Reading the Jack Reacher novels in order leading up to the 22nd book is a journey worth taking. In every new book, Jack Reacher ends up in another part of America, usually by coincidence, depending on where the last bus stop takes him.
This time around, he is leaving Milwaukee, heading towards the shores of Lake Superior up North. During one of the stops the bus is making along the way, Jack gets off to stretch his legs a bit and passes by the windows of a pawnshop when he stops in his tracks.
There he sees a small ring, which would be nothing strange otherwise except for the fact that the ring is a West Point graduation ring. The very West Point he also graduated so many years back.
Now, such a ring should normally not end up at a pawn shop. The ring owners are usually very proud and protective of their West Point graduation rings. So what led the owner of this specific ring to sell it at a small town’s pawnshop instead?
So Jack doesn’t return to the bus but remains put because his gut feeling tells him he has to investigate the matter. Especially since the ring is quite small, which means it belonged to a woman. If you’ve gone through all the hard training that West Point threw at you – especially if you are a woman, you will not throw such a ring away. Not unless you’re in some serious hardships that force you to sell the rings for some much-needed cash. Or the ring was stolen.
Inside the pawnshop Jack inspect the ring and he not only is now sure that it belonged to a woman who graduated in 2005, but also that the woman’s name has the initials SR.
When he asks the owner about the origins of the ring, the owner tells him he got it from a guy called Jimmy Rat, who can be found around a bar surrounded by several Harley Davidsons. Jack buys the ring and now that he knows that his current destination is the small town he is in, he sets off to find a hotel in the vicinity where he could remain for the night.
Of course, his next steps are to find the so-called Jimmy Rat, whom he finds quite easily. Now, Jimmy claims amnesia, saying he has no idea where he got the ring from. After some arm wrestling (where, as usual, Jack is the winner), Jimmy spews off a name, Arthur Scorpio, to be found in Rapid City as the owner of a laundromat.
And so begins Jack’s personal investigation into the origins of the ring. All he really wants is to give back the ring to the rightful owner without any strings attached. He also feels that the story will lead him to some interesting places and characters, but Jack is not afraid.
He is a mountain of a man (unlike Tom Cruise, but that’s another story), and he has the training and knowledge to deal with any hardship or any hardheaded person who tries to get in his way. Jack is stubborn to a fault and once he gets the scent of a case, he won’t let go until he sees it completely through.
During his search for the ring owner, he encounters lots of bad guys, whom he takes out one way or another, and makes the acquaintance of several people who can help him in this quest. For example, he meets the ring owner’s sister, a gorgeous woman who hasn’t heard from her sister in quite a while.
I loved the way Lee Child gave us and Jack breadcrumbs to follow along the way. Every place he got to he learned of yet another place he had to go to – usually by bus. But Jack is relentless and he follows diligently every thread until its very surprising end.
The book is quite suspenseful, and Jack is the guy we loved from the very first book in the Jack Reacher series. There were a few downtime moments and a few places where several investigations intersected, but overall, Jack took center stage for most of the time.
Lee Child, once again, didn’t disappoint with his latest Jack Reacher novel, and the die-hard fans of the series will have a blast reading it.
However, if you do pick up the book without having read the previous novels, it would be a pity to not go back to the beginning (yes, I know there are 21 books before The Midnight Line). Jack is a very interesting character and you’ll learn bits and pieces about him in every book. However, just for the sake of the story, without delving deep into the main character’s traits and background, I guess you can read The Midnight Line on its own as well.
The Midnight Line by Lee Child
Series: Jack Reacher #22
Published by Bantam