The Midnight Line

The Midnight Line

A Jack Reacher Novel

Book - 2017
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Quotes (14)


j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

She had written, “You’re like New York City. I love to visit, but I could never live there.”
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There had been Iraq, and there had been Afghanistan:2005 had been a tough year to graduate.
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People donate things and take the deduction. Mostly old cars and boats. But other things too. The guy gives them an inflated receipt for their tax returns, and then he sells the things he gets wherever he can, for whatever he can, and then he cuts a check to the charity.
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Reacher put his left fist on the table. The size of a supermarket chicken. Long thick fingers with knuckles like walnuts.
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He had seen elbows and feet, and he improvised a kind of all-purpose defensive posture against either, but Reacher ignored both and took the last unexpected stride at full speed, and seamlessly head-butted the guy full on the bridge of the nose. Moving mass and momentum. You bet your ass. Game over, right there. A second and a half.

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

Being dumb wasn’t a capital crime. Wasn’t a crime at all, in fact. Merely a handicap.
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Bigfoot. She got the gist. A mythic ape-man, hairy, seven feet tall, from the Northwest woods.
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There was a dog on the back seat. Like a German Shepherd, but bigger. About the size of a pony. Maybe a freak mutation. It had teeth the size of rifle ammunition.
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“Who or what is Bigfoot?” She said, “He’s a giant ape-man who lives in the woods. On the slopes in the Northwest. About seven feet tall and covered in hair. Eats bears and cattle. One rancher lost a thousand head, over the years.” “Where was this?” “Nowhere,” the secretary said. “It’s imaginary. Like a fairytale.”

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

There’s something out there. The oldest fear in human history.
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Reacher walked the length of the motel to an area near the fuel pumps, where a kind of unofficial hitchhiking market was being run, by a homeless-looking guy wearing a coat tied up with rope. He would collect the desired destination from each new arriving hitchhiker, and then he would walk around shouting it out to the drivers in line for the pumps, and sooner or later one or another would wave and agree to some particular destination, and the lucky hitchhiker would tip the shouting guy a dollar and climb up in the cab.
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This door must remain unlocked during business hours. To act as a fire escape for the cook. Another necessary amenity. Greasy spoon kitchens burned like napalm.

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

Reacher saw a petite Asian woman, wearing a black skirt suit like a uniform. Five feet nothing, maybe ninety-five pounds soaking wet.
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… reckless. There’s a clue in the word. Reck comes from reckon, and I felt I did more reckoning than most folks. Not less.
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Privately Nakamura felt his brush with death had produced an epiphany. He was afraid of being forgotten.
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Reacher. He found a West Point class ring in a pawn shop and he’s tracing its provenance.” “Like a hobby?” “No, like a matter of military honor. Like a moral obligation. Verging on the sentimental, in my opinion.
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“I saw him, boss. You could put him in a zoo.”
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Reacher stood still. He had choices. Life was full of them.

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

He was tall and thin. Maybe six feet two. Maybe a hundred sixty pounds. But only if he had a dollar’s worth of pennies in his pocket. All skin and bone, and awkward as a stepladder.
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I could rip your arm off and beat you to death with it, and they wouldn’t stop me. They’d sell tickets instead.
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From time to time trucks would pass the bus, slowly, sometimes spending a whole minute alongside, edging ahead imperceptibly. Reacher was eye to eye with their drivers, across their empty cabs. Old men, all of them.
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“The Incredible Hulk? I thought I was Bigfoot. These guys need to make up their minds.”
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About sixty miles from here. Maybe seventy. That’s about two blocks away, by Wyoming standards.

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

“You took a risk coming here.” “Getting up in the morning is a risk. Anything could happen.”
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Aspen groves blazed like flares on the slopes. Whole copses of hundreds of separate trees, but all joined together underground by a single root. An aspen wood was all one organism. The largest living thing on earth.
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“What would be the army approach? Set the place on fire?” “No, that would be the Marine Corps approach. The army would conduct a careful survey of the exterior, and by great good fortune would discover a pane of glass previously broken by persons unknown, at a previous time, maybe long ago, or even just recently, which if true would reasonably suggest an ongoing emergency inside, which in turn would justify a good look around. I don’t think the Supreme Court could argue with that.”

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

“This is Wyoming. They drive epic distances for a loaf of bread. For a girlfriend, two hours, maybe. A hundred miles.”
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Everyone lives twenty miles from everyone else.
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Bramall told a joke about about a lawyer who died and got to the pearly gates. Not fair, he said. I’m only forty-five. Saint Pete said no, we got a new system. Now we do it by billable hours. According to our records you’re 153.
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The corporations took eighty years to get back in the heroin business. They came in the side door. By that time in history heroin itself had negative PR. Nothing more than underworld squalor and a bunch of dead rock singers. Kind of sordid. So they made a synthetic version. A chemical copy.

