller novel. Hopefully if there is another Jack Reacher novel Lee Child will not include descriptions like "hands the size of a supermarket chicken".
Profile Image for Rob.
511 reviews103 followers
April 6, 2021
Book 22 in the Jack Reacher series published 2017.

A well deserved 4 stars.

This is Jack Reacher as we all know him.
The righter of wrongs, the rescuer of damsels in distress and the one guy you most definitely do not want to tangle with.
Some would say that it’s just more of the same but for me it’s still entertainment plus.

Jack Reacher books are unabashed thrillers, designed to get your adrenalin pumping and your fingers flicking pages as fast as possible. But every now and again Lee Child gives us a moral issue to ponder as is the case here.
The issue concerns people who become addicted to prescription drugs.
Many of theses drugs are opiates, designed to help patients manage the trauma of sever pain. The need for these drugs is various, car crashes, cancer, industrial accidents and war injuries, the list goes on. The problem arrives when the prescribing doctor decides enough is enough and stops the medication. The problem for the patient is they are now addicts and need the drugs for a very different reason.
The reality for most of these people is that they look to other sources for their drugs, other sources being drug dealers.

Without giving too much away, an ex US army vet who suffered severe facial injuries whilst on patrol is given opiate drugs to help with the pain and of course after a while the army said “that’s enough” and stops the supply. The vet who is still suffering very real pain turns, in desperation, to a drug dealer. The dealer is now in control. He decides what, when and how much the vet gets and pays.

As usual, by pure happenstance, Jack finds himself in the wrong place at the right time and some bad ass locals are on the receiving end of Jack’s fists.
If Jack loves anything, it’s a mission and this one takes him to the wilds of Wyoming.
Where a lot of bad ass drug pushers are going to be very sorry that they took up drug dealing as a profession.

This is a thrilling thriller with a lot to ruminate on.

Profile Image for Brenda.
4,028 reviews2,628 followers
March 23, 2018
When the bus made a rest stop, Reacher stretched his legs for a time. The stroll past the pawn shop would change his destination and change his future. Because the small, delicate ring in the window was an engraved West Point class ring from 2005 and Reacher knew no one who worked that hard would give it up. So he would take the ring and follow the trail back to its owner…

Reacher found himself following criminals – from one step to another. But would it lead him to the woman? And was she alright? Or not? His determination to find her one way or another kept him going right through to Wyoming. Was that where he’d find answers?

The Midnight Line is the 22nd in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child, and another fast paced, gritty thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed. I love this series and look forward to each one as it’s released. Looking forward to #23 now 😊
Profile Image for Monnie.
1,384 reviews761 followers
November 16, 2017
By now - the 22nd book in the series - Jack Reacher seems like an old friend. And like most old friends, he's welcome to visit my home any time he wants. Thankfully, though, he's not the real deal and I don't need to feed him; at 6 feet 5 and not far from 300 pounds, this former West Pointer wouldn't make it much beyond breakfast on what we've got in our fridge.

Speaking of West Point, the academy provides the impetus for this story. On his way to nowhere in particular from a short stretch in Hawaii at the end of summer, Reacher ends up on the shores of Lake Superior. In a small town there, he stops at a pawn shop and finds a ladies' West Point class ring from 2005 - with a price tag of 40 bucks. Given all that the owner went through to get that ring, Reacher figures she didn't relinquish it under normal circumstances. So, he makes it his mission to track her down and, if she's still alive, return it.

Turns out, though, that she wasn't the one who brought it to the pawn shop; a few physical encounters later (Reacher 1, bad guys 0), all Reacher can get is the name of the man who did. That trail winds its way to Rapid City, Iowa, and a man named Arthur Scorpio - a guy the local cops and feds have been trying, so far unsuccessfully, to put behind bars. He owns a laundromat with a suspicious back room, but despite stakeouts by local law enforcement like Detective Gloria Nakamura, enough evidence to get a search warrant hasn't turned up.

As an aside, Scorpio's colorful description is an example of one of the reasons I love these books: He was, "Maybe six feet two. Maybe a hundred and sixty pounds. But only if he had a dollar's worth of pennies in his pocket."

Eventually, Reacher manages to learn the name and background of the woman he's searching for. That in turn leads him to a close relative and former FBI guy Terrence Bramall, who's now a private investigator. They end up in remote Wyoming, where of course Reacher and Bramall find themselves on the receiving end of even more physical encounters (hey, that's another reason I love these books). The rest of the story isn't pretty (figuratively and literally), and it also puts a spotlight on issues facing way too many returning U.S. veterans. No doubt that's a big part of the point; the book is dedicated to Purple Heart recipients.

