SOCIAL SCIENCES

The Midnight Line: A Jack Reacher Novel

Delacorte. Nov. 2017. 384p. ISBN 9780399593482. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780399593499. F
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OrangeReviewStarIn Child's latest Jack Reacher book (after Night School), his protagonist rambles into a Wisconsin pawnshop and notices a woman's 2005 West Point graduation ring. Knowing the effort a female cadet needed to earn the ring, he wonders: What motivated her to sell it? Reacher buys the ring, and after reading the initials inscribed inside, sets out to find his fellow alum. He quickly learns her name, Rose Sanderson; however, understanding her accomplishments requires more time. Along the way to the Wyoming wilderness and with the assistance of a former FBI agent and Rose's sister, he encounters musclemen, swindlers, bikers, and crooked cops who control a vast, illegal drug enterprise protecting opioid dealers and abusers as well as vets. Reacher also learns about the pains, sorrows, and fears Sanderson internalized while on duty in Iran and Afghanistan—and the residual effects she manages back home. Child places the present opioid crisis in context, which may help readers better understand drug use, especially among vets.
VERDICT Child does a stellar job this time by not following his customary formula; his usually stoic hero who rarely displays softness and compassion is hit hard emotionally by this case. [See Prepub Alert, 5/15/17.]

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