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

Addicts are other people, with a dirty needle in a toilet stall. What they have is a pharmaceutical product, made in a lab, by pretty girls in masks who hold test tubes up to the light, with wondrous concern radiating from their clear blue eyes. They’ve seen it on the television, in the breaks between innings. But in fact they’re running worse risks. Those patches ain’t made for licking. Fifty thousand people died last year. Regular folk. Four times as many as got killed in gun crimes.
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“Do you know what an accessory is?” “Something you put on your truck.” “Also a legal word,” Reacher said. “It means if you know a secret, and you don’t tell, then you go to jail too. …”
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I couldn’t get in. They’re sealed tighter than a duck’s butt on a choppy day. I
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“Sometimes,” Reacher said. “How often?” “More than never. Less than always.”

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

The café was a new-age place, with all kinds of healing juices, and sandwiches Reacher figured had been put together by a blind man. All kinds of random ingredients. Huge seeds in the bread. Like sawdust mixed with ball bearings.
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“You think virtue is its own reward?” “I don’t know much about virtue. I just want to find out what happened. I can’t charge money for a private satisfaction.”
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“Who are they?” “Cowboys,” Reacher said. “Weaned on beef jerky and fried rattlesnake.”
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“Cowboys are the worst,” Reacher said. “Not much I can do to them, that a horse already hasn’t.”
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Sometimes you woke up, and you knew for sure, from history and experience and weary intuition, that the brand new day would bring nothing good at all.

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

High overhead ravens circled, and looked, and thought not yet, and soared away.
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“You wanted to know the story.” “I got most of it,” Reacher said. “I got to the part where it ends about twenty miles before the road runs out.”
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That’s the hall of fame right there. You could put that on your tombstone. She led her soldiers well. An infantry officer couldn’t hear finer words than those.
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They’re shrinks. You said so yourself. They overcomplicate things. If you hear hoof beats, you look for horses, not zebras.
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He took scissors from his glove box, and he cut a quarter-inch strip off the patch, and he slipped it under his tongue. Sublingual, it was called. Another magazine in the same salon said it was the best method of all.

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

He had nothing to hide. The buzz, maybe, but hey, this was the panhandle. A couple of beers was probably a minimum requirement to get behind the wheel.
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Stackley enjoyed dealing dope. Customers were so grateful and enthusiastic. Not like some jobs he had worked.
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“Looked like an old-fashioned black-bag job to me.” “I agree it was neat.”
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Deep down pretty people know other people feel they’re getting something for nothing. They have to be aw-shucks about it. They have to say it makes them feel shallow. But now I can tell you. It makes them feel great. It’s like bringing a gun to a knife fight. Sometimes I would dial it up and just mow them down, one by one, bam, bam, bam. It’s a superpower. Like clicking the phasers from stun to kill. There’s no point denying it. It’s a significant evolutionary advantage. Like being as big as you are

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

Some things were more important to a person. More important than family and friends and any kind of a regular trustworthy life. No one should ever underestimate the appeal of an opiate high.
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We need to make fast decisions here. We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
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“Morphine dates from 1805. The hypodermic syringe dates from 1851. A great combination, just in time for the Civil War, which left hundreds of thousands of addicts. Then World War One, same thing. Literally millions of addicts in the 1920s.”
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City parks had benches painted blue, where the public was trained to look away. That’s where they sat.
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Employees with facial disfigurements upset customers and co-workers so badly that virtually a hundred percent of them end up working alone in a back office.

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

Some kind of an atavistic feeling, deep in the back of your brain, about your place on the ladder, from back when the only ladders were trees.
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Their heads came up an inch, with new resolve in their eyes, as if they were subject to an older legal system, where through labor or forfeit they could buy back their freedom.
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All kinds of people, going to bed. All kinds of preparations and rituals. Maybe lengthy. Maybe Bramall brushed his suit, like a valet. No doubt Mackenzie had a complicated routine, involving potions and unguents.
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“You build up a tolerance. You need to use more and more, just to get to the same place. Pretty soon you’re taking what is technically a fatal dose. One sniff would kill a straight person stone dead. And then you want more. Now you’re taking literally higher than a fatal dose. Are you brave enough for the next step?”

j
jimg2000
Nov 21, 2017

Once again we underestimated them. These unshaven guys wearing dresses had predicted exactly how we were going to attack, and even exactly where we would stand to plan it out, and exactly when we would show up to do it.
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These are promises as solemn as government debt.
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The richest woman in the world. The new gold standard for affluence. An addict with more than one hit.
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It was like getting a lifetime of bad luck all in one day. Every rotten thing.
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Turned out it wasn’t caution about prescribing. Their inventory was all screwed up. They were running out.
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“Deal with it,” Reacher said. “It happened. It can’t un-happen. Most folks aren’t going to like it. Deep down humans haven’t been modern very long.


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