That's about all I can say without revealing too much, although as usual, Reacher's considerable survival and intuitive skills get a good workout. The story seems a bit darker than some of the others, but everything gets resolved at the end. That is, perhaps for one thing: Did that person who got tied up in Scorpio's back room ever get out? Inquiring minds would love to know.
Profile Image for Alan Cotterell.
500 reviews165 followers
October 29, 2019
Having read from book 1 to 20, they were becoming a bit so-so. I had left the series for a while, fortunately I found a copy of this and thought give it another go. I am glad to say Lee Child is back in the game and Reacher is back to form! This starts off well and is very good until about 70%, where it looses something, but it does pull back towards the end.
Profile Image for William.
675 reviews316 followers
June 9, 2019
W O W. This story has real heart and power. Starting about half-way through we see a whole new level of writing from Child. This is by far my favourite Reacher.

As is often the case when the story starts, Reacher is drifting through small-town America, and notices a West Point graduation ring in a pawn shop window. A simple start, but the complexity increases steadily.

Again we have strong female characters, feminine but powerful and smart. There's a villain in mostly a supporting role, an old gumshoe retired from the FBI, a beautiful client, a missing sister, and a cast of well-drawn and interesting supporting characters.

Rose's Bronze Star and Purple Heart

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Reacher kept the guy talking all the way through Minnesota, which he figured was his job, like human amphetamine. Anything to keep the guy awake. Anything to avoid the old joke: I want to die peacefully in my sleep like Grandpa. Not screaming in terror like his passengers.

The story increases in complexity, and the clues are solid along with the plot and great pacing. There’s a few pages of dull blather, Child-glitch around 1/3 the way through, but just skim those pages; no loss.

And as I noted, starting about half-way through, Child climbs to a whole level in writing skill and care. Wow. This is on par with Connelly or Chandler or Knox. We finally see my favourite, the "philosopher-detective", coming alive in Reacher (philosopher-vigilante?), and in Child's descriptions and observations. Wonderful.

There is plenty of calm time in the story, perfect for reflection and deepening of the characters. There is deep pain and injustice and heroism in the face of cruel fate, and real heart here. I really cared about the characters in this story. This is a first for Child. Wow.

Early on we see Reacher pining over Michelle Chang from "Make Me", and starting to realise how his past lifestyle leads to his future. A gentle melancholy for our hero, nicely presented by Child as the story develops.

Chang would be halfway through her first full day back to work. Maybe she had new cases. Maybe she was already back at the airport.

Down at the root of the story, there is Greed.... Corporate Greed. The human illness of greed.

... by the start of World War One, legal heroin was history. But the corporations never forgot. About the easy money. 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. Like an identical twin, Noble said, looking at Mackenzie. Exactly the same, but now it had a long clean name. All bright and shiny. [Fentanyl]
"Fifty thousand people died last year. Regular folk. Four times as many as got killed in gun crimes.”

But for all of that, there are people in horrific pain who do need and deserve powerful painkillers. Serious ones. An example is given in graphic detail about 2/3 through, and I cried.

Warning: You might wish to skim the part about the results of the IED in Afghanistan.

Reacher on the bus in Wyoming, Child allows him to be a philosopher:
The first part of the state was high plains. Fall had already started. He gazed across the immense tawny distances, to the specter of the mountains beyond. The highway was a dark blacktop ribbon, mostly empty. 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.
[Reacher remembers what the old truck driver had said] "My wife would say you feel guilty about something."
He looked the other way, across the aisle, at the other horizon.

Beautiful prose here from Child, again superior to anything he's written before.

Again, a higher calibre of writing from Child:
Her eyes were green, and they were warm and liquid with some kind of deep dreamy satisfaction. There was sparkle, muted, like winking sunlight on a woodland stream. And bitter amusement. She was mocking him, and herself, and the whole wide world.

And again. Wow:
The crunch was coming. The money shot. The rubber was about to meet the road. For the first time in his life he paid close attention to what his body was doing. He felt stress building inside him, and he felt an automatic response, some kind of a primitive biological leftover, that converted it to focus and strength and aggression. He felt his scalp tingle, and an electric flow pass through his hands to his fingers. He felt his eyesight grow vivid. He felt himself get physically larger, and harder, and faster, and stronger.

Love it:
The left-hand guy went down like a slammed door.

Gah! Ugly fishes!
Reacher dialed again and ordered a large pie with extra pepperoni and anchovies. He waited for it in the lobby.

