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No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories by Lee Child

Reviewed by Allen Hott

No Middle NameThis one is not a normal book but is a collection of several novellas and then even more short stories. All of the tales do feature Jack Reacher, who has been the main character in many of Child’s works. No doubt that the title No Middle Name pertains to Jack Reacher. That always comes up in all of the stories that Child writes. Someone invariably asks his name and they cannot get over the fact that he doesn’t have a middle name. Even without a middle name Jack Reacher is a very interesting character. These stories carry that character forward as he makes his trek not only across the United States but even on occasion into Europe.

Reacher is a retired Military Police officer who has a very astute mind when it comes to looking into situations that would probably stymie the minds of most people. Wherever he goes he seems to not only run into things that happen to be at least a bit illegal or scary but then he always seems to also solve the problems or assist in solving them.

In the first novella, Too Much Time, Reacher happens to get involved in what appears to be snatch and grab wherein the assailant takes off running with a bag that he pulled from a woman’s shoulder. Reacher gets in the path of the running robber and knocks the bag loose. As the story continues it gets somewhat involved as Reacher is taken into custody because it is unclear what he was actually doing. But as is the case with Reacher he works in his stoical manner and gives assistance to the police until he feels something is amiss and then he really goes into his detective mode. Interesting turn of events in this one! The next novella, Second Son, tells about Reacher as he is growing up as the son of a Marine who has just been reassigned to a different duty station. As is not too unusual when new folks move into an established community, Reacher finds the typical bully who intends to show those around him that he can easily take care of Reacher. The battle between the two then somehow evolves into solving a situation where a code book has come up missing and Reacher’s dad is looked upon as a suspect. Another good read but in an abbreviated form.

There are several more novellas before Child displays a group of very short stories that are pretty typical Reacher stories. He is always pictured as “Dudley-do-Right” character who gets involved in many different situations as he travels along. He never has luggage or a mode of transportation. Instead he carries his passport for identification, a credit card, and some cash in his pocket. Every few days he buys new clothes and throws away the dirty ones. He hitches rides in cars, trucks, or whatever as he moves along meeting new people, new events, and constant intrigue.

This is a different approach by Child perhaps but he keeps it very interesting for the reader as Reacher just continues to do his thing in his own way which is surely unique but also in almost all instances very plausible. If you enjoy Child and Reacher this group of stories will be right up your alley! Enjoy!

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