Mystery, Thriller

The Midnight Line by Child

lineReviewed by Henry Morrison

Lee Child’s twenty-second installment in his Jack Reacher series, The Midnight Line, is an elegant, vividly written tale. Reacher is, as always, a standout character, driven by his own code, principled, brutal, and pragmatic. I find him to be one of the best characters in the genre, but this more cerebral Reacher translated into a read that bordered on boring.

No one writes riveting dialogue and sly humor like Mr. Child. The exchanges between his characters are pithy, succinct, and driving with a rapid-fire delivery that is stellar. The author is also an expert in capturing the nuances of human behavior and movement on the page. He gives me just enough information about characters to create a colorful cast, and he keeps a perfect balance between action and exposition. 

The plot for this thriller was poignant and moving, but it was severely lacking in intrigue and grip. And this is where my issue lies. If this were marketed as a character drama with a different main character, it would have been a great read. As it was, it was a solid read that delivered none of the fast-paced, riveting action that is expected with a story centered around Jack Reacher. The story was sorely lacking the taut pace, rousing fight scenes, and engaging mystery that is expected with a Jack Reacher thriller. The main character was there in fine—if tame and mulling—form, the requisite female character was present, but the rest of the story did not live up to expectation.

The Midnight Line does a superb job with portraying the abandonment veterans face upon returning home, the wars they fight even after leaving the battlefields. Lee Child’s writing is superb. But this thriller was less than thrilling with a long, slow, unsurprising plod back and forth across the wilderness of Wyoming.

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3 thoughts on “The Midnight Line by Child”

  1. I feel a bit guilty being a fan of the genre and having read none of the Jack Reacher books. I’ve been tempted but was afraid that the Reacher character was a bit too Rambo for me. Since you’ve revealed superior dialogue is a characteristic of the series, I might bite the bullet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Long book series do not hold my interest, so I have only read a few. I enjoyed both Gone Tomorrow and Make Me and thought they were gripping reads. There is a lot of action and violence, and the subject matter is dark, but Reacher is a thinker and there is a lot of sly humor in the dialogue.

      I have two reviews of the other Reacher books I’ve read which might provide some insight into the stories and the character. I’ll get them posted.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my reviews.

      Liked by 1 person

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