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No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories Paperback – Large Print, May 16, 2017
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“Captivating . . . classic [Lee] Child . . . This volume demonstrates what his fans already know: he’s a born storyteller and an astute observer.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Lee Child, like his creation, always knows exactly what he’s doing—and he does it well. Time in his company is never wasted.”—Evening Standard
Praise for Lee Child
“There’s a reason [Lee] Child is considered the best of the best in the thriller genre.”—Associated Press
“This series [is] utterly addictive.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“Jack Reacher is today’s James Bond, a thriller hero we can’t get enough of. I read every one as soon as it appears.”—Ken Follett
“The Reacher novels are easily the best thriller series going.”—NPR
“Reacher’s just one of fiction’s great mysterious strangers.”—Maxim
“Irresistible Reacher remains just about the best butt-kicker in thriller-lit.”—Kirkus Reviews
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I found this a fun read that added to my collection of Reacher facts.
When it was announced, this year, that Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher novel “No Middle Name” were going to be a collection of short stories, this reader had concerns that a series of stories would not have the same impact of a complete novel. I was wrong. This was pure reading enjoyment and I am hopeful that author Child will again offer a collection of short stories.
The stories are exciting and from different year’s in Jack Reacher’s life. There were two stories, one that included his brother Joe, in which this reader had to take pause and think about the deeds Joe did and also what Jack did. This was simply a fun read!
The book contains one new story, "Too Much Time," and eleven previously published stories, the oldest, "James Penney's New Identity," having been written in 1999. With the exception of "Too Much Time," the stories start with Reacher as a youth and end in the present day. They are of uneven quality, in my opinion. "Too Much Time" is Lee Child at his best, as Reacher is arrested for a crime we all know he didn't commit. "Maybe They Have a Tradition" and "No Room at the Motel," both Christmas-time stories involving pregnancies, are, well, just okay.
The number one rule of fiction is the willing suspension of disbelief, which is especially important when reading Reacher stories of any kind. Reacher is a decorated, West Point educated, ex-military police officer who now travels the United States (and world) with little more than some cash, his passport, and a foldable toothbrush in his pocket. Along the way, he gets himself into scrapes with miscreants, whose crimes he detects and whose just sentence he metes out, often violently, even lethally. In other words, he's a homeless sociopath whose rough justice happens to be directed at targets who had it coming.
What keeps you from thinking about Reacher's shortcomings too long, in addition to the fact that the targets of his beatdowns are deplorable, is Lee Child's prose, which I can only describe as kinetic. Child has a way of pulling you along word after word, sentence after sentence, page after page. He makes you want to know what will happen next because you're right there with Reacher, who's wondering that too.
If you haven't read any Jack Reacher stories, I wouldn't start with No Middle Name, which I generally liked. Start at the beginning with The Killing Floor. The novels will make you a fan. No Middle Name is for the already convinced.
Top international reviews
In fact, there were a few which left you "wanting more" but alas....you can't have it.
To be honest, I would probably be more inclined to re-read this than some of the other books as they were so easy and quick to read.
Apart from 61 Hours - I loved 61 Hours - now there's a film to be made!
The stories themselves are typical JR yarns, but the last few in the book are a bit weak.
But if you need a book to take on the beach, or laze by the pool with... this is worth packing.
If you read for fun (rather than for work) I would suggest that you try at least one Lee Child book. Obviously, you won't impress anyone, but you'll be left with a feeling that the good generally conquer the bad.
A bit like The Lone Ranger or Bonanza one hundred years ago ... but definitely worth a read.