Stackley's old Springfield P9

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Stackley's old Smith & Wesson Model 39

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Stackley's old Colt .45

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Profile Image for Antigone.
494 reviews732 followers
February 2, 2018

Lee Child has written twenty-two stories about Army veteran Jack Reacher and his restless journey across these United States. Twenty-two towns, twenty-two dangers, twenty-two times at literary bat and he's still got me racing from cover to cover. (Which is always a problem, as you well know, because of meals and sleep and outer-worldly duties that force one to come up with politic ways to say to the general public, "Hey, I'm reading here!" without sounding too much like Ratso Rizzo.) You simply have to hand it to Child. He has forged a fictional template golden enough to see him through the long haul.

So, Jack's on the road again. Wanders past a pawn shop. Spots a West Point class ring glittering in the window. Small. Elegant. Something a woman who'd worked, as she'd had to, twice as hard as any man to earn shouldn't, couldn't, wouldn't have let go of - even under the direst of circumstance. And now he's curious. Can't blame him. So am I.

If I have a beef here, it's a small one and entirely particular to me. See, Jack's heading out to Wyoming. I once lived in Wyoming. Lee Child has visited Wyoming. Briefly. It's the only way you can miss the wind. By visiting. Briefly. It's the only way you can write the sentence: The dust plume was a mile long, hanging in the motionless air. Because you've only visited. Briefly. You just weren't there long enough to recognize that the air in Wyoming is never still. I'm not kidding. Never. Motionless. The wind off those Rockies does not stop. Not for five freakin' minutes does it stop. The constancy of this wind is often cited in the same breath as the state's suicide rate. The wind is a thing. Miss it, and those of us who've lived in Wyoming are going to know you've only visited. Briefly.

Apart from that? A book well worth its cover price.
Profile Image for Ken.
2,136 reviews1,316 followers
April 24, 2019
As much as I enjoy the character of Reacher, I’ve found some of the more recent novels to be a bit underwhelming.
Thankfully it seems that the series is back on form!

I much prefer Reacher to be the lone traveller forcing himself into solving mysteries and helping those that are disadvantaged, so I was delighted to see that this entry followed on from the 20th story in the series ‘Make Me’ ( which has been my favourite of the recent novels).

Whilst traveling through Wisconsin, Reacher happens to noice a West Point class ring in a pawnshop window.
Curious to know why such a priceless item would be for sale, determined to find the answer Reacher is about to embark on a quest for justice.

This is by no means the best in the series but has all the hallmarks of what made this series great, the initial mystery is promising and even though the first half of the novel is a little slow going the tension really builds in the second half.

I’m really enjoying this mini-arc through the Midwest, with this being another simple but effective story.
I’ve rekindled my interest for the series again!
Profile Image for Kathi Defranc.
1,183 reviews461 followers
November 14, 2017
Reacher follows his moral code, seeking the owner of West Point ring...

I thoroughly enjoyed another ride with Jack Reacher, as I have since book one! Lee Child swung back to the Big guy we know and love, buying a ticket and getting on a bus to the next town where he notes a class ring from West Point in a pawn shop. The ring is small, probably a woman's, and having gone there himself he knows what she had to go through to finish. Why would someone give up such a sacred keepsake?!
Reacher decides to try to find who the ring belongs to, and is immediately swept into a narcotic operation by some evil people. This is fiction, readers, which I always remember when I go through interesting situations. That is what keeps my attention, the great characters, the intense plots and the amazing scenes we visit!
Jack Reacher is definitely back, and I hope he is going to keep searching for his place to belong for a long time...
Profile Image for Perri.
1,268 reviews47 followers
June 7, 2018
Cue Carly Simon: Nobody does it better. Makes me feel sad for the rest.

I read and enjoy a lot of thriller books and it seems by comparison that some writers are trying way too hard with less result. Child just makes it seems so darn easy. Additional props for unexpected humorous bits. "Cowboys are the worst.. Not much I can do to them that a horse already hasn't"

Nobody does it half as good as you. Reacher, you're the best
Profile Image for Cody.
303 reviews66 followers
April 14, 2018
*This review has drawn ire from a few fellow readers of the series. While I welcome a healthy conversation where I might be right or wrong, it would be appreciative if the conversation stayed productive without being impolite. This review represents my humble opinion among many other good reviews that found this book to be great. I can appreciate a variety of opinions on the book but I would kindly ask again that the conversation stay polite. Thank you.

