51) The Midnight Line by Lee Child
It wouldn’t be a year of reading if I didn’t slip in a cheeky Lee Child along the way. This was the latest that I’ve read (I know there are others already released) and I would place it firmly in the upper middle of the Jack Reacher canon – as solid as his barrel chest, and as reliable as his laconic style and thirst for coffee. [incidentally, I listened to an interview with Lee Child recently and he said he drinks 25-30 cups of coffee a day – clearly a route to success!]
I won’t try and summarise the plot but suffice to say that Reacher recognises a ring in a window, and before you can say ‘strong but silent type’, he is knee-deep in a convoluted web of opioids, the military, low-level gangsters and rural America. It is as compelling as most readers have come to expect with the Reacher novels, even if it goes fairly rapidly off into the woods (literally and metaphorically).
There is a minor sideswipe at profit-seeking pharmaceutical companies here, and Child is at least seeking to address the opioid crisis which is plaguing America. Other than that, it’s largely Reacher-by-numbers although Reacher-by-numbers (punching out groups of men single-handed, realising danger in an instant) with arguably a bit more emotional heft and depth than in some of the preceding books. Rose, the veteran who Reacher tracks down, certainly carries and communicates some emotional weight – Child is often underestimated as a writer because of the fisticuff fireworks, but he can write with depth and poignancy too; that’s as true here as in any of his books.
BUY IT NOW: The Midnight Line: (Jack Reacher 22)