Tuesday, January 30, 2018

"No Middle Name" by Lee Child

It's official:  I want to be Jack Reacher.

That basically never happens to me.  Only once in the bluest of blue moons do I encounter a fictional character I want to be, but Jack Reacher is one of those.  I've read two novels about him, The Enemy and The Affair.  And now I've read this collection of short stories, which span his life from his teen years to present, and zowie!  I loved this book.  And this character.

Rather than try to review each story, I'll just tell you my five favorites, and a little about each of those.  They are:

+ "Second Son" -- Thirteen-year-old Reacher solves big problems for his dad and his older brother.  I loved how fiercely intelligent he is, and yet still believable as a teen guy.

+ "High Heat" -- Sixteen-year-old Reacher takes on a New York City mafia boss.  He's so confident, and yet not entirely sure of himself, still growing into himself.

+ James Penney's New Identity" -- Reacher changes a man's life.  Most of this one focuses on a new character, and Reacher only comes into the story at the end, but in an awesome way.

+ "Everyone Talks" -- Reacher takes on a small-town mafia.  I loved the twists to this story.

+ "No Room at the Motel" -- Reacher gives strangers a merry Christmas.  Just sweet and adorable.  He deserves a hug.

Why do I want to be Jack Reacher? I suppose because he possesses a very specific skill set that I don't, he's honorable and kind, and he champions those who need a champion.  But mostly that first bit.

Particularly Good Bits:

At nearly seventeen Reacher was like a brand-new machine, still gleaming and dewy with oil, flexible, supple, perfectly coordinated, like something developed by NASA and IBM on behalf of the Pentagon ("High Heat," p. 115).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG-13 for most stories due to violence and a few bad words, but R for "High Heat" due to sexual content.  "No Room at the Motel" would be a G.


  1. Mr Books is a huge Reacher fan too and loved this book of short stories a lot. Some of the more recent books have been a bit same old/same old (according to Mr Books) but the shorts were a real treat.

    Every time I read Little Women, I want to be Jo & Meg at the same time, but I'm not sure there's one book character that I want to be....I'll just have to keep on reading I guess :-)

    1. Brona Joy, I know a lot of thriller series like this can get repetitive, so I'm not surprised.

      Jo and Meg, huh? I identify a lot with Jo, but that's not the same as wanting to be her.

    2. I was painfully shy as a child, I wanted to have Jo’s spunk & energy & passion but I identified far more with Meg’s quieter ways.

    3. Brona Joy, I've always been shy too, but also forthright, so I guess I identified a lot with Jo even though she's more outgoing than I am. Like she's what I'm like inside even though I don't show my determined side to the world all the time.


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