Child excels at taking a seemingly small matter and going from zero to 60 with it. But this time the acceleration happens credibly, and doesn’t head toward an impossibly outsize denouement, which has happened in too many Reacher books to mention ... The pieces of the plot come together as Reacher’s military pride and the community’s illicit opioid use intersect. The bad actors are nominally the dealers, but The Midnight Line doesn’t demonize its villains the way Child’s books usually do. And the addicts aren’t dismissed or treated as stereotypes. The book voices strong convictions about the issues that are raised here, and it’s no stretch given Reacher’s principled military background. The last chapters have more emotional heft than anything Child has written before ... This book adds its share of classic moments to the Reacher canon...the kind of swagger that has kept this franchise so satisfying. But The Midnight Line is the rare book in which Reacher mostly doesn’t have to act that way. And shouldn’t. And becomes too moved even to try.
...a timely, affecting, suspenseful and morally complex thriller. In fact, it’s one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year ... This time Child confronts the opioid epidemic, and he does so with keenness, understanding and a burning anger over the scourge’s causes — poverty, hopelessness, war — and the haplessness of the U.S. criminal justice system’s response, or lack thereof. Given the subject, Reacher is more thoughtful and measured than usual, relying more on his wits ... Readers will practically need a GPS to follow Reacher and his posse around the Western plains through parts of South Dakota and Wyoming, and it’s a pleasure to ride along. Child writes beautifully about the vast open spaces of the West, with its physical landscape that’s magnificent but a human landscape that’s often not pretty at all.
Showing his sensitive side and his usual shrewd ability to figure stuff out, Reacher proves the man for the job. Not your usual Reacher fare—God help us, we crave more head-banging—but a very good, multifaceted novel about dealing with the unthinkable.
...a deeply satisfying page-turner of the highest degree. From a lowlife bar to the wilds of Wyoming, Reacher tracks the clues, only to discover the ring is just one facet of a large, lucrative and dangerous criminal conspiracy. This, Child’s 22nd book in the series, has heart to spare, and it proves the franchise has plenty of gas left in its tank.
...this Reacher novel has a lot of flow like early Robert B. Parker (Mortal Stakes, Early Autumn) and Elmore Leonard (at any stage). Lee Child seems to be cast on the same ocean of bountiful returns, moving each chapter along with fluid, suspense-filled hooks. But one aspect that drives me bonkers is an overwhelming tendency to want to edit The Midnight Line for unnecessary prattle ... Poor bastard never had a chance. And neither do you if you are expecting anything more beyond risible battles and padded, straightforward storytelling. But, dammit, it does have that abovementioned flow, and I had to venture on to find out where the trail of the ring was going to lead our hero. Recommended, with some slight reservation, for die-hard fans.
Child delivers another classic Jack Reacher tale with The Midnight Line ... Child has written another compelling and moving novel featuring the iconic American hero who never stops until he’s satisfied with the results. While the story is bold and mysterious, the empty landscape with few individuals living in the area spotlights Reacher’s loneliness.
While readers are used to seeing Reacher beat up bullies and thump thugs back into their dingy holes, Reacher Creatures are in for a surprise or two with Child’s latest work ... At the same time, Lee Child doesn’t stray too far from his well-working formula, which has made him an annual staple on the New York Times best-sellers list. Now twenty-two books in, though, it’s fair to wonder what the future holds for one of the genre’s most well-known protagonists. While Night School received mixed reviews from fans, The Midnight Line is more of a classic Child thriller. The large-scope plot that moves from the shadows to the forefront is well-written and engaging, but at the end of the day, Reacher kicking bad guys’ butts all over the country is still the most entertaining part of Lee Child’s book.
The identity of the ring’s owner is established reasonably quickly, and her backstory (and what Reacher does about it) takes the reader from the wars in Afghanistan to the opioid crisis in America (including a damning thumbnail history of how corporate America has profited from selling heroin in one form or another and a devastating portrait of opioid addiction). As usual, Child makes his narrative entirely credible—and compulsively readable.
Blessedly, there are none of the grisly moments that broke faith with readers in the series' last installment (Night School, 2016). And the book is very smart about illegal drugs, understanding that the face of the present crisis is largely white and rural and that the government's attempt to crack down on drugs ignores both the very real pleasure and the often necessary pain relief they bring to users, especially vets. The book makes a rather icky sentimental misstep toward the end. It does, however, suggest something that has not been visible in the series' previous entries: a creeping sadness in Reacher's wanderings that, set here among the vast and empty landscapes of Wyoming, resembles the peculiarly solitary loneliness of the classic American hero.
For much of the book, Lee Child does what he does best. He has Reacher stubbornly working at a problem of someone else’s making that most people wouldn’t even notice much less bother with, taking out a string of bad guys along the way through a combination of brute force and willpower ... Once Reacher gets to his Mule Crossing, The Midnight Line becomes a more pedestrian affair. It feels as if Reacher gets steadily more lost in the events taking place, particularly once he achieves the original objective. Plenty more happens towards the end, but the narrative just isn’t quite as compelling ... For diehard fans it’s likely The Midnight Line will prove a big hit. Reacher novels are sure fire bestsellers, every time. For those of us who were hoping for a return to past form, we’ll have to keep waiting. It’s good, but no cigar…