The Midnight Line: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Midnight LineJack Reacher, the former West Pointer and retired MP Major, Is off on another of his journeys. Since retiring from the service Reacher and his toothbrush have traveled all over the United States and he isn’t done yet. Yes that is right about his toothbrush. That is all he carries with him. He has no mechanical means of transportation like an automobile, no suitcase because he carries no clothes, and no, not even a telephone. It is just him and his toothbrush. Oh I almost forgot. He does carry a wallet so he can go to a bank on occasion and get a few dollars to spend. But other than that nothing!

He basically travels by use of his feet or a bus or his thumb. He normally walks or hitchhikes wherever he goes. And he does travel both north and south across the United States. This time after he left Milwaukee by bus he had gotten off at a rest stop and was just walking around when he passed a pawn shop. In the window was a class ring from West Point Class 2005. He was especially caught by the size because it was very small. When the proprietor at first declines to give him immediate information as to who left the ring, Reacher abruptly tells the bus driver to go on as he is going to dig deeper into this anomaly.

After telling the proprietor his own story of West Point and military service he does get the man to give him the name of the person who left the ring. Reacher locates the man, Jimmy Rat, in a bar and after a bar fight with several of Rat’s friends, Reacher is involved with a local policeman who tells him that Rat and some of his friends bring items in from out of state.

After the cop leaves, further discussions with Rat (after a bar clearing brawl that Reacher won as usual), he finds that Rat deals with a man named Arthur Scorpio who works out of a laundromat in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Needless to say Reacher and his ever inquiring mind begin the trek to Rapid City. He is unaware that at the same time a police detective named Gloria Nakamura has Scorpio and his laundromat under surveillance. The reason being that they have felt for some time he has been involved in some sort of a supply chain for drugs throughout the Dakotas and adjoining states.

Child then builds his story as he gets Reacher headed into the area with only the idea of finding the owner of the ring and why she no longer has it. And all the while Nakamura and her boss work at getting Scorpio’s phone lines tapped so they can get either his sources or his carriers of drugs.

In so doing Nakamura finds out that Jimmy Rat has called Scorpio and told him to beware of “Bigfoot” and he calls Reacher who is on his way and interested in finding Scorpio. Nakamura finds Reacher and gives him this news.

The story becomes even more involved when Reacher runs into a private detective who happens to be in the area also looking for a missing woman whose sister suspects something has happened to her. She happens to be a West Point graduate and military veteran who has disappeared.

The detective, the sister who is looking, and Reacher all get tied up and begin their search. And once that all comes about they discover why the ring ended up where it did and with a lot of Reacher pushing they discover who is behind it all and where the missing sister is now.

Really quite a story with much action and lots of threats, fights, and people getting involved deeply with each other. There is also a good sideline view of the use of drugs among wounded veterans and the problems they have. Again Lee Child has used Jack Reacher to carry a lot of weight and make his writing very interesting!

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