There comes a moment in every Jack Reacher novel - and sometimes several of them - when the protagonist is surrounded by three, four, five, six or more bad guys. They think they’re going to teach him a lesson, but Reacher surveys the situation and thinks through how he’s going to dispatch them with greatest efficiency and, often, maximum pain and damage. Author Lee Child explains it all in loving detail. right down to cracking bones and riven flesh, and then doubles down by describing how Reacher executes his plan.

The latest Jack Reacher novel, “The Midnight Line,” starts out with the kind of premise that Child loves to spin into narrative gold. Reacher sees a women’s West Point class ring in a pawn shop and wonders how it got there; then he buys it, and being a West Point graduate himself, decides to return it to the owner. Which requires a lot of legwork and research. Which brings him into contact with more than a few bad guys, and embroiled in a situation that requires his particular talents to resolve.

Like all of Child’s Reacher novels, “The Midnight Line” is a page turner, offering plenty of entertainment and even a peek at a sentimental side of Reacher that we’ve not often seen before. Go read it, and enjoy.




The new Denzel Washington movie, Roman J. Israel, Esq., gives its star a character to play that is the polar opposite of the kinds of self-possessed characters he’s played in such recent films as The Equalizer, American Gangster and Inside Man - the title role is a legal genius who also happens to be somewhere on the autism scale, and so in a two-person law form, he’s the research and strategy guy, while his partner handles the courtroom stuff.

The movie starts as Israel’s partner has a heart attack, and the firm is taken over by a much bigger firm. Israel takes a job there, but finds his idealism - his passion is for civil rights law - at odds with the corporate culture.

Washington is very good in the role - it is showy, with lots of verbal and physical tics to play with, but never so broad as to be off-putting. The script, though, is curiously dispassionate; Dan Gilroy, who wrote and directed the film, has just enough twists to keep it interesting without being involving. I liked it, without loving it, though it isn’t based on a comic book and so that’s a point in its favor.




That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.

Slàinte!