Ugh. That would be the one word to describe the 22nd instalment of the Jack Reacher series. It's one of the more unimaginative of Lee Child's books, as the plot is lazy, the characters uninspiring, and without much of the great action the series is known for. This is a series I use to throughly enjoy for the most part, but the past few books in the series have dragged on leaving me with an empty feeling whilst reading them.

I would like to take this opportunity to list a few things that would greatly benefit any new entries in the series from hence forth. If you're reading this Mr. Grant, please consider this:

1) Give us a villain that really stacks up to Reacher. I've read most of the books, yet cannot recall a villain I enjoyed or can even really remember. Villains drive the plot, and shouldn't be something for Reacher to simply easily beat up/defeat. The countless street brawls with incompetent and cliche greedy villains who think they are so tough are getting old. The ones in Midnight Line are particularly embarrassing, worst than most in the series. Sherlock Holmes has his Moriarty, let Reacher find a villain of equal footing.

2) Give us different female side character(s) than the typical cardboard cutouts this series and ones like it continue to produce. You know, the stereotypical professional beautiful salt-of-the-earth capable women with a varying degree of vulnerability that time after time helps Reacher. Like the villain gripe, there have been a lot of well-written female characters in other stories lately. Try something different.

3) Better dialogue. I swear I've read the same bland conversations over and over again. Also, can there be better dialogue with regards to observations Reacher and other characters make? It was quite dull here.

4) Better action set-pieces. The series use to have pretty good action. Lately the action has been unimaginative, particularly in Midnight Line. In fact, there is barely any in this book. Reacher has engaged in a lot of high risk situations before, but there are still plenty of opportunities for new action sequences.

5) Reacher literally hasn't changed one bit since he popped up in 1997. Give us some new aspects and have him expand as a character.

Maybe the series will get better, but if it continues with this route it shouldn't be bothered with. Rather disappointing and stale.
Profile Image for Bill.
893 reviews160 followers
November 13, 2017
After more than 20 books Jack Reacher still drifts into a new town where he is caught up in a world of intrigue, villains & fist fights.
Yes, it's the formula as before.....but I still love it! However, there are times when the novel moves away from the expected & Lee Child creates some genuine moments of sadness and humanity.
The tagline on the cover of the book says "A righteous avenger for our troubled times-we all need Jack Reacher." I, for one, cannot argue with that.
Profile Image for RG.
3,092 reviews
January 18, 2018
After my last Jack Reacher experience I said that was it. I however received this as a gift over the holiday season and gave it a shot. Its definitely an improvement from his last few attempts however I still feel as if Jack Reacher suffers from the same issues. A drifter who wants to be left alone would just be that, he wouldnt be curious about a ring in a pawn shop. I also love character development but I feel like his character has stalled and really cant do much more with him. Alot better than the previous releases but I'm definitely done with him, hopefully Mr Childs starts a new character in the years to come. Big followers/fans will live this as its an old school Reacher type tale.
Profile Image for Terence M - [back to abnormal].
491 reviews170 followers
November 16, 2017
Audiobook - 11:17 Hours - 3.5 out of 5.0 stars
(I am not a particularly high marker, so 3.0 is a good mark for me.)
Narrator: Jeff Harding - the perfect replacement for Dick Hill.
I am pleased to say that in "The Midnight Line", Reacher #22, Lee Child appears to have returned to the mode of writing (I refuse to use 'formula') that made the character of Jack Reacher such a success. I've read/listened to them all, many of them more than once, some more than twice and this book is as good as any of the previous 21 and much better than a lot of them. Books #19, #20 and #21 were all DNF's for me and I was hopeful, but not confident, that #22 "The Midnight Line" would pull Reacher out of the ruck and it certainly did.

Why didn't I round the 3.5 to 4.0 you ask? Well, for a couple of reasons: I thought the first few chapters wandered here and there before a potential story started to emerge; there seemed to be an over-use of clichés, some of them quite trite, like 'many hands make light work' and others similar to that; I think there was a need for tighter editing, particularly in regard to the repetitious nature of some of Reacher's dialogue such as 'one yard, three feet, thirty-six inches'. This an illustrative example that did not appear in the book, but there was a lot of this type of repetition. A disadvantage of audiobooks is that, during listening, you can't put a marker on a 'page' where this sort of annoyance can be used in a review. Also, unless I fell asleep while reading (something I do all the time ;) and missed the particular moment, the fate of a character who appears at odd times throughout seems to remain unresolved at the end of the book.

An enjoyable, quick read recommended to thriller readers in general and jaded Jack Reacher readers in particular.
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