“The Midnight Line” is pretty recent novel by Lee Child and features the perpetually wandering Jack Reacher, former US Army major.
In this particular entry into the still growing series, Reacher wanders into a pawn shop where he notices a West Point graduation ring. Since Reacher has no real obligations and an insatiable curiosity, he figures he has time to find out why a fellow military colleague would pawn such a well-earned memento. His curiosity leads him to a crime lord and a private investigator looking for the same woman. Yes, Reacher deduces he is looking for a woman.
Reacher is a modern day knight-errant who enjoys the freedom of wandering the highways with the aid of his thumb and occasional bus. He has a wonderfully stoic and intensely practical demeanor when he is on these little flights of fancy. Of course, matters take a much more dangerous turn than even Reacher predicts when he gets wind of his questions prompting a hit to be placed on his head.
As usual, he picks up a couple of allies along the way. The private eye turns out to be a former FBI agent working for the sister of the wayward soldier whose military career ended tragically.
The story falls on the absurd side, but Child has created an interesting protagonist who can turn up in any part of the country and sometimes beyond. The fate of the soldier who pawned the ring is actually pretty interesting. It’s somewhat gruesome but interesting. Reacher, of course, is undeterred in his goal of satisfying his curiosity and maybe lending a hand to someone who got more than their fair share of misfortune.
This is a pretty good novel even if this feels like more of the same from this series. It is a little slow at times, but not unbearably so.
Next up, a return to the further reaches of space with Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of Starship Enterprise is in order. Dayton Ward’s “Available Light” is the latest in the series of novels based on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.