No Middle Name is a collection of all the Jack Reacher short stories written up to 2017. Reacher, author Lee Child’s iconic anti-hero of more than twenty novels, is at both his best and worst in these 12 short stories and novellas. They give readers insight into his life as a teenager, an army investigator, and a homeless wanderer who feels duty-bound to “right the wrongs” he sees in society.
In the first story, “Too Much Time,” Reacher finds himself in a non-descript town in Maine. He witnesses a purse snatching and, in typical Reacher style, feels compelled to help the victim. After he tackles the purse snatcher, the police arrive and start asking Reacher questions about his involvement in the crime. Instead of thanking him, Detective Delaney informs him, “Jack-none-Reacher, you are under arrest for felonious involvement with a racketeer-influenced corrupt organization.” Convinced that corrupt police have set him up us as “the perfect patsy,” Reacher faces either a lengthy prison sentence or a convenient death to keep him quiet. How will he prove his innocence?
Several stories explore Reacher’s past. “Second Son” tells the tale of how 13-year-old Jack saves his father’s reputation in 1974 Guam while standing up to local bullies. In “High Heat,” 16-year-old Jack travels to visit his brother at West Point on July 13th, 1977, when he is caught up in a blackout in New York City. After defending a woman who is being assaulted, he becomes involved in a romantic encounter, uncovering a drug cartel for the FBI, and the Son of Sam murders.
Many of the short stories delve into Reacher’s need to “do the right thing.” In “James Penney’s New Identity,” Reacher provides a desperate unemployed veteran running from the law with a new identity. In “No Room at the Motel,” Reacher trades his motel room for a car when a pregnant woman and her husband can’t find a place to sleep. Reacher may not have a home, but he definitely has a sense of justice.
Lee Child has written more than 20 bestselling Jack Reacher novels. Tom Cruise starred as the intrepid investigator in two movies, Jack Reacher and Never Go Back. After being fired from his job at age 40 as a director in the British television industry because of corporate restructuring, Child wrote his first Jack Reacher novel, Killing Floor. With the overnight success of the Jack Reacher series, Child became a bestselling writer. Many readers read short-story collections in snippets, one at a time. However, readers will definitely read No Middle Name in one or two sittings because the stories are so fascinating!