Sunday, June 18, 2017

No Middle Name by Lee Child

Jack Reacher is trouble. Wherever he stumbles upon injustice, he's going to take steps to correct it. For those of us who missed some of the stories in which author Lee Child wrote about Reacher's past, those stories are now in an anthology, No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories. And, I find them even more satisfying than the novels.

My favorite stories in the collection feature a young Reacher. In "Second Son", Jack Reacher is only thirteen, the second of two sons of a U.S. Marine. The family has just been sent to Okinawa. But, readers can already see the intelligence, cunning, and willingness to take on all comers in this account. Because I haven't read all the novels, I didn't know Reacher's background story. This story provides answers.

"High Heat" is the other account of a young Reacher. It's set in New York City in 1977, when Reacher has not yet turned seventeen. But, he's already big and attractive to young women. And, he's learning early to use his street smarts and his appearance.  Lee Child puts his character and the events of that fateful summer together in an intriguing story.

There are stories from Reacher's days as an MP, along with accounts from his time roaming the country, from Maine to New York. (He continues to try to reach New York in time for a Yankees game.) And, there are vivid descriptions of New York City for those familiar with its streets.

No Middle Name is perfect for those of us who want glimpses at the quiet, confident man, Reacher. We can see his background, the influence of his travels all over the world with his family. We can see why he became the loner who doesn't seek trouble, but steps in when he sees it. As a fan of the white knight stories as written by everyone from Raymond Chandler to Robert B. Parker and beyond, Jack Reacher is still in a class of his own. And, it's fascinating to see how he arrived there.

Lee Child's website is

No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories by Lee Child. Delacorte Press, 2017. ISBN 9780399593574 (hardcover), 418p.

FTC Full Disclosure - Library book


Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I agree. I really enjoyed this one too. The only one I'd read before was the short one near the Flatiron Building. Some of Reacher's back story - his brother, his mother - did surface in previous books.

Lesa said...

I'd read that story set near the Flatiron Building, too. Really liked the book. Have you read Matchup yet, Jeff?

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

No, it's on my list (which is - surprise! - getting backed up again).

That story was in the Edward Hopper painting collection, I believe - IN SUNLIGHT OR IN SHADOW.

Lesa said...

I think you're going to like Matchup as well.

Gram said...

Maybe reading this book will get the picture of Tom Cruise out of my head. I haven't gone back to reading Reacher since they made Cruise Reacher.

Grace Koshida said...

This collection of short stories is on my TBR pile. I have only read a few individual short stories such as "Second Son". Looking forward to learning more of Reacher's backstory. And I would also like to read MATCHUP since I liked the previous FACEOFF collaborative book.

Choo Say said...

That story set near the Flatiron Building, too.
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