Saturday, 2 December 2017

THE MIDNIGHT LINE - by Lee Child

THE MIDNIGHT LINE - Lee Child
Published: November 2017 - Bantam Press
Genres: Adult / thriller / mystery / contemporary fiction
Pages: 400.
Format: Paperback.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Violence and mild sexual innuendo.
Source: Thank you so much to Penguin Random House SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
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.


I had never read a Lee Child novel before now. Considering that this is the 22d book in the Jack Reacher series, that might be the reason for some of my mixed feelings about this book.
Still, I did enjoy it.


Child's writing style is incredibly distinctive. There's no real beauty, or vivid prose, or stunning metaphors - it's crisp, clean, and the sentences are short and punchy. But it works. It's an American action thriller with a good story, and Child tells a good story. His writing fits the genre.
The dialogue is appropriate for the genre, too. It's snappy, to the point, and in any other story it probably wouldn't work because then it would be too sharp, too witty, too quick. But in this book it's like Reacher: larger than life. And you appreciate it for what it does for the story.

The plot flows brilliant. Effortless, smooth, and very fast-paced, it flashes through quick fire action sequences and quieter moments at just the right pace. It's also clever, and the intelligence and skill behind all the finer details and logistics of the story itself are superbly on point.
It's exciting and addictive. I raced through the book in about a day, propelled by the need for answers, and I got them - in a slightly untidy climax, but satisfying all the same. It's a fast book, and it's solidly entertaining.


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.


The characters aren't amazing. There are thrillers that manage to have it all - three dimensional characters, great action, brilliant writing, exciting, clever plot - and then there are ones who excel at one aspect but not at the others. And I don't think this book delivers on all fronts. 
The characters are present, but never fully realised. I think I would've gotten more out of Reacher's character if I'd read some of the previous books in the series first, but the secondary characters aren't great either. They have vague personalities that give you a glimpse of who they might be, but never who they really are. 
However, I love the sisters. I think Mackenzie and Rose's relationship is one of the best parts of the book because it has a very human depth and realistic vulnerability. I love that a lot. 




The Midnight Line is a skillfully written, propulsive thriller with an intelligent plot that never stops driving for answers. I found the characters lacking, but that doesn't take away from the fact that this is a solid, fast-paced, lose-yourself-for-a-day action thriller


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